Nov 282004
 
Authors: Preston Cagle

As the autumn leaves give way to the winter snows, the college football season draws to a close. Many conferences have already finished off their regular season, including the Mountain West Conference.

In a season filled with highs and lows, CSU finished sixth in the MWC with a 3-4 conference record and a 4-7 overall record and will miss the postseason.

Things could have been better, but they could also have been worse for the Rams. Not only did CSU field a young team but injuries also took their toll – none bigger than junior quarterback Justin Holland's broken leg. Holland had thrown for 230 yards or more in each of the first five games and had 1,622 yards and six touchdowns on 121 completions before going down in San Diego. His best effort came in the first game, when he went 29-of-41 for 403 yards and two touchdowns in a losing effort against Colorado.

Poor clock management and untimely mistakes helped the Rams lose the first game, and they had a hard time recovering as their non-conference schedule sent them to Southern California to play the No. 1 team in the nation and then brought them back home to play the then No. 23-ranked Minnesota Gophers and their power running attack. CSU found itself staring at a 1-3 record heading into conference play.

Brigham Young came to town for Homecoming and the conference opener and took the win 31-21, bringing the Rams to 1-4. Senior receiver David Anderson had another good season as the Rams' leading wideout, but an oblique injury slowed him down during the middle of the season. He caught 57 passes for 940 yards and two touchdowns this season. Anderson was at his best during the BYU game in which he hauled in 12 passes for 232 yards and one of his two touchdowns.

True freshman Caleb Hanie stepped up as Holland's replacement. Hanie came in to finish off a win in San Diego and led the Rams to victory in his first start against archrival Wyoming to cement the Rams only two-game winning streak of the year. Hanie threw for 1,204 yards and eight touchdowns on 85 completions this season. He threw for 115 yards and a touchdown finishing out the win against San Diego State, but his best game came in a loss to New Mexico. Hanie threw for 285 yards and two touchdowns while completing 20 of 36 passing attempts on the day.

Part of Hanie's success was because senior running back Jimmy Green finally became completely healthy for the SDSU game. Green finished with 436 yards and three touchdowns in six games. His biggest effort of the year came versus Wyoming in the only game that had a CSU running back break the 100-yard barrier. Green gained 124 yards and scored a touchdown in the victory. Junior Uldis Jaunarajs carried the load before Green got fully healthy. Jaunarajs carried the ball 94 times this season, picking up 418 yards and three touchdowns along the way.

The season was filled with tough spots for CSU. Losing the starting quarterback halfway through the year, losing three of the team's first four games and having injuries at key positions all season, would make most people write a team off, but the Rams were still competitive and at 2-2 MWC were still in the hunt for the conference heading into Utah and a must-win. The Utes offense was too powerful, and Utah dashed any hopes the Rams had to make the postseason. Senior H-back Joel Dreessen had an excellent game in Utah, pulling down six passes for 67 yards, but it was not enough to overcome the Utes. Dreessen finished the season with 43 receptions for 427 yards and three touchdowns. His best effort came the week after Utah against the UNLV. Dreessen pulled down three passes for 76 yards and a touchdown in a 45-10 win over the Rebels.

The season came to a close for the Rams in Colorado Springs against Air Force, but it was not meant to be for the seniors. Playing only for pride, the Rams lost 47-17, giving up 26 unanswered second-half points.

 

 

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