This season marks the fifth year the CSU football team has started 2-0 under Head Coach Sonny Lubick.
Each time, the Rams finished on top of the conference.
The last time Lubick’s team went 3-0 was in 1994, when it went 10-2 and earned a trip to the Holiday Bowl – putting CSU’s football program on the map.
“That’s where we want to get to,” said junior defensive lineman Blake Smith. “We want to put this program back on the map.”
Next to senior safety Ben Stratton, Smith has the most career starts on the nation’s top-ranked defense that will face its toughest test of the season when it travels to play Nevada on Saturday night in Reno.
Nevada’s offense boasts a dangerous tandem throwing and catching the football.
Senior quarterback Jeff Rowe has started 26 consecutive games for the Wolf Pack, the seventh longest streak in the nation among quarterbacks.
Rowe threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns against CSU last year and went on to lead his team to victories in eight of its next nine games.
The senior from Reno is a versatile quarterback that has the ability to run and pass.
But the CSU defense feels it’s well prepared to handle him after facing Colorado-Boulder’s Bernard Jackson last week.
“CU has as good of athletes as we’ll face all year,” Smith said.
Nevada’s best receiver is senior Caleb Spencer, who was an All-WAC first-team member in 2005 and has the 10th longest streak in the country for consecutive games with a catch (26).
Rowe and Spencer will face a CSU secondary that has only defended against 29 passing plays all season.
“These past two games we haven’t had a lot to do back there,” said junior cornerback Darryl Williams. “But we face our offense everyday, so they prepare us well. We’ll be ready.”
The Wolf Pack have never beaten the Rams, having played each other only seven times, but CSU is aware Saturday may be Nevada’s best chance to do so.
Nevada currently has a five-game winning streak at home dating back to last season.
CSU has confidence in both its passing game and defense, but needs to establish some type of running game after averaging only 82 yards per game thus far.
Offensive coordinator Dan Hammerschmidt knows running the ball successfully is a responsibility shared by several people.
“It’s got to be coaching. It’s got to be the O-line. It’s got to be the running backs,” Hammerschmidt said.
The coach said Gartrell Johnson III will start again at running back, but he will “share time 50-50 with Nnamdi Ohaeri.”
Ohaeri said he’s more concerned about the outcome of the game than who starts it.
“I just want to play,” Ohaeri said. “I want to keep winning.”
Hammerschmidt also said sophomore Michael Myers will get carries if neither Ohaeri nor Johnson are effective.
Staff writer Sean Star can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.