After a rough start to the Steve Fairchild era of CSU football, this weekend the Rams have a fresh chance to pick up their first win of the season.
Fairchild, the Rams head coach, is expecting his team to make big strides this week after losing the season opener to CU-Boulder last weekend in Denver.
“Typically a team will make a big step from game one to game two, particularly a team like ours that has a lot of first time players,” he said. “I’d like to see us play better than we did last week to be honest.”
CSU will have a chance to earn their first “W” Saturday afternoon as they host Sacramento State, a Division I Football Championship Subdivision (formerly D I-AA) school from the Big Sky Conference.
Fairchild isn’t taking the Hornets lightly even though they are a division down from the Rams.
“If you look at these guys on tape they have plenty of players,” he said. “They have a lot of guys who could play for anyone.”
CSU defensive coordinator Larry Kerr agreed, adding that they don’t take any team for granted.
“There are so many players that get overlooked that go to Division I-AA schools like this and make it into the NFL,” he said. “There are some guys from their team I wouldn’t mind having here.”
The Hornets roll into Fort Collins as winners of three straight games, the longest current streak in their conference.
SSU enjoyed a successful debut last week in which the Hornets crushed Humboldt State 45-13. In the game, running backs Bryan Hilliard and Evander Wilkins both rushed for more than 100 yards. Hilliard’s performance extended a streak of four straight games breaking the 100-yard rushing mark.
After viewing game film of the Hornets win, Rams offensive coordinator Greg Peterson was impressed and explained he will have no trouble getting the team geared up for their home opener.
“If you turn on their first ball game you can see how good they played,” he said. “Every game is important, and Sacramento State is who we have to get up and play hard against.”
Fairchild complimented SSU’s offense, comparing them to a familiar foe.
“They have a nice little change up with their backs and an experienced quarterback,” the first year head coach said. “It’s like playing CU again. We will have our hands full and it will take our best game.”
Kerr is confident in his team’s ability to pick up the win, explaining that it’s all a matter of growth.
“We can grow from the first game we played,” he said. “We are obviously not a finished product, and there are a lot of areas we can improve on. But the foundation we laid with effort and physical play is great. Now we just have to build on it.”
Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.