For the first time in nearly two years, the CSU Football team has completed a week of practice with a winning record. Now, on the verge of their toughest test of the young season, the Rams are looking to keep to their winning ways.
CSU (2-1), winners of back-to-back games, will put its streak on the line as the Rams travel Berkley to face off against the University of California (2-1).
Head coach Steve Fairchild admitted that UC is the best team CSU has faced this season.
“If you were asking an NFL scout right now then yes, Cal’s a pretty darn talented team,” the former Buffalo Bills coordinator coach said. “We can play with them, but we have to go play well. There is no question about that.”
CSU defensive coordinator Larry Kerr agreed, adding that it’s the Bear’s balance that makes them dangerous.
“They are the most balanced offense we have seen without a doubt,” he said. “They are by far the best running team we have faced.”
The Bears come into Saturday’s match up boasting the top scoring offence in the Pac-10, posting over 43 points per game. Cal attack is led by running back Jahvid Best, who is averaging 112 yards per game on the ground.
Fairchild explained that the Ram’s defense must play tough football to stop the five-foot, 10-inch sophomore.
“He’s a good player,” Fairchild said. “We have to contain him because I don’t think you can stop him. We need to make him earn what he gets.”
CSU linebacker Ricky Brewer knows that the Rams have a tough test task in facing the high-powered Cal offense.
“We are going to have to come out and play physical, relentless football,” the sophomore said. “That’s what it is going to take to beat them.”
UC head coach Jeff Tedford isn’t looking past the Rams. The seventh year coach explained in a press conference Tuesday that CSU is a sound, well-coached squad.
“They are a good football team with a lot of confidence,” he said. “They have a big play offence that can throw the ball down field with a good quarterback. On defense they are flying around pretty well and coming up with some big plays.”
CSU nearly knocked off the Bears last season after a late comeback attempt, but fell short, losing 34-28. Cal was ranked No. 10 in the nation at the time.
Fairchild said playing the Bears close last season may give the Rams a boost of confidence but said both teams are different this year.
“Their schemes are different and we are certainly different,” he said.
Even though the Rams are heavy underdogs, Brewer can clearly see how a victory over a team like Cal would affect the rest of CSU’s season.
“We have such great momentum coming off of two straight wins,” he said. “A win against Cal would definitely boost our moral around here. It would give us even more momentum for the rest of the season and anyone in our conference would have a hard time contending with us.”
Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. MT Saturday. The game will be available to DirectTV premier or sports package subscribers, but fans will be able to watch at the Buffalo Wild Wings location in Fort Collins, where the athletic department will be hosting a “watch party.”
The event, which starts at 3:30 p.m., will feature trivia and prize drawings, along with appearances from CAM the Ram and the CSU cheerleaders.
Ten percent of food sales from the event will be donated to the CSU General Athletic Scholarship Fund.
Football beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.