New offensive coordinator, new quarterback, same old story for the CSU Rams football team.
Even after relieving former offensive coordinator Greg Peterson of his coaching duties and temporarily pulling quarterback Grant Stucker in favor of backup Jon Eastman, the Rams (3-7, 0-6 MWC) still lost to the UNLV Rebels (4-6, 2-4) Saturday night in Las Vegas. The defeat marks the seventh consecutive loss for CSU and ends any hope of a bowl game.
CSU head coach Steve Fairchild gave credit to the Rebels for the win but said he was embarrassed by the loss.
“I’m embarrassed for the players. I’m embarrassed for the fans and coaches,” he said after the game in an interview on 560 KLZ-AM. “We lost our composure out there and not because of the score. That’s not the way you play the game. We’ve got to go back to playing.”
Only down 14-7, the Rams looked to be in the game going into halftime, a fact that quickly changed in the second half.
The Rebels opened the third quarter with an impressive eight play, 70 yard drive, ending with a five-yard touchdown run by Mike Clausen, which proved to be the game winner.
UNLV was just getting started, adding two more touchdowns in the second half, including a six yard run from Channing Trotter with 2:05 left in the game, while cruising to a convincing 35-16 victory.
The Rams were never were able to get their offense on track during the game and played quarterback shuffle throughout. Stucker started the evening for CSU, only to be pulled midway through the second quarter. When Eastman entered the game, he enjoyed mild success, leading the Rams to 10 points, including a one-yard touchdown run by John Mosure just before halftime.
After throwing a costly interception early in the fourth, Eastman was replaced, putting Stucker back on the field. The senior led a late scoring charge again ending with a Mosure touchdown run, but it wasn’t enough to keep the Rams from another loss.
Fairchild explained that he wasn’t pleased with either quarterback’s performance and said the CSU passing game has lost a lot.
“We’ve been struggling in our pass game since the middle of the season,” he said. “Maybe we’ve taken a step here and there, but we are still a long ways away.”
Statistically, Stucker had the better night of the duo, going 13-24 for 127 yards and no touchdowns. Eastman finishes 7-13 for 73 yards and an interception.
Searching for answers, CSU freshman running back Lou Greenwood isn’t blaming the losing streak on the way the Rams prepare for games.
“Practice wasn’t that bad this week,” Greenwood said. “We failed when it counted . It’s not a matter of practice.”
Greenwood finished the game with 13 carries for 65 yards to lead the Rams’ ground game.
Up next for the Rams is a long bye week followed by a showdown with the New Mexico Lobos, a match-up of the only teams in the Mountain West without a conference win. The game will likely decide last place in the conference.
Assistant Sports Editor Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.