Thereâ€™s no such thing as an easy opponent when youâ€™ve lost 11 games in a row, but a date with the Miami RedHawks on Saturday afternoon might serve as the closest thing for the Colorado State football team.
In 2009, Miami finished with a record of 1-11, scoring just more than 15 points per game. The RedHawks struggled mightily in their rushing attack, averaging only 70 yards on the ground per game. Conversely, Miami allowed its opponents to gouge them for 187 yards per game on the ground.
For a CSU team that didnâ€™t force one punt a week ago at Nevada and failed to crack the end zone for a second straight week, taking the RedHawks lightly is not an option.
â€œ(The RedHawks) play both a four-man front and a three-four scheme,â€ head coach Steve Fairchild said after Wednesdayâ€™s practice. â€œTheyâ€™re hard to get ready for in that regard.â€
Both sides of the Ramsâ€™ football team are licking their wounds after being dismantled at the hands of Nevada 51-6 last week. But it will be the more experienced defensive unit who will be looked upon to reestablish a winning atmosphere.
â€œEverybody needs to be humble, stick to their assignments and everything else will come,â€ said sophomore cornerback Momo Thomas. â€œI donâ€™t sense a negative energy around here, everybody is doing what they need to do.â€
The Rams defense will need to keep an especially close eye on senior running back Thomas Merriweather, who broke out to the tune of 113 yards rushing and three touchdowns in the Miamiâ€™s 28-21 victory over Eastern Michigan last Saturday.
Last yearâ€™s leading tackler Mychal Sisson is up for the challenge.
â€œEvery game is important from here on out,â€ Sisson said. â€œWe didnâ€™t have enough discipline (last week). We need to go hard every play and get our assignments down.â€
Sisson, who was limited in the Nevada game by a knee injury, is expected to be back at full strength for Saturdayâ€™s bout.
The CSU offensive enters this week as the lowest scoring team in the country, averaging 4.5 points a game in its first two games. Pete Thomas, who is one of only three starting true freshmen quarterbacks in the country, understands the importance of this game.
â€œIt would be huge to get a win on the road this week and come back for our first home game with a win under our belt,â€ Thomas said. â€œWe canâ€™t just give up, thatâ€™s not what winners do.â€
Thomas added: â€œI think Iâ€™ve done alright, but obviously it hasnâ€™t shown on the field. Weâ€™re 0-2. Our offense hasnâ€™t put the ball in the end zone. I have to take full responsibility for that.â€
Assistant Sports Editor Joel Hafnor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.