Oct 172010
Authors: Joel Hafnor

The Colorado State Rams finally put it all together on offense in the first half of Saturday’s 43-10 route of UNLV, making the third and fourth quarters little more than a formality.

The Rams (2-5, 1-2 MWC) showed exactly why head coach Steve Fairchild has remained optimistic –– even after the team’s dismal first half of the season.

“There was a nice little stretch in the first half that we showed the type of team that we’re capable of being,” Fairchild said. “I’ve been thinking (the team looked good) in practice for the last three weeks … I knew at some point it was going to translate out there.”

Saturday’s game marks the Rams’ first Mountain West Conference victory since November of 2008 against Wyoming, and the 43 points are the most scored in a single game during Fairchild’s tenure.

CSU exhibited a balanced attack in the blowout of the Rebels (1-6, 1-2). Quarterback Pete Thomas enjoyed the most efficient game of his young career, hitting on 10 of 14 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns.

“All week we talked about starting fast, and we haven’t started a game fast yet, and we obviously did that (Saturday),” Thomas said. “We kept the pressure on them in the first half and it was a great feeling.”

Instrumental to Thomas’ success was the Rams’ electric sophomore wide receiver Lou Greenwood. Greenwood caught two passes for 128 yards –– including a 73-yard touchdown in the second quarter in which Greenwood tiptoed down the sideline before breaking away from the defense.

Greenwood transitioned to receiver this season, after committing to CSU as a running back out of Conroe High School in Texas. The Rams have used the versatile receiver in a variety of ways this season, but Saturday marked his breakout performance.

“Three weeks ago I felt like I could only do certain things,” said Greenwood, who also rushed for 12 yards on the day. “But now I feel like I can do everything when it comes to being a receiver.”

Wide receivers coach Dan Hammerschmidt has been impressed with Greenwood’s development.

“When we moved (Greenwood) from running back, it was a little bit of a struggle,” Hammerschmidt said. “He has continued to work and learn the offense, he is making unbelievable progress.”

Greenwood’s influence on Saturday’s game was not limited to the spectacular catches made or the dazzling end around carries, his mere presence was valuable, stretching the UNLV defense to honor his deep threat ability.

Tight end Eric Peitz benefited mightily from the Rebels defensive adjustments, as he grabbed a career-best two touchdowns in the win. Peitz joked that the last time he’d scored twice in a game was at recess.

“I’ve never had two (touchdowns) in a game,” Peitz said. “It was really good to see what we can do when everybody plays at a high level.”

For the second consecutive week, Leonard Mason shouldered most of the load for the Rams’ running game. And again, Mason produced, this time to the tune of 122 yards and a touchdown.

“Pretty much, it was time to let the beast out,” said Mason, who had a career-long 52-yard run Saturday. “We really needed this (win) going into next week. It’ll bring all the guys up.”

As a team, the Rams gashed the Rebels for 259 yards on the ground.

The Rams will look to carry their offensive momentum into this weekend, as they travel to Salt Lake City to face No. 10 Utah.

Assistant Sports Editor Joel Hafnor can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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