CSU faces an important road test this weekend against the University of Texas-El Paso in a battle of two .500 teams.
The game is CSUâ€™s third road game this season. So far the Rams have managed to win the first two.
In order to win this weekend, the Rams will need success in the running game. CSU has shown signs of an efficient ground attack at times, but currently rank 98th out of 120 teams in rushing yards per game.
â€œWe can play physical, number one,â€ CSU coach Steve Fairchild said. â€œWe can call it more, break a few more tackles, a little bit of everything.â€
Coming off a thumping at the hands of No. 5 Boise State University, the Rams have emphasized the importance of getting the running game going early and maintaining that pressure throughout four quarters.
â€œWeâ€™re definitely working on the running game,â€ sophomore center Weston Richburg said. â€œOne thing that weâ€™ve really been working on this week is tempo.â€
Richburg said it has been the little things that have eluded the offensive line.
â€œWeâ€™ve got to put our hats on everybody that weâ€™re supposed to, and we have to have a good relationship with the backs,â€ Richburg said.
One issue that has hindered the teamâ€™s ability in the running game is its lack of fast starts.
If CSU is able to open up the running game early and play with a lead, it should allow the running backs to get more touches. Nwoke believes this will allow the running game to fully develop and enable the team to finish strong.
The leaders on the team say that if they can keep up the tempo and play with high energy, then they will get to a bowl game and avoid the collapse that occurred last season.
â€œWe have to have our leaders come through, come in and motivate everybody to not let their heads down and keep going no matter how hard the battle is,â€ Nwoke said.
The team said the Boise State game is behind them. The next step is playing hard, trusting each other and gaining confidence each day in practice to avoid the collapse the team experienced last year.
Football beat reporter Travis Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.