On Saturday night, the CSU football team lost its third straight game. A season that started out promising now sees the Rams trying to work out of a tailspin.
CSU fell 31-17 to the University of Texas-El Paso as the Ramsâ€™ offense continued to struggle, while the defense was again victimized by big plays.
UTEP jumped out to an early 14-0 lead with scores of 36 and 48 yards.
By halftime the UTEP lead was 17-10 following a Momo Thomas interception return for a touchdown that helped cut the deficit.
UTEP took advantage of the Ramsâ€™ inability to come back when running back Vernon Frazier struck with an 83-yard touchdown, his second of the game.
UTEP scored again early in the fourth quarter to make it 31-10.
A late CSU comeback attempt ended when the Rams failed to convert a fourth down in the UTEP red zone in the last four minutes with the Rams down 31-17.
Once again the CSU offense failed to click consistently. Sophomore quarterback Pete Thomas threw for only 162 yards while also throwing an interception and losing a fumble.
The rushing game got 93 yards from starter Chris Nwoke, but the early deficit prevented CSU from ever establishing a real run game.
And a defensive unit that was stellar early in the season is beginning to unravel.
The Rams, who were without three defensive starters, gave up 340 rush yards and all four UTEP touchdowns were plays over 30 yards.
Linebacker Myke Sisson and defensive end Broderick Sargent are out with long-term injuries, while safety Ivory Herd was suspended for the game for an unspecified violation of team rules.
The Rams now enter their final five games needing three wins to become bowl eligible.
CSU plays next Saturday in Las Vegas, Nev. against the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Assistant Sports Editor Kevin Lytle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.