A big measuring stick for the CSU football team was making it to a bowl game in 2011.
â€œI think everyone knows where weâ€™re at with our remaining schedule, and this game is huge for us to accomplish our goals,â€ quarterback Pete Thomas said.
The odds are now against the Rams (3-5, 1-2 MW) being able to accomplish that feat, but players are going to keep fighting in hopes of avoiding a third straight 3-9 campaign.
â€œWeâ€™ve got four games left, and we have to make something happen,â€ linebacker James Skelton said. â€œYouâ€™ve got to take it upon yourself (to be motivated) and do it for the team.â€
Last yearâ€™s team in this very game lost motivation after a hard fought loss to San Diego State University. The Rams were no longer eligible for a bowl game, and the team shut off, losing their final two games by a score of 93-10.
Players say to avoid that letdown this year, the turnaround starts in practice.
â€œWeâ€™re trying to come out with a different mentality at practice,â€ said sophomore linebacker Shaquil Barrett. â€œWeâ€™re looking at practice as an opportunity to get better, not as something that we have to do.â€
One of the few areas that the Rams have improved upon since the beginning of the season is running the football. Chris Nwoke ran for a season high 156 yards last time out against UNLV and seems to be solidifying himself as the Rams go-to back.
â€œHe runs the ball real hard; heâ€™s getting better in pass protection; heâ€™s understanding everything better,â€ Thomas said. â€œHeâ€™s a great back, and I feel really comfortable with him out there.â€
Nwoke said he is getting used to being out there and gaining confidence with every carry.
â€œItâ€™s getting there. Iâ€™m still learning,â€ Nwoke said. â€œIâ€™m trusting the lineman more, being patient more and as that comes, I think thatâ€™s when (becoming a solidified number one back) will really start developing.â€
One thing the running back believes has helped his success is getting more touches regularly. With Raymond Carter fumbling at crucial moments in back-to-back games, his role in the offense has been relinquished, with Nwoke becoming the beneficiary.
The Rams got a pleasant surprise this week when senior linebacker Mychal Sisson was able to practice in pads for the first time in nearly two months. It is not expected that he will play this weekend. However, he remains to be ahead of schedule and will continue to be evaluated by team doctors.
Football Beat Reporter Travis Todd can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What: San Diego State vs. CSU
Where: Hughes Stadium
When: Tomorrow, 4 p.m.
Watch it: The Mtn.
Join the conversation: Chat on collegian.com and on Twitter with hash tag #sdsu_vs_csu