Van Pelt Anxious for Trip to New Orleans

CSU Quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt has run the gamut in his first year as a starter–beginning the season on the bench, getting a chance to start, then suffering through awful games early in the year. He and the Rams offense came on strong late, and the sophomore signal caller showed flashes of brilliance as the Rams made a successful stretch run. The reward: A trip to New Orleans for the first ever New Orleans Bowl on December 18, where CSU will take on Sun Belt Conference Champion North Texas

Forget all that talk about a bowl game being a "business trip." For Van Pelt and the Rams, it's just deserts.

"Everyone is excited to be playing in this Bowl game," Van Pelt told me on my radio show. "We're going to New Orleans for a vacation, and to play some football."

Van Pelt wasn't dismissing the importance of the game, just emphasizing the joy the Rams felt at earning a Bowl bid for the third straight year. This trip, he said, is well deserved.

"We worked so hard all year, and overcame so much," Van Pelt added. "We deserve this."

As for the opponent, 5-6 North Texas, Van pelt is not dismissing the team that is the first in nearly 30 years to get a Bowl bid with a losing record.

"They've got some great athletes," he noted. "I don't think they can stay with us for four quarters, but if we don't play well, we could be in trouble. We've got to play our game."

The game is in the Louisiana Superdome. Kick-off is at 6 p.m. M, and will be televised on ESPN2.

Rams Seniors take one last bow…

CSU-SID - Wide receiver Dallas Davis talked about the Rams' late-season rally, four wins in five games, that set the team up for its third consecutive bowl trip and sixth in nine seasons under Coach Sonny Lubick.

Colorado State was 2-4, and Davis said player and coach unity led to the late-season charge.

"I'm proud of the team. We held together," said Davis. "The players, the seniors, are all great competitors, and are all talented. Everyone kind of looked inside ourselves, and said we couldn't give up. We hung in there, and we hung together."

The result was four wins and a second-place finish in the Mountain West Conference, and the school's first-ever trip to a third consecutive bowl game. Colorado State earned the bowl bid by defeating New Mexico the final game of the season.

"We had a chance to end the season in Albuquerque or New Orleans. We chose New Orleans. I'm prod of the team," Davis said. "It also says a lot about our program. We came a long way during the season."

For Davis and the rest of the senior class, the trip marks a fourth bowl game appearance. The native of Fort Collins missed last year's Liberty Bowl win over Louisville, when he was sidelined early in the year by an injury, petitioned the NCAA for a year of hardship eligibility and came back in 2001 as a senior.

"We want to go down there, and play a good game. The seniors want to go out and have a good game. We want to have the best game that we possibly could have. We have been practicing and working hard for this game."


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