CSU To Face University of Virginia in 02 Opener

Colorado State University director of athletics Jeffrey Hathaway today announced that the Rams will open the 2002 football season by playing the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va., on Thursday, Aug. 22.

The Jim Thorpe Association Classic, a first-ever meeting between the schools, is one of a handful of special "preseason" games and will be played at David A. Harrison III Field at Scott Stadium on Virginia's campus. Television coverage for the game will be announced at a later day.

"To receive an invitation to play in one of the preseason classics reflects the national respect that Colorado State's football program has achieved under Sonny Lubick," Hathaway said. "We are honored to have the opportunity to compete in the Jim Thorpe Association Classic. I know that the coaches, the student-athletes, and our fans are very excited by this announcement."

The game will be the second preseason game appearance by the Rams. Colorado State beat Michigan State, 23-16, in East Lansing, Mich., in the Black Coaches Association Classic in 1998. Lubick enters his 10th year at the helm in 2002, and will have 36 letterwinners returning from last year's team, including 15 starters.

"I know that our players and our coaches are excited about this game. It doesn't happen very often that we have an opportunity to play in a preseason classic, and have the opportunity to play an ACC school," said Lubick. "I know that our players will be excited for the challenge."

Colorado State finished with a 7-5 record a year ago and won the first-ever New Orleans Bowl, the third consecutive year the Rams have played in a bowl game - a school record. Under Lubick's guidance, the Rams have been to bowl games in six of the past nine years, most by any Mountain West Conference member institution. Plus, Colorado State ranks 12th nationally in total victories since 1994, and the Rams 77 regional and national television appearances since that time are the most among MWC members.

Colorado State has never faced a current Atlantic Coast Conference member. The Rams, however, played Florida State twice in Tallahassee, losing in 1972 and winning in 1974, prior to the Seminoles gaining entrance into the ACC.

Hathaway said the rest of the 2002 schedule is expected to be announced in the next few days.

Note: For further information on the Jim Thorpe Association Classic, contact organizer Russ Potts, 804-698-7527.

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