CSU to get ship in right direction against Wyoming

People say there's no place like home, but don't ask CSU's football players. They wouldn't be credible sources.<BR><BR> For only the second time in seven games this year, the Rams (4-2) awake in Fort Collins the day of a game. They take on the University of Wyoming (1-4) at 1 p.m. Saturday for CSU's Homecoming Game, which is the second sellout in a row at Hughes Stadium.

The game is also the annual Border War, and to the victor goes the Bronze Boot, the traveling trophy for the winner since 1968. UW has an 18-13 edge in Bronze Boot games, but CSU holds the all-time series lead, 58-35-5.

In addition, the game is the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams. The Rams took second place in conference last year, while the Cowboys finished last. UW hasn't won a conference game since 1999.

If last week's disheartening 32-30 loss to Fresno State doesn't have the Rams fired up for Saturday's game, the fact it's Homecoming, and the Border War, and the first conference game should have CSU ready to roll. The Rams have won the last three games between these rivals, four of the last five, and seven of the past nine. But that doesn't mean the Rams have looked past the ‘Pokes.

"We need to play well offensively, defensively, and on special teams," CSU head coach Sonny Lubick said. "I think that the players have worked hard in practice, and we have to work hard the rest of the week. We know that Wyoming is going to be ready to play. They are going to give us everything we can handle."

Hopefully, CSU can handle Wyoming on special teams. Formerly the Rams' strong point, the special teams unit is now in dire straights. Against Fresno State, CSU gave up a punt return for a touchdown, had a field goal blocked and snapped the ball over Joey Huber's head and through the endzone for a safety.

Return man Dexter Wynn was also held in check last Friday. But against Wyoming last year, he returned a kick 95 yards for a touchdown.

Offensively, the Rams have been putting up big numbers. Quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt has ran for 253 yards in the past two games, and running back Cecil Sapp has added 219.

Defensively, CSU allowed only a field goal to Fresno State in the second half.

Should all facets of the game come together Saturday, it will be a nice Homecoming. This appears to be the Rams' best chance to win a game by more than a touchdown. Their four wins have been by three, four, five and six points.

Should the Rams falter, their impressive play in their tough non-conference schedule was all for naught.


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