Colorado State Rams
at Folsom Field • Sept. 3 • 1:30 p.m. • TBS
Head Coach: Sonny Lubick (13th year)
2004 Record: 4-7, 3-4 MWC
Last Year's Game: CU 27, 24
Series Record: CU leads 56-18-2
Returning Statistical Leaders
Passing: Justin Holland, 212-197-1,622, 10 INT, 6 TD
Rushing: Jimmy Green, 132-436, 3.3 ypc, 3 TD
Receiving: David Anderson, 57-940, 16.5 ypr, 2 TD
Tackles: Ben Stratton, 88
Sacks: Blake Smith, 3-22
The Rams stumbled to their worst season under Sonny Lubick in 2004. However, Colorado State returns nine of 11 starters on offense, including a potent duo that gave the Buffaloes fits in the season-opening game a year ago. Quarterback Justin Holland threw for 403 yards, while wide out David Anderson hauled in nine catches for 156 yards at Folsom Field last September before a defensive goal line stand in the waning seconds decided the game in the Buffs' favor.
Holland, a senior, missed five games last season after breaking an ankle. He returned in the spring, but the Rams now have two experienced quarterbacks, as Caleb Hanie led CSU in Holland's absence. Senior Jimmy Green, the Rams' leading rusher from a year ago (436 yards), is a solid between-the-tackles runner, and sophomore running back Kyle Bell had a strong spring. Tight end/H-back Kory Sperry came on late last season as a true freshman, but suffered a broken collarbone in the spring game. He should be healthy by September.
Seniors Mike Brisiel and Albert Bimper will anchor an offensive line that looks to improve in the run-blocking department, as the Rams averaged just 111 yards rushing per game last season, well off the mark from past years.
The defense, which allowed over 415 yards per game in 2004 (88th in the country), returns eight starters. Blake Smith and Delroy Parke are both pushing 300 pounds as interior linemen, but strong side linebacker Jamul Hall is undersized at 6-foot, 183 pounds.
Last season, the linebacking corps rendered less effective due to a rash of injuries. If they can stay healthy, Courtney Jones and Luke Adkins, along with Hall, should be an improved unit.
Evidence that the Colorado State defense was ailing in 2004 is that its defensive backs were forced to make more tackles than a defensive coordinator hopes or plans for. The team's leading tackler from a year ago, Ben Stratton, is back and should be slid at strong safety. Juco transfer Robert Herbert found his footing at cornerback last fall. Both he and Brandon Cathy were 11-game starters at corner.
Buffalo Outlook: This will be yet another dangerous game for the Buffaloes in their series with in-state rival Colorado State. The Buffs allowed the Rams offense to march all over the field until the final two plays of the game last season. Holland is a pinpoint passer and will be looking to atone for a late-game mental mistake in last year's matchup, when he failed to spike the ball and stop the clock on the Rams' final series.
Opponent Preview — Colorado State
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