Minnesota-Colorado State Preview

The Minnesota Gophers will go on the road for the first time this season when they face the Colorado State Rams in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Rams will be looking for their first win of the 2004 campaign after losing 27-24 to Colorado and 49-0 last Saturday to top-ranked Southern California. The loss to USC marked the first time CSU had been shutout since losing 24-0 to Air Force in 1997. The Gophers need a win to keep their dream of the Rose Bowl alive, while the Rams just need a win.

The Rams began the 2004 season with the goal of earning the program's sixth consecutive bowl appearance and ninth trip to a bowl game since 1993 when head coach Sonny Lubick arrived in Fort Collins and a loss would cripple their postseason hopes.

The Rams are led by junior quarterback Justin Holland, who finished with 403 yards passing on a 29-for-41 effort against Colorado and completed 19 of 35 passes for 233 yards against USC. Holland appeared in eight games during the 2003 season, attempting 55 passes. Holland's favorite target, junior wide receiver David Anderson, has posted a pair of 100-yard receiving games to start the 2004 season. Anderson caught nine passes for 156 yards against Colorado and another nine passes for 137 yards against USC. Anderson finished the 2003 season with 72 catches for 1,293 yards and nine touchdowns. Defensively, junior safety Ben Stratton leads the Rams with 19 tackles on the year. Stratton led the Rams with 12 tackles against Colorado.

The key to the game could the Rams' rushing attack. They have mustered just 92 yards on 55 carries (1.7 yards per carry) Tristan Walker, who started against USC, suffered a right knee injury and might miss the game. Former high school All-American Marcus Houston, who has a team-high 25 carries, will be asked to carry a bigger running load.

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