Stevens: Lobos & CSU Both Motivated For A Win In Fort Collins
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/29/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 29, 2010

Lobos at Colorado State -- 4 p.m. (MT) Saturday
Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium -- Fort Collins
TV:The Mtn. (Comcast 276, DirecTV 616)
Radio: Lobo Radio Network - 770 KKOB; pre-game at 1 p.m.
GoLobos.com: GameTracker, Game Story, Stats

By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com

In the "desperate for a win" department, the 0-7 Lobos have the obvious edge as they are pitching a shutout on the win side of the ledger in 2010. The revenge factor and the motivational edge of not disappointing the home fans obviously go to Colorado State.

The Mike Locksley Lobos have won only one game in two seasons. The Rams fumbled away a victory and were slapped down 29-27 in University Stadium a year ago. It's probably a fair guess that a few Rams remember that loss.

However, Locksley said the distant UNM win over CSU probably fades in comparison to what the Rams are looking for on Saturday -- their third win of the season and their third win in Sonny Lubick Field.

"We are facing a team that is just like us in the mode of looking for wins and looking for something good to happen," said Locksley. "Two similar teams."

The Rams have two wins and six losses. They slipped by Idaho 36-34 and smashed a UNLV team 43-10. That was the Rebels team that beat the Lobos 45-10. The disparity in those scores -- a 68-point lean toward CSU -- does not bode well for UNM's chances at CSU.

However, the Rams have some problems as seen in their 59-6 spanking by Utah last week in Salt Lake City. There also isn't much difference in the talent level that will go head-to-head in Fort Collins.

It comes down to the same old thing for the Lobos: "We have to go up there and handle our business and play mistake free," said UNM's Bryant Williams.

A mistake-free game is a tough thing to expect or ask for, but the Lobos do need to cut down on turnovers, penalties and giving up big plays. They also need to crack into the end zone a bit more. Well, a lot more. UNM averages 13.6 points per game and UNM`s multi-pronged, no-huddle offense has yet to explode in 2010.

There is hope for more offensive production as sophomore B.R. Holbrook is expecting to start at quarterback for the second straight game after being sidelined with a knee injury. He still has some rust to shake off, but he raises UNM's competency on offense and adds a few more plays to the Locksley playbook.

The Rams will give their true freshman Pete Thomas the huddle and the pup hasn't done badly, tossing for 1,751 yards and eight touchdowns. The Rams are balanced on offense, often looking to decide which attack is going to work -- by ground or by air. If both mode of attack are off, the Rams tend to get de-horned.

CSU has run the ball 251 times and has passed the ball 251 times. That's a dead-even scale. They average 106.6 yards per game on the ground -- not good -- and average 218.9 yards passing.

"The big preparation for us is to stop the running game," said Lobo defensive end Seth Johannemann. "They have a really good back and a good offensive line."

Yeah, sometimes the CSU run attack is impressive. Sometimes it's not. The Rams had one yard on the ground at Miami and 28 at Utah. They have five games in which they did not crack the 100-yard barrier. They also had 285 rushing yards at Air Force and 259 vs. UNLV. That's good.

The Ram's run attack vs. Air Force and UNLV might be more on the lines of what the Lobos should prepare for in Fort Collins. Those are solid numbers and Leonard Mason carries a 6.3 yard-per-carry average at the Lobos. UNM's defense had its best game against the rush this past Saturday vs. San Diego State.

The Rams sometimes can run it, but they have been more consistent in their passing game. They have six games of 180-plus passing yards and a mammoth game of 386 passing yards in the win over Idaho. CSU has been picked off nine times, but only three times in the past five games. UNM quarterbacks have thrown 11 picks.

CSU has a solid possession receiver in Tyson Liggett, who has 27 grabs for 199 yards. They have a big-play threat in Lou Greenwood, who has 18 catches for 288 yards and averages 16 yards per catch.

Like the Lobos, CSU has been having trouble putting points on the board and average 16.4 points per game. Like the Lobos, the Rams have played a salty schedule, scoring 3, 6, 10, 0 and 6 vs. Colorado, Nevada, Miami, TCU and Utah, respectively. CSU did score 27 vs. Air Force and 43 vs. UNLV. The Lobos are giving up 44.1 points per game.

For sure, the Lobos are expecting the Rams to be ornery on their turf and should be motivated to look better in front of the home fans after their 59-6 paddling at Utah. "Colorado State is going to come out fighting," said Williams.

The Lobos showed pretty good fight against San Diego State, losing 30-20. It was probably UNM's best game of the season.

The Lobos are without their leading rusher, Demond Dennis, who was dismissed from the team this week. Dennis showed a lot of potential coming out of high school, but was averaging only 3.7 yards per carry in 2010 -- 155 yards on 42 carries. His loss probably means that James Wright will continue to see more carries.