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Game notes: Rams Bid To Upset #5 Boise State

Pete Thomas

Oct. 10, 2011

Complete Release | Depth Chart | Supplemental Stats | Updated Bios

This week’s notable storylines…

  • CSU, one of just three programs in the nation to host two teams ranked in the AP’s top five since the beginning of 2010, welcomes the  No. 5 Broncos, tied for the highest-ranked team ever to visit Fort Collins (also No. 5 TCU in 2010, No. 5 CU in 1996).
  • The Rams will wear all-white uniforms at home for the first time in 55 years, teaming with PVHS to white out cancer. Fans also are encouraged to wear white to the game. The last time CSU wore a white jersey, with gold pants, in a home game was also to welcome a new team to its conference, in 1980 against Air Force.
  • CSU has lost six starters and 19 combined starts to injury already in the first half of 2011.
  • The Rams are coming off their first bye since Nov. 14, 2009. They’re 1-1 under Steve Fairchild after the bye.
  • The game pits BSU, tied for first in the nation with 0.4 sacks allowed per game, against CSU, tied for third in the country with 3.8 sacks per contest.
  • Nordly Capi, who leads the country in sacks per game for the fifth time in six weeks this year, needs a sack to establish the CSU record with sacks in six straight games.
  • Pete Thomas needs 173 passing yards to eclipse the program’s top 10, and 249 to become the 10th CSU player to reach 4,000 career.



The setting...
Date: Saturday, Oct. 15
Kickoff: 4:06 p.m. MDT
Location: Fort Collins, Colo.
Site: Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium
Capacity/Surface: 32,500/FieldTurf
Series: First meeting

Broadcast information
Television — The Mtn.
DirecTV: Ch. 616
DirecTV: Ch. 616-1 (HD)
Comcast Digital Cable: Ch. 411
Comcast HD: Ch. 948
DISH Network: Unavailable
Play-by-play: Todd Harris
Color Analyst: Todd Christiansen
Sideline Reporter: Roger Bailey
Producer: Mike Helling

Colorado State Sports Network
Flagship station: KLZ, 560-AM, Denver
Internet: CSURams.com/allaccess
Voice of the Rams: Brian Roth
Color Analyst: Kevin McGlue
Engineer: Bob Greenfield

The Colorado State radio broadcast begins with a pregame show two hours prior to kickoff.

LiveStats: CSURams.com (GameTracker)

Second top-five team in as many years: Boise State, No. 5 in this week’s AP poll, will be tied for the highest-ranked team ever to visit Fort Collins when the Broncos play their first Mountain West game Saturday.

  • Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium is one of only three venues in the nation to host a visiting team ranked among the AP’s top five on more than one regular-season occasion since the beginning of 2010.
  • The Rams all-time against ranked teams visiting Fort Collins (Hughes Stadium opened in 1968; prior home was Colorado Field on the CSU campus):
Year Team Result AP USA Today
2011 Boise State -- 5 6
2010 TCU L 0-27 5 5
1996 Colorado L 34-48 5 8
1984 BYU L 9-52 7 n/a
2001 Fresno State (ot) L 22-25 8 10
2007 Cal L 28-34 10 10
1988 Wyoming L 14-48 10 n/a
1985 Air Force L 19-35 10 n/a
1966 Wyoming W 12-10 10 n/a
1979 BYU L 7-30 11 n/a
1975 Arizona State L 3-33 11 n/a
1977 Arizona State W 25-14 12 n/a
1975 Arizona L 9-31 12 n/a
1971 Arizona State L 0-42 12 n/a
1985 BYU L 7-42 15 n/a
2008 BYU L 42-45 17 17
1994 Utah L 31-45 18 15
1990 Wyoming W 17-8 19 n/a
1981 Mississippi State L 27-37 19 n/a
1972 Air Force L 13-52 19 n/a
1971 Air Force L 12-17 20 n/a
2004 Minnesota L 16-34 22 22
1993 BYU W 28-21 22 n/a
1996 Wyoming L 24-25 23 23
1989 Air Force L 21-45 24 n/a
1989 BYU L 16-45 25 n/a
1993 Fresno State W 34-32 NR 23

Whiteout: CSU’s football team has sought and received approval from Boise State and the Mountain West to wear all-white uniforms at home against the No. 5/6 Broncos.

  • The Rams are joining forces with Poudre Valley Health System in an effort to “white out” the stadium, and ultimately white out cancer. PVHS provides quality cancer treatment and support to people affected by cancer in northern Colorado, southeast Wyoming and southwest Nebraska. Recent enhancements have regionalized services through PVHS’ two hospitals and network of four medical oncology clinics, infusion centers and radiation oncology department.
  • PVHS and The Mtn. – The Mountain West Sports Network -- have combined to produce white T-shirts for the first 5,000 fans through the gates. Each shirt contains a blank, allowing fans to write in the name of an individual affected by cancer for whom fans will stand on that day. CSU will set up stations in Ram Town prior to the game, as well as on the concourses, to provide permanent markers.
  • Additionally, PVHS is distributing 5,000 white placards to fans entering the stadium. At a certain point in the game, fans will be asked to hold up their placards.
  • Also involved in the whiteout is RamStrength, an organization established in 2006 when cancer struck the family of legendary head coach Sonny Lubick, the namesake of the Rams’ playing field at Hughes Stadium. RamStrength provides financial assistance for local cancer survivors and their families to help them with basic needs such as mortgage/rent, car payments and unforeseen auto repairs, monthly bills for utilities and groceries, medical-insurance premiums and co-pays, among other expenses. RamStrength’s goal is to inspire and empower people to live with, through and beyond cancer.
  • CSU hosted a similar event Jan. 22, selling out Moby Arena for a men’s basketball game against No. 9 BYU. The Rams also have hosted white outs for volleyball, but never for football.
  • Fans are encouraged to join the football team and wear white clothing to the game.

Rams to make history in all white: According to team historian John Hirn, author of Aggies to Rams, the Boise State game will mark the first time the team has worn all white at home since Nov. 10, 1956, when the Colorado A&M Aggies hosted Utah at Colorado Field. The school changed its name to Colorado State University in 1957, and permanently changed its nickname to Rams in 1959.

  • CSU last wore a white jersey at home, with yellow pants, on Sept. 6, 1980, a 21-9 win over Air Force, with Steve Fairchild starting his senior season at quarterback. Sark Arslanian, then CSU’s head coach, decided he wanted the Rams to wear white because of the heat. Air Force that day was playing its first league game as a member of the Western Athletic Conference. On Saturday, Boise State will play its first conference game as a member of the Mountain West. Those two instances are believed to be the only times in the history of Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium CSU that the Rams took, or will take, the field in white tops.

Against ranked foes: Since the beginning of the Sonny Lubick era in 1993, CSU has played 38 ranked teams (13-25). The team’s most recent victory over a Top 25 foe came in 2002, a win over No. 7/6 CU, in Denver. CSU’s most recent road win over a ranked team was in 1998 at No. 23/16 Michigan State. The highest-ranked opponent CSU has ever defeated was in 1994, a triumph at No. 6/4 Arizona. CSU vs. ranked foes, since ‘93:

Year Team Result AP USA Today
2010 at Utah L 6-59 9 9
at Air Force L 27-49 25 NR
TCU L 0-27 5 5
2009 at TCU L 6-44 12 8
at BYU L 23-42 19 20
2008 BYU L 42-45 17 17
at Utah L 16-49 14 13
2007 Cal L 28-34 10 10
2005 at TCU L 6-33 20 20
2004 at Utah L 31-63 7 8
Minnesota L 16-34 22 22
at Southern Cal L 0-49 1 1
2002 Colorado (Denver) W 19-14 7 6
2001 at BYU L 34-56 13 8
Fresno State (ot) L 22-25 8 10
2000 Louisville (Memphis) W 22-17 22 23
Colorado (Denver) W 28-24 23 25
1999 S.Miss (Memphis) L 17-23 16 13
at BYU L 13-34 25 NR
Colorado (Denver) W 41-14 14 14
1998 at Michigan State W 23-16 23 16
1997 Missouri (San Diego) W 35-24 19 20
New Mex. (Las Vegas) W 41-13 NR 25
at Colorado L 21-31 8 8
1996 Wyoming L 24-25 23 23
at Nebraska L 9-65 8 8
Colorado L 34-48 5 8
1995 Kan. St.(San Diego) L 24-51 10 10
at Air Force W 27-20 21 19
at Colorado L 14-42 10 10
1994 Michigan (San Diego) L 14-24 20 12
Utah L 31-45 18 15
at Arizona W 21-16 6 4
at BYU W 28-21 22 n/a
1993 at Wyoming W 42-21 NR 23
Fresno State W 34-32 NR 23
at Nebraska L 13-48 6 n/a
BYU W 28-21 22 n/a

Hughes holds unique distinction: CSU season-ticket holders are in elite company, as they are the only fans in the nation other than those at Arkansas and Ole Miss to see multiple visitors ranked in the Associated Press top five since the beginning of 2010.

  • After this weekend, only the Rams, Rebels and Razorbacks will have hosted two top-five teams since last season began. CSU hosted No. 5 TCU on Oct. 2, 2010, and will host No. 5 Boise State Saturday. Ole Miss hosted No. 3 Auburn on Oct. 30, 2010, and this week hosts No. 2 Alabama. Arkansas hosted both of its highly ranked vistors last season, No. 5 LSU on Nov. 27, 2010, and No. 1 Alabama on Sept. 25, 2010.

Injury city: CSU injuries have combined to prevent 19 starts this season. And among nine key contributors, health ailments have claimed 27 combined games.

  • Injuries have conspired to end several CSU playing streaks. Senior Nuku Latu, who sprained a knee late in the CU game Sept. 17, missed the first game of his career, ending a streak of 40 games. The streak was tied with Ivory Herd for longest on the team. Mychal Sisson also entered the season having not missed a game, until his broken ankle Sept. 10 forced him out of the CU game the ensuing week. The Utah State game is the first organized football contest Latu has ever missed, not including his 2007 redshirt season as a true freshman. Starting tackle Joe Caprioglio also injured his knee in the CU game and saw the end of a 15-game streak. Caprioglio had started 12 straight. Sisson until his ankle injury had missed just two starts, and no games, during his college career.
  • Listed below is CSU’s complete list of starts and games lost due to health among key contributors.

    Pos Name Starts lost Games lost Injury
    LB Michael Kawulok 5 5 knee
    DE Broderick Sargent 4 4 knee
    LB Mychal Sisson 3 3 ankle
    DL Scott Carter 0 3 knee
    FB Austin Gillmore 3 3 knee
    WR Bobby Borcky 0 3 thigh
    LB Max Morgan 0 2 knee
    T Joe Caprioglio 2 2 knee
    DT Nuku Latu 2 2 knee
    DT John Froland 0 0 ankle
    Totals (10 players) 19 27

Can’t bye me love: CSU, coming off its first bye week since Nov. 14, 2009, is 1-1 under Steve Fairchild in games after bye weeks.

  • In games after the bye, the Rams have won only one of their last four,  a dramatic triumph over Case Keenum and Houston, Sept. 20, 2008, in Fort Collins, secured by Klint Kubiak’s last-second end-zone interception. The three losses were at Houston Sept. 22, 2007, vs. TCU on Nov. 25, 2006, and at New Mexico on Nov. 21, 2009.
  • However, with Steve Fairchild and Larry Kerr on staff from 1993-2000, and 2008, the Rams in games after bye weeks compiled a 7-0 mark, including a 52-0 win over UTEP in 1993, a 63-0 win over Hawaii in 1997, a 46-7 triumph over New Mexico State in 1999, and a 45-14 victory over Nevada in 2000.

Welcome to a new conference: The Rams play the Broncos for the first time in their football history Saturday.This game marks the first time Boise State has faced a Mountain West team since joining the league in 2011.

  • The last time CSU hosted a new member school in its first conference game was on Sept. 6, 1980. CSU and its quarterback, Steve Fairchild, beat Air Force, 21-9, as the Falcons entered the WAC. Fairchild completed 16 of 29 passes for 322 yards and three touchdowns that day.
  • CSU also welcomed Wyoming to the Mountain States Athletic Conference (also known as the Skyline Conference) on Oct. 1, 1938, as both teams played their first games in that newly created league.
  • The first conference game for the Rams in the Mountain West was on Sept. 16, 1999, at BYU.

Something’s gotta give: With respect to sacks allowed, this game features one of the nation’s top offensive lines in Boise State against, with respect to sacks, one of the country’s top defenses in Colorado State.

  • The Broncos’ offense is tied for first with 0.4 sacks allowed per game:
Rk Name Gm Total Yds Sk/G
1 Stanford 5 2 5 0.4
Air Force 5 2 8 0.4
Boise St. 5 2 11 0.4
Michigan 5 2 13 0.4
5 Georgia Tech 6 3 0.5 0.5
  • Meanwhile, the Rams’ defense is tied for third in the nation with 3.8 sacks per game:
Rk Name Gm Total Yds Sk/G
1 Texas A&M 5 21 140 4.2
2 Rutgers 5 20 133 4.0
3 Oklahoma 5 19 144 3.8
Hawaii 5 19 141 3.8
Colorado St. 5 19 95 3.8

Special teams might be big: This week’s contest also features the Mountain West’s top two punt returners. Boise State’s Mitch Burroughs ranks 13th in the nation with a 15.6-yard average. CSU’s Momo Thomas ranks 22nd with an 11.1-yard average.

Boise State part of attractive MW mini-plan: Fans can save when purchasing Boise State tickets as part of a mini-plan season-ticket package still available. The Broncos, ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press poll this week, are tied for the highest-ranked team ever to visit Fort Collins. TCU was No. 5 last season when it visited the Rams, as was CU in 1996.

  • Boise State will play a historic game at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, the team’s first conference contest as a member of the Mountain West.
  • The Mountain West mini-plan features not only Boise State, but also San Diego State and Air Force -- three teams that have at least received votes in the national rankings this season. San Diego State and its own NFL Draft prospect Ryan Lindley, is 3-2, including big wins at Army and at home against Washington State. The Aztecs come to town Nov. 12, while the Falcons travel up I-25 on Nov. 26. All three games are 4 p.m. kickoffs.
  • The MW mini-plan is $90, a savings of $10 off the combined face value of the three tickets. Ram Club members can purchase MW Plans in donor seating levels. Prices do not include delivery fees ($7 mail, $10 will call), but there is no $5 per-ticket processing fee on any mini-plan purchase. For more information, contact the CSU ticket office at 1-800/491-RAMS (7267).

Opening conference 2-0: The Rams have a tall test this week, but they still have an opportunity to open their conference schedule with two wins for the first time since 2005, when CSU beat Air Force and Utah.

Exposure: Each of these teams are on national or regional television for every game of their 2011 schedules.

Nation’s sacks leader remains in front: Nordly Capi for the fifth time in six weekends this season continues to lead the country in sacks per game:

Rk Player  Pos Cl Gm Solo Ast Yds Total PG
1 Nordly Capi, Colorado St. DL SO 5 7 2 47 8.0 1.60
2 Whitney Mercilus, Illinois DL JR 6 8 1 55 8.5 1.42
3 Sean Porter, Texas A&M LB JR 5 6 1 56 6.5 1.30
4 Brett Roy, Nevada DL SR 5 6 0 20 6.0 1.20
5 Frank Alexander, Oklahoma DL SR 5 5 1 37 5.5 1.10
David Niumatalolo, N.Mex. St. DL SR 5 5 1 25 5.5 1.10
7 Andre Branch, Clemson DL SR 6 6 0 37 6.0 1.00
Vinny Curry, Marshall DL SR 6 6 0 31 6.0 1.00
Chase Thomas, Stanford LB SR 5 4 2 45 5.0 1.00
Taylor Thompson, SMU DL SR 5 4 2 25 5.0 1.00

Sacks, team leaders: CSU has 19 sacks as a team, more than the 10 it had during the entire 2008 season, the last time the Rams went to a bowl.

  • The Rams, who matched a single-game team record with nine in the season-opening win at New Mexico, are on pace for 46 sacks this season. The team record is 44 in 1982.

Sacks, single-season: Capi’s eight sacks this season, in just five games, already are the most by a CSU player in a given year since Clark Haggans had eight in 1999.

  • With another sack this week, Capi would total more than any Rams defender in a season since future NFL All-Pro Joey Porter reached 14 in 1998.

Sacks, consecutive games: Capi has a sack in five consecutive games, tied for the longest streak in recorded CSU history. Sacks became an official individual statistic in 1982.

  • With a sack in a sixth straight contest Saturday vs. Boise State, Capi would own the Rams’ longest streak ever.
  • Only three other players — all future NFL draft choices and longtime veterans at the next level — have recorded sacks in five straight games in a CSU uniform. Clark Haggans in 1998 was the last to do it, while Brady Smith also had a sack in the first five games of his season, 1994, before getting shutout by No. 4 Arizona. But Sean Moran, the defensive hero of that upset at Arizona, posted a sack in the win over the Wildcats, to cap his five-game streak in that storybook season; Moran’s streak ended the following week in a 47-9 win vs. UTEP.
  • The quartet of CSU’s five-game streaks:
Games Player Dates Opp
 5 Nordly Capi 09/03/11 at New Mexico
09/10/11 Northern Colo.
09/17/11 vs. Colorado
09/24/11 at Utah State
10/01/11 San Jose State
5 Clark Haggans 09/26.98  UNLV
10/03/98 at UTEP
10/10/98 Tulsa
10/17/98 at New Mexico State
10/24/98 TCU
5 Brady Smith 09/03/94 at Air Force
09/10/94 Utah State
09/17/94 at BYU
09/24/94 San Diego State
10/01/94 at New Mexico
5 Sean Moran 09/10/94 Utah State
09/17/94 at BYU
09/24/94 San Diego State
10/01/94 at New Mexico
10/08/94 at Arizona

Against his former team: For the second straight week, a CSU coordinator faces the team for whom he spent his career as a college player.

  • Last week, defensive coordinator Larry Kerr faced alma mater San Jose State. This week, special teams coordinator Larry Lewis game plans against Boise State.
  • Lewis began coaching after a stellar playing career at Boise State, where he lettered four times. After redshirting in 1976, he was the team’s most improved player as a freshman. As a starter at outside linebacker, he helped the Broncos win the 1980 NCAA Division I-AA national championship, on the heels of a 10-1 season in 1979 and a Big Sky championship in 1977.

One-score games: The Rams are among the nation’s leaders in one-score games, or contests decided by eight points or less:

Teams Games Record Comb. Pts.
Syracuse 5 4-1 23
Indiana 4 0-4 19
BYU 4 2-2 12
Middle Tennessee 4 1-3 16
Louisiana Tech 4 1-3 15
Utah State 3 0-3 8
Connecticut 3 0-3 14
Boston College 3 0-3 16
Duke 3 2-1 7
South Carolina 3 2-1 9
Colorado State 3 2-1 12
Notre Dame 3 1-2 10
Minnesota 3 1-2 15
Illinois 3 3-0 9
Auburn 3 3-0 14


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