Game notes: CSU looks to get back on track, at UTEP

Pete Kontodiakos leads the conference in gross and net punting

Pete Kontodiakos leads the conference in gross and net punting

Oct. 17, 2011

Complete release | Depth chart | Supplemental stats | Updated bios

This week's notable storylines...

  • The Rams bid to answer a difficult loss to one of the nation's best teams, and build momentum as they kick off the second half of their season.
  • CSU meets UTEP, its former rival in the WAC, for the first time since a previous trip to El Paso in 1998, when Joey Porter played for the Rams. For CSU, the game filled a 2011 schedule void created when former conference mates Utah and BYU announced they would leave the MW.
  • The longest active starting streak on the team, Paul Madsen's 25-game stretch, is expected to end, due to injury. Madsen's void leaves the Rams with a pair of redshirt freshmen expected to start Saturday. Injuries have conspired to claim 28 combined starts this season.
  • The Rams look to win a third straight game in an enemy stadium for the first time since 2002-03, when they strung together five wins.
  • WR Thomas Coffman, whose diving catch Saturday was the No. 3 play of the weekend on ESPN SportsCenter, has been involved in all three of the Rams' longest plays from scrimmage this year.
  • CSU punter Pete Kontodiakos leads the MW and ranks 26th in the country with a 43.1 gross average. He also has the Rams leading the conference in net punting, at 39.8. The junior has just two touchbacks in 34 punts.
  • The game is available on regional TV, but outside El Paso, it's only available on pay-per-view, through the UTEP All-Access. Every CSU game is available on national or regional TV this season.

 

 

The setting...
Date: Saturday, Oct. 22
Kickoff: 6 p.m. MDT
Location: El Paso, Texas
Site: Sun Bowl
Capacity/Surface: 51,500/Matrix 46
Series: CSU leads, 24-9-0

Broadcast information
Television -- Time Warner El Paso
 Pay-per-view: $9.95 monthly All-Access                           
  subscription/UTEPAthletics.com
 DirecTV: Unavailable
 DirecTV: Unavailable
 Comcast Digital
  Cable: Unavailable
 Comcast HD: Unavailable
 DISH Network: Unavailable
Play-by-play: Duke Keith
Color Analyst: Neil Raphael
Producer: Curtis Lorenz

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

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

LiveStats: CSURams.com (GameTracker)

Viewing the game: The CSU athletic department made every effort to secure a satellite truck and make the game available to fans outside West Texas. Unfortunately, no trucks were available. So, for CSU fans, Saturday night's game (telecast regionally on cable by Time Warner El Paso) is only available on a pay-per-view basis for a $9.95 monthly subscription through the All-Access feature on UTEP's official Web site. It is not available via satellite.

  • Fans that register for the service will receive the "MinerVision" JumboTron feed through the Internet directly from the stadium. The live streaming will include live game action, instant replays and promotions, just as fans see it at the Sun Bowl Saturday night. Additionally, fans watching online will receive the audio of the UTEP radio broadcast.
  • To receive the live streaming from the Sun Bowl Saturday, fans should visit UTEPathletics.com, and click on the All-Access tab at the top of the home page. On the schedule/calendar of events, by clicking on the orange right-arrow tab and scrolling horizontally to Oct. 22, fans can click "watch" under the CSU logo.
  • To register, fans should then click on new user in the upper right of the pop-up window and create an account, before receiving login information.

Taps to show game for free: Fans are encouraged to watch Saturday's game, and every CSU game away from Fort Collins, at Taps Sports Bar and Grill. On Saturday, the restaurant will live stream the game from the Sun Bowl's MinerVision on a large screen. Plus, ClearChannel will set up speakers to pipe in the call of the CSU Radio Network.

  • Not only is the venue the official road-game watch party location of the Rams, but Taps also will donate 10 percent of all net revenue from all food and beverage sales to CSU's Athletic General Scholarship Fund.
  • In other words, fans that cheer on the Rams at Taps, located at 165 Boardwalk Drive in Fort Collins, help fund student-athlete scholarships at the same time.
  • Taps, known for its outstanding selection of beer, is open daily at 11 a.m., with happy hour from 3-6 p.m. each day, and 10 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Five non-con games: UTEP's addition gave CSU a fifth non-conference opponent for the first time since 1967, when the Rams were an independent program before both CSU and UTEP joined the WAC in 1968.

Three road games: The Rams bid to win a third consecutive game in an enemy stadium for the first time since they won five straight, from 2002-03.

  • CSU went on the road to beat Utah, Air Force and San Diego State in succession to help the Rams secure the 2002 Mountain West championship, before adding to the streak by beating Cal and BYU in 2003.
  • This season, the Rams secured tough wins at New Mexico (Sept. 3) and Utah State (Sept. 24), beating the Aggies in double-OT.
  • CSU has an opportunity to win its first three road games for the first time in a season since 1994, when it beat Air Force, BYU and New Mexico. The Rams that year actually went 5-0 on the road, including a win at No. 6 Arizona, part of a seven-game road winning streak, from Nov. 13, 1993, through Nov. 19, 1994. That streak, which began with a win at UTEP in 1993, ended at No. 10 Colorado on Sept. 9, 1995.
  • The Rams' best road record under Steve Fairchild was 2-3 in 2008.

Against his former team: For the third straight week, a CSU assistant coach faces the team with which he spent a signficant amount of time previously.

  • At the Oct. 1 San Jose State game, defensive coordinator Larry Kerr faced alma mater San Jose State. Last week, special teams coordinator Larry Lewis game planned against Boise State.
  • This week, defensive backs coach Tim Duffie, a Texas native who played linebacker at Texas Tech, meets his former team. CSU hired Duffie after a stint as an assistant coach at UTEP.
  • Duffie's wife, Autumn, also has UTEP ties. She currently works for the CSU athletic department, in the sales office.

Injury city: The Rams are expected to start a pair of redshirt freshmen at offensive tackle this week. CSU injuries have combined to prevent 28 starts this season. And among 11 key contributors, health ailments have claimed 41 combined games.

  • Injuries have conspired to end several CSU playing streaks. The latest streak expected to end is that of all-conference tackle Paul Madsen, 28 games. Madsen sustained a knee injury vs. Boise State and is expected to miss a game for the first time since Sept. 6, 2009, at Colorado, when he didn't play on a line that featured four eventual NFL players. Madsen also owns the team's longest active starts streak, 25.
  • 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 (since seventh grade), until his broken ankle Sept. 10 forced him out of the CU game the ensuing week. The Utah State game was 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.

Halfway mark: The Rams have committed to playing much-improved football over the season's second half, which begins Saturday. At the halfway mark of the 2011 season, here's a closer look at some significant statistical milestones within reach this year:
TEAM  
Category First six games On pace for
Scoring 140 280
   Would be most since CSU scored 327 in last bowl season, 2008
Sacks, defense 20 40
   Would be most by CSU team since 1987 (40)
Fumble recoveries, defense 10 20
   Would be most by CSU team since 2005 (21)
Punting, gross average 44.2 44.2
   Would be highest mark since the 2005 team (44.4)
Punting, net average 39.8 39.8
   Would be highest mark since the 2001 team (40.3)   
Home attendance average 27,692 27,692
   Would be highest mark since 2005 (29,347)
INDIVIDUAL
Category/player First six games On pace for  
Sacks/Nordly Capi 8 16
   Which would: Tie Brady Smith's 1994 CSU record
Forced fumbles/Nordly Capi 5 10
   Which would: Break Joey Porter's 1998 CSU record (8)
Receptions/Crockett Gillmore 24 48
  Would be first TE to lead CSU in receiving since Keli McGregor (`84) 

Spoilers: CSU serves as homecoming visitor for the second time this season Saturday, when UTEP marks the occasion against the Rams. CSU pulled off a dramatic double-overtime win at Utah State in the Aggies' homecoming game, Sept. 24.

Future "associates": CSU and UTEP, former Western Athletic Conference mates, will play the first game between Mountain West and Conference USA members since the commissioners of the respective leagues announced the formation of a football association between the organizations Oct. 14. The association is expected to create a championship game between the leagues as early as 2012.

No-penalty zone: The Rams have committed just four penalties over the last two games, including one against Boise State Saturday.

  • The Rams did not commit a penalty in the first half against the Broncos, and were not flagged until Shaquil Barrett's encroachment on Boise State's first drive of the second half.
  • The Rams went nearly 43 minutes without a penalty walked off against them, from their previous flag, a false start against San Jose State with 11:22 remaining in the third quarter on Oct. 1.
  • So, CSU enters this game with officials having penalized the Rams just once over a stretch of 71 minutes, 22 seconds.

Best record against one team: Earlier this season, the Rams defeated Northern Colorado, the only opponent in the nation to whom the Rams have never lost while playing at least nine games. Top series winning percentages in CSU history:
Opponent W L T Pct
Northern Colorado 17 0 1 .972
New Mexico State 8 1 0 .889
Nevada 9 2 0 .818
UTEP 24 9 0 .727
UNLV 13 5 1 .711
Pacific 7 3 0 .700
Montana 10 6 0 .625
Colorado Mines 27 16 2 .622
New Mexico 34 25 0 .576
Wyoming 54 42 5 .559
Utah State 36 30 2 .544

UTEP back on schedule: CSU and UTEP finalized this game during the middle of the 2010 football season, to help the Rams fill an unexpected void created by the sudden departure of BYU from the Mountain West in August of last year.

  • Colorado State agreed to a two-year football agreement with UTEP.
  • Head Coach Steve Fairchild, who played UTEP as a CSU quarterback from 1978-80, and game planned against the Miners as a CSU assistant from 1993-98, is excited about having the Miners on his schedule.
  • "Anytime we can play a non-conference game in the state of Texas, it's huge," he said. "Texas is a major recruiting base for us."
  • In turn, UTEP will play in Fort Collins on Sept. 8, 2018. The athletic departments already had agreed to a home-and-home series with dates on Sept. 21, 2013, in Fort Collins, and Sept. 20, 2014, in El Paso.
  • The addition of UTEP to the 2011 schedule concluded weeks of searching, with contingency plans in the event Fresno State and Nevada would remain in the WAC for one more season and leave the Rams with just seven conference games in 2011. CSU spoke to dozens of potential opponents, including Purdue from the Big Ten, as well as Big 12 and then-Pac-10 teams, but in the end couldn't align mutual open dates. The Rams did not speak to Football Championship Subdivision institutions.

Familiar foes: The two schools share a rich history, having met 33 times. UTEP, currently coached by Mike Price, is now a Conference USA team, but the Miners and Rams were each in the WAC from 1968-98, when CSU left for the newly formed Mountain West. The Rams, who own a 24-9 series advantage, last met UTEP in 1998. The teams first played in 1963.

UTEP-CSU series history: The first meeting between CSU and UTEP (then known as Texas Western) was on Oct. 26, 1963, a homecoming game in Fort Collins. The Rams won, 21-14, marking their first win at home in three years.

  • In 1968, UTEP joined the Western Athletic Conference along with Colorado State.
  • On Oct. 27, 1973, the Rams racked up a 76-24 win over the Miners, the second-highest number of points scored by any CSU football team. CSU running back Kim Jones broke the school record for single-game rushing, pounding out 229 yards. Willie Miller also caught a Jan Stube pass for a 75-yard touchdown as the Rams finished the day with 630 total yards.
  • When current CSU coach Steve Fairchild faced UTEP as the starting QB on Nov. 8, 1980, the Rams beat the Miners, 37-7, in the final home game of the 1980 season. Fairchild broke the school's all-time total offense record and the Rams headed to Provo, Utah, the next week to play for the WAC championship.

Hughes twin: The home venues for CSU and UTEP, Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium and the Sun Bowl Stadium, are relatives.

  • Opened in 1963, the Sun Bowl was the model for Hughes Stadium, which opened in 1968. Both stadiums have the same architectural designs and many of the same features. In one more ironic twist, North Texas State played against the Miners and Rams in the first games at both the Sun Bowl and Hughes Stadium.
  • The El Paso facility was originally designed to hold 30,000 spectators. The second deck on the press box was completed in 1969, and in 1982 extra seating was added. The present seating capacity is 51,500. New scoreboards and a video board were added in 2001, and a Matrix 46 playing surface was installed for the 2009 season.
  • In Fort Collins, the Bohemian Foundation in 2003 contributed  $15.2 million to the Colorado State athletic department. The majority of that gift was focused on improving the Rams' home, Hughes Stadium.
  • Over a three-year period, the facility received a spectacular new west tower, containing a club seating area, luxury suites and press box. CSU also enclosed the north end zone, increasing stadium capacity to 32,500.
  • The foundation insisted that the venue's playing surface receive a new name -- Sonny Lubick Field, after the legendary head coach that spurred the most successful run of bowl games and conference championships in program history.
  • The final phase of renovation focused on that surface itself. The field underwent a $1.33 million makeover prior to the 2006 season, when Colorado State installed FieldTurf, the revolutionary, rubberized surface used by several NFL and major-college venues across the country.

Capi still near the top: Nordly Capi, who has led the nation in sacks/game five times in seven weekends this season, has fallen to third:

 Rk Player Pos Cl Gm Solo Ast Yds Total PG
 1 Whitney Mercilus, Illinois DL JR 7 9 2 64 10.0 1.43
 2 Vinny Curry, Marshall DL SR 7 9 1 57 9.5 1.36
 3 Nordly Capi, Colorado St. DL SO 6 7 2 47 8.0 1.33
 4 Sean Porter, Texas A&M LB JR 6 7 1 59 7.5 1.25
 5 Frank Alexander, Oklahoma DL SR 6 6 1 40 6.5 1.08
 6 Andre Branch, Clemson DL SR 7 7 0 57 7.0 1.00
   Brett Roy, Nevada DL SR 6 6 0 20 6.0 1.00
 8 Sammy Brown, Houston LB SR 6 5 1 38 5.5 0.92
   David Niumatalolo, N.Mex. St. DL SR 6 5 1 25 5.5 0.92
   Chase Thomas, Stanford LB SR 6 4 3 52 5.5 0.92

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