Football Game Notes: Colorado State vs. Nevada, Nov. 9




Nov. 4, 2013

FULL RELEASE IN PDF

THIS WEEK

Colorado State (4-5, 2-2) will host Nevada (3-6, 2-4) in Fort Collins Saturday for the first time since 2009 when the Rams defeated the Wolf Pack 35-20. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. MT and can be streamed for free on CSURams.com or TheMW.com on the Mountain West's new digital network.
 
The Rams are searching for their fifth win of the season, which would be the most since 2008 when CSU finished the year 7-6 with a victory in the New Mexico Bowl. Entering Saturday, CSU holds a 9-2 (.818) advantage in the series, which is the third highest winning percentage against any opponent the Rams have played at least eight times.



WHERE TO FIND THE GAME: Saturday's game between Colorado State and Nevada will be streamed on the Mountain West Network, which fans can find free of charge through CSURams.com or TheMW.com. Calling the game will be Rich Cellini (play-by-play) and Ted Sundquist (analyst). CSU fans can listen to the game on the Colorado State Radio Network with new Voice of the Rams Gary Miller alongside Brian Roth (analyst) and Kevin McGlue (sideline). On the airwaves, fans can listen to the game across the state on: KJAC-FM 105.5 ESPN, KREL-AM 1580 ESPN (Colorado Springs), KSIR-AM 1010 (Fort Morgan), KRFD-FM 94.5 (Sterling), and KNZZ-AM 1100 (Grand Junction).

NOTES IN 140 | #CSURamsNotes | #MWFB | #1TTD

#TEAM

  • Through nine games the Rams are averaging 187.2 rushing yards, the most since 2003 (190.8)
  • CSU is currently on pace for the 2nd-most avg. yards/game in program history with 440.3. In 1996, CSU set the bar with an average of 458.9 yards/game.
  • Against @BroncoSportFB CSU registered 35 first downs, a CSU record. The previous high was 33 set twice in 1992
  • The Rams ran 109 offensive plays vs. @BroncoSportFB, a program record and the second-most in Mountain West history.
  • Under @CoachMcElwain the Rams are 7-2 when leading at halftime and 8-1 with the lead after 3 quarters
  • .@CoachMcElwain picked up his first true road win of his coaching career after beating Wyoming 52-22 on Oct. 19
  • CSU won back-to-back road games (@WYO, @UH) in MW play for the first time since 2002 when the Rams defeated Utah, AFA & SDSU.
  • CSU is averaging 33.0 points per game in 2013. The last time the Rams averaged 30-plus points per game was in 1997 (36.6)
  • Last season the Rams only averaged 21.2 points per game but have seen a 56% increase to this season (33.0)
  • The Rams hung 50-plus points on UTEP (59) and Wyoming (52) this year. The last CSU team to score 50 points in two separate games was the 1997 Rams
  • 59 points vs. UTEP was the most since Oct. 4, 1997 when the Rams defeated Hawai'i 63-0. The 59 points ties for the ninth most in program history
  • Prior to 59-point outburst vs. UTEP the Rams hadn't scored 50-plus points since Oct. 8, 2003 at BYU, a span of 3,666 days.
  • Seven true freshmen have made their collegiate debut this season (Berk, Clyburn, Higgins, Lovingood, Schlager, Simmons, Williams)
  • The temperature was 98 degrees at kickoff in Tulsa (9/7), the hottest game the Rams have played since Sept. 16, 2000
  • Bama's Bryant-Denny Stadium (101,821) was sold out for the Sept. 21 contest vs. the Rams. It was the largest crowd to see a game featuring CSU
  • `Colorado State' was trending worldwide for 15 minutes as the Rams took on Alabama on Sept. 21

#OFFENSE

  • OC Weston Richburg, cand. for @outlandtrophy @rimingtontrophy & @lombardiaward, has graded out above 90% in all nine games
  • In those nine games, Richburg has accumulated 30 knockdown blocks, including 7 vs. Boise State on Nov. 2
  • SR RB Chris Nwoke ranks 10th all-time in CSU history with 2,400 rushing yards.
  • JR TE Kivon Cartwright became the first CSU player to score multiple receiving TDs in back-to-back games (UTEP & SJSU) since Paul Turner in 1995
  • Cartwright's six TDs are the most by a Ram pass-catcher since 2008 when Dion Morton had 10 and Kory Sperry had 6
  • SR TE Crockett Gillmore leads all MW TEs with 331 receiving yards, which also ranks 10th nationally among all FBS TEs
  • JR RB Donnell Alexander picked up 70 yards on his 2nd carry at UH before being tackled at the UH7. It is the 3rd longest non-scoring rush in CSU history
  • SO RB Kapri Bibbs has rushed for 836 yards, 5th best in #MWFB but his 5.5 avg/rush is 3rd in conference among RBs with 100-plus carries
  • Bibbs' 15 rushing touchdowns are most in the nation and most by a CSU rusher since Cecil Sapp in 2002 (17)
  • Bibbs set a career single-game high in rushing at Wyoming with 201 yards and three TDs and is one of 4 MW RBs to rush for 200-plus in `13
  • Bibbs tied Calvin Branch (1996) with most three-rushing-TD games in a single season with four
  • Bibbs has scored 3 rushing TDs in three-consecutive games, which hadn't been accomplished since Calvin Branch did it three consecutive games in `96
  • Bibbs is already 7th on the single season scoring list with 90 points through nine games, the most since Jeff Babcock (118) and Cecil Sapp (102) in 2002
  • CSU's offensive line starters have a combined 139 starts, which ranks tied for 11th in #NCAA according to @philsteele042
  • Against Boise State, JR QB Garrett Grayson threw for a career-high 397 yards, the 10th most in program history.
  • With Bradlee Van Pelt in attendance, Grayson broke BVP's single-game total offense record accumulating 445 total yards (397 pass, 48 rush)
  • Grayson has thrown 15 TDs, which ranks 31st in #NCAA, the most by a CSU QB since 2008 (Billy Farris - 19)
  • Grayson threw 3 TDs in three straight games (UTEP, SJSU, WYO), a feat that a Rams QB hasn't accomplished since Terry Nugent in 1982
  • FR WR Rashard Higgins had 10 receptions vs. BSU (11/2), setting a career high and tying a CSU freshman record
  • Higgins' 156 receiving yards vs. UTEP are the most by a freshman in CSU history and nationally the most by a freshman this season
  • WR Charles Lovett, who returned vs. SJSU after missing five games with knee injury, has a catch in 16 straight games in which he has played.
  • Lovett's last game without a catch was Nov. 19, 2011 at TCU

#DEFENSE

  • Shaquil Barrett's 14.5 TFL leads #MWFB and is tied for third most in the #NCAA while his average of 1.6 per game is ninth in the country
  • Barrett's sack total of 7.5 is tied for sixth in the country
  • Barrett's 13-tackle, 3-sack, 2-FF performance vs. UTEP earned him Bronko Nagurski Defensive POW honors, only the 2nd Ram to earn this award
  • Confirmed through research dating back to 1970, Barrett is the first Ram to block two kicks in one game
  • S Trent Matthews has picked off three passes this season, tying for the most by a Ram since 2009 and fifth most in #NCAA
  • S Kevin Pierre-Louis (vs. CU) and LB Max Morgan (at UH) racked up 15 total tackles in individual games, the 7th-most single-game tackles in #MWFB.
  • Pierre-Louis' 14 assisted tackles is the highest total since LB Ricky Brewer's 12 at Utah on 10/23/10
  • After allowing opponents to convert 48 percent of their third-down tries last season, the #CSURams have reduced the rate to 38 percent this year
  • DB Bernard Blake intercepted an A.J. McCarron pass in the third quarter. McCarron had only been picked five times in two seasons prior to that point
  • CSU's defense held @AlabamaFTBL to 66 yards rushing, the lowest total by the Crimson Tide since Oct. 9, 2010 (36)

#SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Freshman punter Hayden Hunt , who was added to @RayGuyAward watch list, downed four punts inside the 20-yard line at Hawai'i
  • WR/KR Thomas Coffman is 3rd in #MWFB with a kickoff return average of 25.0 yards and his long return of 84 yards is 2nd in MW
  • Coffman's kickoff return average ranks 25th in #NCAA
  • WR/PR Joe Hansley is one of three #MWFB players with a punt return TD. Hansley's 74-yard return is the 12th-longest nationally
  • DB/PR Tyree Simmons is averaging 11.5 yards per punt return, ranking third in #MWFB and 18th in #NCAA
  • The Rams are averaging 13.9 yards per punt return compared with a 9.5 average in 2012
  • Opponents avg. just 7.7 yards/punt return after averaging 12.0 a year ago, and 20.7 yards/kickoff return compared to 23.5 last year.
  • .@LouGrozaAward candidate Jared Roberts averages 1.3 FGs/game, 2nd in #MWFB and 34th nationally
  • Roberts' career field goal percentage of 87.5 percent is second among all active kickers
  • Shaquil Barrett earned MW Special Teams Player of the Week after blocking two Cal Poly field goals (9/14)
  • CSU is one of eight teams in the country to block multiple kicks in one game and is second in #NCAA with 3 blocks on the year

COLORADO FLOOD RECOGNITION
The Colorado State football team will continue to wear a helmet decal throughout the season symbolizing the floods with the state flag displayed within a raindrop, in recognition of flood victims as well as rescue and recovery personnel. Additionally, McElwain, his assistant coaches and support staff will also be wearing the decal on their clothing. The Rams first wore the decal on Sept. 21 at Alabama.

"This is no doubt a tremendous opportunity and a great challenge for our football program to play Alabama," he said.  "But at the same time, as The Colorado State University, it is not the most important thing we carry in our hearts.  We have had thousands of people across our state affected by the recent floods.  We are very thankful for everyone involved in rescue and recovery
efforts now taking place to assist those people affected by the flooding.  We want to be sure that every individual affected knows we carry them in our heart into this game.  We are proud to be The Colorado State University and carry the flag with us."

UNDERCLASSMEN RECORD WATCH
In his first season in the green and gold, redshirt-sophomore Kapri Bibbs is living up to the hype surrounding his recruitment. Bibbs leads the Rams with 152 rushing attempts for 836 yards and a nation-best 15 rushing touchdowns. The native of Plainfield, Ill., has already set a program record for most touchdowns as a sophomore and is moving closer to etching his name in more categories in the CSU record book.

POINTS: Currently Bibbs sits in 7th place for single-season points with 90. The redshirt-sophomore running back is only one point behind Derek Franz to move into a tie for sixth-place and 12 points away from cracking the top five. Calvin Branch holds the single-season record registering 132 points in 1996.
RUSHING TDs: Bibbs' 15 touchdowns not only leads the nation but is the fourth-best in program history for touchdowns in a single season. Bibbs needs two more rushing scores to tie Cecil Sapp for third-best single-season performance. Calvin Branch also holds the record with 21 rushing touchdowns in 1996.
SINGLE-SEASON RUSHING YARDS - SOPHOMORE: Bibbs is 453 yards away from setting the all-time rushing record in a single season by a sophomore. Bibbs needs to average 113.25 yards over the Rams' final four games to pass Kyle Bell, who set the record of 1,288 in 2005.
SINGLE-SEASON RUSHING YARDS: Bibbs needs to rush for an average of 73.5 yards in the next four games to secure a spot in the top-10 for single-season rushing yards.
SINGLE-SEASON RUSHING ATTEMPTS: If Bibbs can average 19 attempts per game to end the season, the redshirt-sophomore will enter the top-10 for most rushing attempts in a single season. He would pass Calvin Branch who ran the ball 228 times in 1996 for 10th all-time.

As a true freshman, wide receiver Rashard Higgins is proving he can be the playmaker the coaching staff hoped he would be. Higgins leads the Rams with 45 receptions for 555 yards and is second on the team with three receiving touchdowns. Like Bibbs, Higgins is an underclassman who will create problems for opposing teams for years to come and is already earning a spot in the CSU record book.

SINGLE-GAME RECEPTIONS: On Nov. 2 vs. Boise State, Higgins hauled in 10 receptions which was tied for the 10th most in a single game in CSU history.
SINGLE-GAME RECEPTIONS - FRESHMAN: Higgins' 10 receptions vs. the Broncos tied a CSU freshman record set in 1984 by Todd Tyrell vs. Wyoming.
SINGLE-GAME RECEIVING YARDS - FRESHMAN: Against UTEP on Sept. 28, Higgins set a CSU freshman single-game record when he registered 156 receiving yards.
SINGLE-SEASON RECEPTIONS: Higgins needs 15 more receptions this season to crack the CSU top-10 for receptions in a season. A CSU pass-catcher hasn't caught more than 60 balls in a season since Rashaun Green caught 63 in 2008.

AUTOMATIC
Rams JR K Jared Roberts, candidate for Lou Groza Award, has been a sensation in the kicking game since earning a scholarship before the 2012 season. The native of Littleton, Colo., earned a scholarship just a week prior to the season opener on Sept. 1, 2012 vs. Colorado and has been one of the most reliable kickers in program history. Roberts has made 21-24 (.875) career field goals, a percentage that is second in the nation among active kickers.

Roberts has only missed two field goal inside of 50 yards in his career. The junior kicker has made 40 consecutive PATs and earlier this season held the nation's second-longest consecutive made field goal streak at 14, a CSU record. Roberts is second in the Mountain West, and 34t nationally, averaging 1.3 field goals per game and is averaging 7.9 points per game, which is sixth-best in conference.

PICK YOUR POISON
Entering the season tight ends Crockett Gillmore and Kivon Cartwright were regarded as the top players in the Mountain West at their position. Through nine games they are demanding respect nationally.

Cartwright, who has hauled in 19 receptions for 312 yards, is 15th in the NCAA for receiving yards by a tight end and tied for 33rd among all pass-catchers with six receiving touchdowns. Among tight ends, Cartwright's six touchdowns are tied for second by a FBS tight end. The native of Pueblo, Colo., is second amongst all Mountain West tight ends with 312 receiving yards. In the Rams' last five games Cartwright has pulled in five touchdowns, including back-to-back games with two touchdowns (UTEP 9/28 and SJSU 10/12). He is the first Rams player to record multiple receiving touchdowns in back-to-back games since Paul Turner in 1995. Turner had two touchdowns on Sept. 16 at Air Force and two touchdowns on Sept. 30 vs. BYU.

The last time a Rams receiver had six or more touchdowns in a season was Dion Morton in 2008. Morton registered 10 receiving touchdowns on 51 receptions in 13 games.

Gillmore, a native of Bushland, Texas, didn't enter the season under-the-radar like Cartwright did. The 6-foot-6, 255-pound tight end was on the preseason watch list for the John Mackey Award, given annually to the nations best tight end. Gillmore is third on the team with 27 receptions but his 331 receiving yards is the most by a tight end in the Mountain West. Nationally it is a figure that ranks 10th among all FBS tight ends. Being the bigger of the two CSU tight ends, Gillmore finds himself in more blocking situations, an aspect of his game that has greatly improved and stats reflect that. CSU has only allowed 12 sacks on the year, which ranks 31st nationally.
In the middle of October, Cartwright and Gillmore were named to the John Mackey Award midseason watch list, an award given annually to the nation's top tight end. The Rams pass catchers were the only pair of teammates on the list, a feat only accomplished twice since 2006 (Stanford).

GROUND ATTACK
The Rams' offensive line features four seniors (Biard, Gragert, Haynes and Richburg) and one junior (Sambrailo) who have accounted for 139 total starts, tied for 11th most in the nation. This group continues to show improvement and it shows in the stats. The Rams are 31st nationally having only given up 12 sacks, an average of 1.3 per game and the running game has increased just over 45 percent from last season until now. The Rams ground attack is averaging 187.2 yards per game, the highest total since 2003 as the green and gold scampered for 190.8 yards per game.

In crucial situations, the Rams will run behind senior center Weston Richburg, who is a candidate for the Outland Trophy, Rimington Trophy and Rotary Lombardi Award. The senior center has graded out above 90 percent in all eight games and has recorded 30 knockdown blocks, including an impressive seven against Boise State on Nov. 2.

A SPECIAL UNIT
Colorado State's special teams units have improved dramatically in several statistical categories through nine games. The punt return and punt coverage units are most notable. The Rams are averaging 13.9 yards per return, which is 15th nationally and second in the Mountain West, compared with a 9.5 average in 2012. WR Joe Hansley averaged 30.7 yards on three returns with a long of 74 yards in Week 1, while CB Tyree Simmons has averaged 11.5 yards on nine returns with a long of 30 yards (vs. Cal Poly, 9/14). Simmons 11.5 average ranks 18th nationally and third in conference. Thomas Coffman received midseason recognition for his production on kickoff returns. Coffman, who was named to Phil Steele's All-Mountain West third team, averages 25.0 yards per return which is third in the conference and 25th in the NCAA. As a team, the Rams average 25.7 per kickoff return (first in MW, 10th in NCAA) and only allow their opponents to average 20.6 per return. Against Boise State on Nov. 2, Donnell Alexander returned his first kickoff of the season 61 yards before being brought down. This return was only Alexander's fourth of his career.

The Rams' punt coverage unit is also much improved. Opponents are averaging just 7.7 yards per punt return after averaging 12.0 a year ago.

ALL-AMERICAN
Senior LB Shaquil Barrett, a candidate for the Bronko Nagurski Award, was named to Phil Steele's midseason All-America third team and was the Mountain West's only defensive representative. Barrett has amassed 14.5 tackles for loss for the Rams, which ranks second in the Mountain West and tied for ninth nationally. Through nine games he has already surpassed his previous single-season best effort of 7.5 TFL set last year, and crushed his 2011 total of 4.5. Barrett now has 25.5 tackles for loss in 30 career games for the Rams.

The senior linebacker's 7.5 sacks ranks tied for third-most nationally. Barrett entered 2013 with more tackles in the last two seasons than any returning player in the Mountain West. The 2012 honorable mention All-Mountain West selection made 166 tackles in the 2011 and '12 seasons combined, as has scored three touchdowns in his two-plus seasons as a Ram after transfering from Nebraska-Omaha.

In the home-opener against Cal Poly (9/14), Barrett blocked two Mustangs field goals to earn Special Teams Player of the Week by the Mountain West. Confirmed through research dating back to 1970, the senior linebacker is the first Ram to block two kicks in one game. In a game at Falcon Stadium in 1990, Air Force's Carlton McDonald blocked two CSU punts and a PAT. Nationally, Barrett is the only player to block two kicks in one game nationally.

TACKLES FOR LOSS
Shaquil Barrett is no stranger to opponents backfields. The senior linebacker has racked up 14.5 tackles for loss through nine games, a total that is tied for third in the NCAA. The Colorado State record for single-season tackles for loss is 23.5 set by Mike Bell in 1977 and again in ` 78.

BLOCK PARTY
After Shaquil Barrett's two-block kick performance at home versus Cal Poly, CSU became one of eight teams nationally to block two or more kicks in a single game in 2013. On the year, the Rams have blocked three kicks (Barrett's two field goals and Danny Nwosu's punt block vs. Tulsa), which ranks tied for fifth nationally trailing Air Force, Kansas State, Minnesota and Rice (4 blocked kicks).

WEEKLY HONORS
Week 1 vs. Colorado - Sophomore WR/PR Joe Hansley, Punt Returner co-Performer of the Week by College Football Performance Awards
Week 3 vs. Cal Poly - Senior LB Shaquil Barrett, MW Special Teams Player of the Week; Senior TE Crockett Gillmore, Tight End co-Performer of the Week by College Football Performance Awards
Week 4 at Alabama - Junior K Jared Roberts, Kicker co-Performer of the Week by College Football Performance Awards
Week 5 vs. UTEP - Senior LB Shaquil Barrett, Bronko Nagurski National Defensive Player of the Week, CFPA National Defensive Performer of the Week, MW Defensive Player of the Week, National Football Foundation Colorado Chapter Player of the Week; Sophomore RB Kapri Bibbs, College Football Performance Awards honorable mention Running Back of the Week; Junior TE Kivon Cartwright, John Mackey Tight End of the Week; Freshman WR Rashard Higgins, College Football Performance Awards honorable mention Wide Receiver of the Week, Earl Campbell Tyler Rose honorable mention
Week 6 vs. SJSU - Junior TE Kivon Cartwright, CFPA Tight End Performer of the Week honorable mention; Senior TE Crockett Gillmore, CFPA Tight end Performer of the Week honorable mention
Week 7 at Wyoming - Sophomore RB Kapri Bibbs Helmet Sticker from ESPN's Mark May; College Football Performance Awards Running Back Performer of the Week honorable mention; National Football Foundation Colorado Chapter Player of the Week.
Week 8 at Hawai'i - Junior LB Max Morgan College Football Performance Awards Linebacker Performer of the Week honorable mention; National Football Foundation Colorado Chapter Player of the Week.
Week 9 vs. Boise State - RS-Sophomore RB Donnell Alexander College Football Performance Awards Kickoff Returner Performer of the Week.

WEEKLY CAPTAINS
Week 1 vs. Colorado - LB Shaquil Barrett, TE Kivon Cartwright, DB Trent Matthews and OL Weston Richburg
Week 2 at Tulsa - OL Jared Biard, DB Bernard Blake, LB Aaron Davis and TE Crockett Gillmore
Week 3 vs. Cal Poly - DL Eli Edwards, WR Austin Gray, OL Brandon Haynes and LB Max Morgan
Week 4 at Alabama - DB Shaq Bell, LS Tanner Hedstrom, RB Chris Nwoke and DL Curtis Wilson
Week 5 vs. UTEP - OL Jordan Gragert, TE Jake Levin, DB Kevin Pierre-Louis and K Jared Roberts
Week 6 vs. SJSU - LB Nu'uvali Fa'apito, QB Garrett Grayson, LB Cory James, OL Ty Sambrailo
Week 7 at Wyoming - LB Ken Hulbert, WR Charles Lovett, TE Joe McKay, LB Steven Michel
Week 8 at Hawai'i - LB Shaquil Barrett, TE Kivon Cartwright, DB Trent Matthews, OL Weston Richburg
Week 9 vs. Boise State - OL Jared Biard, LB Aaron Davis, TE Crockett Gillmore, LB Max Morgan

FIRST TIME IS A CHARM
This season CSU has had two pass catchers score touchdowns on their first career catch. At Tulsa (9/8), TE Joe McKay caught a two-yard touchdown pass from Garrett Grayson and last week at Wyoming Austin Gray, who spent his first two seasons with the green and gold at safety, caught a 22-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

SCORING OUTBURST
Through nine games the Rams have posted 297 points on the scoreboard, an average of 33.0 per game ranking 41st nationally, and a total that has increased 56 percent compared to last season's 21.2. The last season a Colorado State team averaged more than 30 points per game was in 1997. Over a 13-game span the 1997 Rams averaged 36.7 points per game. The Rams' high scoring average in 2013 is due to two games scoring 50-plus points (59 vs. UTEP 9/28, 52 at Wyoming 10/19). The last time a CSU team scored 50-plus points in multiple games was in 1997 when CSU hung 63 on Hawai'i and followed it up with a 55-point outburst vs. San Jose State.

Prior to this season, the Rams hadn't scored 50 points in a single game since Oct. 8, 2003 at BYU. Until the 59-point performance vs. UTEP, the Rams went 3,666 days between 50-point games and it only took 21 days for the Rams to put together another 50-point game.

THE MATCHUP

RAMS vs. WOLF PACK
All-time, overall: 9-2-0
All-time, in Reno: 3-2-0
All-time, in Fort Collins: 6-0-0
First official meeting: Oct. 19, 1974 in Fort Collins; CSU lost, 66-17
Last meeting: Sept. 11, 2010 in Reno: CSU lost 51-6
Last meeting in Fort Collins: Sept. 19, 2009 in Fort Collins; CSU won 35-20
 
Series streaks: Colorado State won the first eight meetings of the series before Nevada took two of the past three contests.
 
COACHES CAPSULES: CSU -- Jim McElwain: 8-13, second year overall as head coach
    BSU -- Brian Polian: 3-6, first year as head coach
Head-to-head: First meeting | Against opponent: McElwain first meeting vs. Nevada; Polian first meeting vs. CSU

  • A new era of Nevada football was ushered in on Jan. 11, 2013 with the hiring of Brian Polian to serve as the 25th head coach in the history of the Wolf Pack program.
  • Polian, 38, is one of the youngest head coaches at the FBS level and brings to Nevada an impressive football pedigree that includes coaching stops at Notre Dame, Stanford and Texas A&M as part of a 16-year coaching career.
  • Polian came to Nevada after a year as the special teams coordinator and tight ends coach for Kevin Sumlin at Texas A&M, which capped an 11-2 season in 2012 with a win over Oklahoma in the Cotton Bowl and an historic Heisman Trophy for then-freshman quarterback Johnny Manziel.
  • Polian has coached on both sides of the ball and earned a reputation as one of the top recruiters in the nation in previous coaching roles at Stanford (2010-11), Notre Dame (2005-09), UCF (2004) and Buffalo (2001-03).

    NOTABLE CONNECTIONS
  • Former teammates at Cerritos College, CSU's Eli Edwards and Nevada's Jake Peppard, will match up on Saturday.
  • Saturday's contest features to players from Cedar Hills, Texas, Rams senior OL Brandon Haynes and Wolf Pack freshman LB Travis Wilson.
  • Nevada Head Coach Brian Polian began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Nick Saban at Michigan State.
  • Defensive coordinator for the Wolf Pack Scottie Hazelton is from Brighton, Colo.

    NOTABLE PERFORMERS VS. NEVADA
  • When these teams last met in 2010, Shaq Bell recorded 10 solo stops.
  • Chris Nwoke rushed for 19 yards and registered one reception in 2010.
  • Crockett Gillmore, now starting tight end for the Rams, recorded two tackles vs. the Wolf Pack as he played defensive end.

`ONE TOWN, ONE TEAM, ONE DREAM'
During "Ram U," Colorado State's offseasons strength and conditioning program, senior linebacker Shaquil Barrett came up with the 2013-14 team slogan, "One Town, One Team, One Dream." Often referenced on social media with the hashtag #1TTD, it is a slogan the Rams and the community have embraced.

"`One Town, One Team, One Dream.' So when you see #1TTD, that's their affirmation. I think we are getting to the understanding that each one of us is responsible and as a team we are responsible for this town. We are responsible for this team, and each one of us has to carry that dream. That really hit me that, you know what, we're really heading in the right direction."
  - Head Coach Jim McElwain

PORTER JOINS STAFF
On July 31st Coach McElwain announced the addition of former CSU great and all-pro NFL linebacker Joey Porter as an undergraduate student assistant football coach at his alma mater.

"This is another example of reaching back into our past to help build our future at Colorado State," said McElwain. "It's an opportunity for him to complete his degree while he gains valuable experience with our coaching staff. We are proud to welcome one of the great Rams back to our campus, just as we welcome all of our former players to remain a part of the Rams football family."

Porter, who has 18 credits to complete before earning his degree, was as excited as McElwain.

"It feels great; I am definitely excited about the opportunity, excited that Coach Mac gave me the opportunity to come back and be a part of the CSU family. It's not like I never was when I left, but it's always good to come back and be here in Fort Collins.

Porter wants to get into coaching one day and CSU is a great place to get that start. The Super Bowl champion linebacker has a great deal of knowledge that he can pass on to current CSU athletes and he is determined to make them, not only better football players, but better young men.

MR. RELIABLE
Senior center Weston Richburg is not only one of the most decorated Rams on the roster, he is also the most experienced. The 6-4, 300-pounder from Bushland, Texas, has started all 44 games of his career. A preseason candidate for the Rimington Trophy, Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award for the second year in a row, Richburg is one of just three centers in the nation with 44 or more career starts, joining Utah State's Tyler Larsen (45) and Arkansas' Travis Swanson (45). He is tied for 14th in the nation among all players in career starts entering 2013.

FIVE RAMS ARE CSU GRADUATES
Guard Jordan Gragert, long-snapper Tanner Hedstrom, tight end Joe McKay, running back Chris Nwoke and center Weston Richburg are playing their final season for the Rams in 2013 after having graduated with bachelor's degrees this past spring or summer. Richburg (animal science) graduated after summer classes, while Gragert (sociology), Hedstrom (health & exercise science), McKay (liberal arts) and Nwoke (business administration) received their degrees in May.

NEW RADIO FLAGSHIP FOR RAMS IN 2013
The Colorado State Rams will have a new radio home in 2013 for football and men's and women's basketball, on 105.5 FM ESPN. A new play-by-play voice also joins the team this year, with veteran Denver television sportscaster Gary Miller behind the microphone, joined by long-time radio team member Brian Roth on color commentary. Roth is in his 15th year as part of the CSU football broadcast team, including the last three years in the play-by-play seat. In addition to its 105.5 flagship, the Rams Radio Network includes KREL 1580 AM ESPN in Colorado Springs and Pueblo; KSIR 1100 AM in Fort Morgan; KRFD 94.5 FM in Sterling and KNZZ 1100 AM in Grand Junction.

MENTAL CONDITIONING
Colorado State football is among a handful of programs to adopt a mental conditioning program. It is a program that McElwain became familiar with at Alabama and one that he thought would be criticial in bringing success to Fort Collins. Immediately, McElwain hired Dr. Lowell Wightman after meeting during a player academic meeting where the two discovered they shared a belief that shaping and changing a team culture requires the brain and body working together.

During the summer players go through a mental conditioning program and meet with top experts in this field. For the second consecutive year, McElwain invited Trevor Moawad, Vice President of Mindset Programs from Athlete's Performance, to come speak to his team. McElwain and Moawad met at Alabama and have since become friends.

FREE TUITION
On Saturday, Aug. 24, the Colorado State athletic department hosted its first annual RAMbunctious Pep Rally. This event was designed to get incoming freshmen at CSU excited about athletic events as part of Ram Welcome activities. During the event Andrew Schneeweis made a half court shot for a year's worth of tuition, paid for by head coaches Jim McElwain, Larry Eustachy (men's basketball), Tom Hilbert (volleyball), and Ryun Williams (women's basketball). The four had come up with the plan just days before the event.

"We're really excited we could be a part of something like that. Our students are such a big part of what we do, and we appreciate their support of our programs. To have all those new students come out and show their excitement last night was outstanding, and we as coaches wanted to do something to show our appreciation," McElwain said. "Andrew Showed he has what it takes to operate under pressure. We talk to our student-athletes all the time about rising to the occasion and responding in pressure situations, and what Andrew did last night speaks volumes about that very thing. It was incredible to see that shot go in."

ON SCHOLARSHIP
In 2012, just nine days before the Rocky Mountain Showdown, McElwain presented quarterback M.J. McPeek, running back Mark Woodbury and kicker Jared Roberts with scholarships. Their hard work in fall camp finally paid off.

This year, two more student-athletes were rewarded with scholarships after strong showings in fall camp. Tight End Joe McKay, a redshirt senior from Akron, Colo., and linebacker Ken Hulbert, a product of Highlands Ranch, Colo., Joe McKay, a redshirt senior first received the honor on Aug. 25.

McKay has played in 23 games for the Rams since 2011 and is a major contributer on special teams. In his career, McKay has registered seven tackles, two forced fumbles and a blocked punt.

Hulbert is another contributor on special teams. The junior linebacker has recorded two tackles in eight career games.

"These are two guys who have really earned it. They have worked their tails off and not only do we appreciate what they do, but our team recognizes these were two very deserving guys, as were other guys. It goes to show we do reward those guys who come here and work hard and earn it. There is a strong tradition here of walk-ons playing a strong role in the team's success and earning scholarships. We really value the hard work and commitment those walk-on players show, and recognize their importance to our team," McElwain said.

PACKED HOUSE
On Sept. 21 at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala., the Crimson Tide's home-opener vs. the Rams was sold out. With a capacity of 101,821, it marked the largest crowd a Colorado State team has ever played in front of.

RETURNING TALENT
The Rams return 19 starters in 2013, nine offensively, eight defensively and two from the special teams unit. Colorado State brings back 78 percent of its passing yardage, and 85.7 percent of its net rushing.

Quarterbacks Garrett Grayson and Conner Smith return after registering a combined nine starts in 2012. Grayson threw for 946 yards and Smith for 1,022. Running backs Donnell Alexander and Chris Nwoke both return after rushing for 587 and 570, respectively in 2012.

Defensively, the Rams return 100 percent of their interceptions, 92.8 percent of their forced fumbles, 78 percent of their sacks and 77.4 percent of tackles from 2012.

The Rams return the 2012 statistical team leader for every major offensive and defensive category.

THE NEWEST RAM
Head Coach Jim McElwain announced on Aug. 20 the addition of Jack Miller, a nine-year old from Louisville, Colo., who has been battling brain tumors for the past six years. Miller, who connected with the Rams through the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation, was given his own jersey with his name on the back and a "One Town, One Team, One Dream" wristband.

Miller, who met the team prior to the end of fall camp, was with the team before, during and after the Rocky Mountain Showdown, and Cal Poly. Miller is the first to greet the Rams as they get off the bus and the first Ram onto the field. Hanging inside of the Rams' locker room is a framed No. 1 jersey, the number given to Jack Miller before the season.

RAMS IN THE NFL
Colorado State has manufactured five current players playing in the National Football League. Joel Dreessen (Denver Broncos), Mike Brisiel (Oakland Raiders), Kory Sperry (Arizona Cardinals), Eric Pears (Buffalo Bills) and Shelley Smith (St. Louis Rams).

Jim McElwain RADIO SHOW
The Coors Light Jim McElwain Coach's Show will be hosted every Thursday at C.B. & Potts Restaurant and Brewery in Fort Collins at 6:30 p.m. For fans who can't make it in-person, the show will air on the new home of the CSU Rams Radio Network, FM 105.5 ESPN, as well as across the state on the network affiliates.

RAMS REPORT WITH @CoachMcElwain
The Rams Report with Coach McElwain airs every Thursday on Root Sports at 6 p.m. MT. Fans are encouraged to tune in and listen to Head Coach Jim McElwain recap the previous game and preview Colorado State's upcoming opponent. CSU fans also get a volleyball update from Tom Hilbert, head coach of the nationally ranked women's volleyball team.

WATCH PARTIES
The Colorado State athletics department will host official game-watch parties for all of the Rams' road football games in 2013. Taps Sports Bar & Grill will serve as the home for the Rams' watch parties, giving fans the chance to gather to watch their team play. Taps is located at 165 E. Boardwalk Drive in Fort Collins. While they gather to watch the games, fans also contribute to the well-being of CSU   student-athletes, as 10 percent of each bill goes back to the CSU Athletics general scholarship fund.


 

 

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