There’s never time to sulk in football. The ability to forget a loss is important for the team to move on and try to take the next game. With four games left in the season, the Rams still have a lot to play for and that means forgetting about the loss against Boise State to prepare themselves mentally for the remainder of the season.
The Rams need to win three of their final four games in order to make it to a bowl game for the first time since 2008. As much as the Boise State loss hurt, that game now serves as another learning moment for the Rams (4-5, 2-2 MW) as they prepare to take on Nevada (3-6, 2-4 MW) Saturday at Hughes Stadium.
“That’s all football is, is having a short memory and forgetting about mistakes,” center Weston Richburg said. “Yeah there were some good things that we did in the (Boise State) game and some things you want to work on and that’s what we have to do this week in practice is really look back on some things we want to take back, really work on that technique, or whatever it may be, and really try to correct that so when it comes to Saturday, those mistakes don’t happen again.”
One mistake that has haunted the Rams this season is giving up big plays. While the secondary has taken most of the heat, the entire team understands everyone is responsible for the outcome of a game.
“I think everybody’s just looking forward to the next game,” defensive lineman Joe Kawulok said. “We know what we have to do, we’re a big family, (and) everyone’s encouraging each other.”
The Rams will face a Nevada team that can attack opposing defenses in multiple ways with duel-threat quarterback, junior Cody Fajardo.
While Nevada sits at a 3-6 record, Fajardo has been one of the most accurate quarterbacks in the nation. He is ranked seventh in the nation in career completion percentage and fourteenth in career rushing touchdowns (28) among active players.
The Rams have been inconsistent this season against dual-threat quarterbacks. In their homecoming loss vs. San Jose State, the Rams were able to contain quarterback David Fales from running all over them but he threw for 431 yards and three touchdowns, each one going for more than 60 yards. One week later in the Border War against Wyoming, Brett Smith, who had rushed for 420 yards before facing the Rams, was held to 12 yards rushing and was sacked three times.
Fajardo will present the Rams with another challenge but for head coach Jim McElwain, Saturday gives his team another chance to work towards crossing the line from good to great and using what they learned from the Boise loss towards creating better results moving forward.
“You’ve got this fine line, I mean it’s just so little from good to great and what is that?” McElwain said. “Part of that is an attack mode mentality, but part of that also is, there comes a time when you’ve got to put down on paper your beliefs, you’ve got to put down on paper where you’re at and take it from the faith, the thought, the belief to tangible evidence.”
The Rams are set to kickoff against Nevada at 1:30 pm. MT on Saturday at Hughes Stadium.
Football Beat Reporter Katie O’Keefe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.