On Saturday, The Colorado State Rams face off with their other in-state rival, the University of Northern Colorado Bears.
The two teams last met in 2011, a 33-14 Rams win. The Bears are currently 2-0. The Rams, 1-1.
Recent history has not been very kind to the UNC football program. The team has won just 17 of 68 games in the six-years that head coach Earnest Collins has been at the helm, but the CSU coaches certainly think the team is on the up.
“These guys (UNC) are gonna come ready to play,” Bobo said. “That’s a confident group right now that’s gonna come in and they are gonna expect to play well and expect to win.”
“This is a really good football team, I mean they are putting up about 55 points a game,” defensive coordinator Marty English said. “It’s probably as good as football team as we have seen so far. Period.”
The Bears might be an easy team to pencil in as a win on the schedule because of their classification. UNC competes at the Division One Football Championship Subdivision level (FCS), one step below the big guns of the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS).
The “Showdown of Northern Colorado,” certainly might not carry the same clout as the Rocky Mountain Showdown, but the challenge of this CSU team is to treat this game the exact same way going in. They can’t afford not too.
“We got a long way to go, and for us to even act like we (can just) show up, we will be sadly mistaken. We will be embarrassed,” Bobo said.
The coach knows that his team is nowhere near penciling any opposing team on the schedule in as a win, they have far too many questions marks on their own team to deal with. Especially their inability to complete a pass. Bobo expects the Bears to stack the box and make the Rams throw it, and if they can’t, it could be another long day for the team.
This week, there is a heavy emphasis on what kind of team UNC is bringing in, and how the Rams need to respond. They expect UNC to come into Hughes expecting to win the game, regardless of who the more talented and established team is. For all UNC cares, they are the more talented team right now.
Last week, when starting quarterback Jacob Knipp left early in the game with a shoulder injury, all backup quarterback Kyle Sloter did when he entered the game is throw for 408 yards and six touchdowns. As a whole, the team is averaging 55 points and 574 yards of offense per game.
“It doesn’t matter who you play,” linebacker Kevin Davis said. “When they put up numbers like that you have to take them seriously.”
Bobo also expects the UNC team to come in with an extra chip on their shoulder.
There is certainly a number of Colorado kids, and even out-of-state kids who might feel slighted by not being recruited by CSU. Bobo said he was sure that plenty of the talk on the UNC team this week will center around respect. Mostly, that Colorado State has none to give to them.
Bobo is not ready to oblige them on that.
“I promise you as coaches, and as players (we) will respect our opponent,” Bobo said. “You respect everybody you play and you turn on the tape and you are gonna watch these guys. Offensively they are very, very dangerous. They are producing and that gives them confidence. Right now we have no confidence offensively.”
Even though UNC might think that the Rams are overlooking them heading into this week, at CSU, that is not the case. Maybe if the Rams had started the season off a little bit better than they did, there might be even more merit to that argument. But, for now, it is business as usual for CSU.
“They have done some good things the last two weeks,” defensive lineman Jakob Buys said. “Really we can’t look past that. That offense is going to come ready to play and we can not allow that. Even though they are in the Big Sky, we can’t look past that.”
Collegian sports reporter Eric Wolf can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Eric_Wolf5