On Sunday afternoon, the CSU football team’s dreams came true. CSU athletics announced at the Fum McGraw Athletics Center that the Rams will play in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl game at noon on Dec. 21 against the Washington State Cougars (6-6).
“It’s going to be a good opponent,” senior center Weston Richburg said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun playing against a big-time team like that.”
After five years of losing seasons, the Rams (7-6) have finally earned the invitation to play in a bowl game. For 15 graduating seniors, it means they get to play another day in a CSU uniform.
“As a senior class, that’s the mark we wanted to leave,” Richburg said. “But getting to it is one thing –– we want to go out and win the game.”
The announcement was emotional for head coach Jim McElwain, who flipped a 3-9 football team to a bowl contender in two short years.
“Head Coach Jim McElwain is building something special in Fort Collins and we are very happy to be able to bring the Rams to New Mexico,” said Jeff Siembieda, Gildan New Mexico Bowl Executive Director in an article on the Gildan website. “This is a dynamic, fun team with a tremendous fan base who has been very clear: they want to be in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. People around the country and here in Albuquerque are going to love watching the Rams help kick off the bowl season.”
The Rams will play in the New Mexico Bowl for the second time. They beat the Fresno State Bulldogs 40-35 in 2008 –– their last bowl appearance.
“It’s just exciting to be able to play with the group of guys on this team again,” senior linebacker Shaquil Barrett said. “The way we are able to play on the field is because of the relationships we hav and I just want to thank everyone who played a role in this bowl-game situation.”
Football Beat Reporter Cali Rastrelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @c_rasta5.