Saturday’s game at Hughes Stadium will be the last time 26 seniors at Colorado State (4-5, 2-3 Mountain West) will represent the green and gold in front of their home fans. Those seniors, along with the rest of the team, are hungry for their opportunity to put on a show against UNLV (3-6, 2-3 MW).
Head coach Mike Bobo, being a former quarterback at Georgia and a man who has been involved with football most of his life, knows what it is like to play in a senior game, as well as the difficulties that come along with it.
“It’s a tough day,” Bobo said. “I always worried when I was an assistant about senior day because it’s a long, drawn out process before the game and your mind sometimes is not in the game. Their families are here and I want their families to be here and to be able to experience that moment, but I keep encouraging these guys to take care of stuff on the front end.”
He will not need to tell his players that twice, either. Coming out of Hughes for the final time with a win would mean everything to this group of seniors.
“I just don’t want to lose in my last game at Hughes, that’s really all it is,” senior wide receiver Joe Hansley said. “There’s a lot of implications on this game as far as bowl games this year but just from a senior stand point I don’t want to have the memory of losing the last game at Hughes.”
Hansley also commented on what his coach has done to prepare him for his final home game.
“He just talked about how it is going to be your last game at Hughes and how special it is going to be and how cool it is, but at the same time you don’t want to walk off the field as a loser your last game,” Hansley said. “He just basically told us to enjoy it and have it be a happy moment but at the same time prepare like you’re going to win a game.”
Aside from adding a memory of another victory, many players also have family coming to watch from out of state, adding to the importance of the game.
“It’s actually my mom’s first time seeing me play football since little league,” senior safety Kevin Pierre-Louis said. “My mom and dad travel so it’s going to be very emotional for me, man, knowing that my mom is out there watching me for the first time and knowing that it’s my last time playing at Hughes stadium.”
For some of the seniors, the fact that it is almost over has not quite sunk it.
“It hasn’t hit me yet honestly but I’m sure once I walk through the tunnel I will kind of reflect on how many coaches I’ve been through, players that I’ve played with that are not here or that are here with me and I’m sure it will hit me at that time,” senior defensive lineman SteveO Michel said.
One thing that all of the players seem to have in common though, is that the one thing they will all miss the most is the camaraderie and friendships within the team. The players will miss the ‘locker room’, as they put it.
“We talk about that a lot – what we will miss the most – and we always bring up the locker room,” Michel said. “The people that you create a bond with for four years, … we always talk about how we enjoy the locker room and we will miss those moments.”
Most of the seniors have been around long enough to experience a 4-8 season and multiple head coaches, and have stood by each others’ side the entire time.
“We want to see each other’s families and stuff, see what kind of path each of us takes and I think we will be here for each other, it will be sad but that is the route we’ve got to go,” Michel said. “We will be in touch.”
Collegian Football Reporter Geoff Huebner can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Huebnermedia93.