Mike Bobo, the first-year football coach at Colorado State, has never been to Bulldog Stadium, but did some research on what the atmosphere is like there.
“Been a tough place to play (the past several years),” he said this week, ahead of Saturday’s regular-season finale against Fresno State. “We got our work cut out for us against a team that it’s going to be Senior Day for them. They’re not bowl eligible, but I know they’re going to be ready to play and want to send their seniors out on the right note.”
Colorado State leads the series 7-6, including 3-4 at Bulldog Stadium. From 1992-99, both were members of the Western Athletic Conference when the Rams won four of the six meetings.
They last met in 2012, the Bulldogs’ first season in the Mountain West Conference, with Fresno State winning 28-7.
I see a team that is athletic on defense that is going to present some problems.
Colorado State coach Mike Bobo on Fresno State
Bobo is guarding against a letdown after Colorado State became bowl eligible with last week’s 28-21 victory over New Mexico.
“This season hasn’t gone the way they wanted,” he said of the Bulldogs. “I see a team that is athletic on defense that is going to present some problems, and they’re a 3-4 team so we’ve got to go back planning against a 3-4 team.”
Local factor – Former Clovis North standout Josh Lovingood has started six games at left defensive end for the Rams.
The 6-foot-4, 290-pound sophomore’s last start came against San Diego State on Oct. 31. He is listed as the backup behind senior Martavius Foster on the depth chart this week.
For the season, Lovingood has 15 tackles, including one for a loss, and one pass breakup. He recovered a fumble and had a season-high four tackles against Minnesota on Sept. 12.
Rams sophomore defensive back Kevin Nutt Jr. (Edison) has played in 10 games and has three tackles.
Colorado State freshman fullback Adam Prentice (Clovis) and freshman quarterback J.C. Robles (El Diamante) haven’t played this season.
First-year wonders – Bobo became the second Rams coach to lead a team to bowl eligibility in his first season, joining Steve Fairchild (2008).
A victory against Fresno State or in a potential bowl game would guarantee a winning season, but victories in both would give him the most wins by a first-year Colorado State coach.
Only three Rams coaches have posted winning records during their first season: Julius Wagner (4-3 in 1942), Bob Davis (5-4-1 in 1947) and Fairchild (7-6 in 2008).
Et cetera – Colorado State junior receiver Rashard Higgins set the program’s career receptions record, passing David Anderson (223) early in the second quarter last week against New Mexico. Higgins has 229 receptions and 31 touchdown catches and trails Anderson’s receiving yards record by 139.
▪ The Rams, 3-1 this season on the road, have won nine of their past 13 games away from Fort Collins. It marks the program’s best stretch since winning 9 of 13 in 2001-03. Before this stretch, Colorado State had lost 10 road games in a row and 21 of 22.
▪ The Rams are 4-0 this season when they have a plus-turnover margin. Twice, Colorado State has played turnover-free ball – at Texas-San Antonio (a 33-31 win on Sept. 26) and last week at New Mexico.
▪ Colorado State has scored on its first possession five times this season, including each of its past three games. The Rams have won all five games and are outscoring opponents 123-61 in the first quarter, trailing just once.
▪ Junior punter Hayden Hunt was named this week as one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award, presented to college football’s most outstanding punter. He ranks fifth nationally while averaging 46.3 yards per punt. “He’s probably the best punter that I’ve ever seen,” Bobo said. “The impact that he has to flip the field has been a huge weapon, and he’s so unselfish.”
FRESNO STATE VS. COLORADO STATE
- Saturday: 6 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium
- Records: Bulldogs 3-8, 2-5 MW; Rams 6-5, 4-3
- TV: CBS Sports Network (Comcast 418)
- Radio: KFIG (AM 940), KGST (AM 1600)
- Series: Rams lead 7-6