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Sports / Recreation

2010 Rams Football schedule

March 29, 2010

Like a couple of outlaws in the Old West, the CU Buffs and CSU Rams will return to Denver and meet at noon on Saturday, Sept. 4, at Invesco Field at Mile High. That season-opening intrastate showdown, along with Fort Collins games against BYU and TCU -- two of the nation's top 12 teams in the final 2009 polls -- highlight the 2010 Colorado State football schedule, released Monday by the Mountain West Conference.

Ag Day Fort Collins opener against Idaho Sept. 25

The Rams also host an Ag Day Fort Collins opener against Idaho (Sept. 25), which successfully converted a two-point attempt to secure a last-second win at the Dec. 30 Humanitarian Bowl, 43-42.

This year marks the second straight season in which a Mountain West BCS bowl team comes to Fort Collins.

Utah made the visit in 2009, after its triumph in the Allstate Sugar Bowl over Alabama, and TCU makes the trek in 2010, after meeting Boise State in the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl.

The Mountain West waits to release the full football schedule every spring until the majority of dates, kickoff times and television broadcasts are established. The only remaining kickoff times CSU currently awaits are its two non-conference road games, at Nevada (Sept. 11) and Miami, Ohio (Sept. 18). Television coverage for those two contests also is pending.

Play entire season without a break

The Rams will need that depth at offensive line and other positions, because they’ll play the entire season without a break. They play for 12 consecutive weeks, from Sept. 4-Nov. 20.

The last time the Rams played an entire season without a bye was 1998. That year, the team opened ranked 15th in the national polls and went 8-4. But unlike 2010, that season CSU had a small break between a Thursday night game at Air Force and a Saturday contest vs. UNLV nine days later.

Every game on Saturday

For the first time in 14 years, CSU will play every game on a Saturday. The last time the Rams did that was 1996, when they went 7-5.

Television exposure

While television for two contests, the road trips at Nevada and Miami, are pending, the Rams know that nine of their 12 games will be televised by The Mtn., all in HD.

The Mtn. is available nationally on DirecTV (Channel 616). Officials also are working to increase national exposure on Comcast cable outlets. CSU is among the most televised schools in the nation. Since the beginning of 2000, when the Rams finished Nov. 14 in the final polls, networks have aired CSU in 82 percent of its games.

Schedule at a glance

Sept. 4 vs. CU (Denver): After last year's resounding 23-17 triumph in Boulder, CSU can join the 1915-1916, 1925-1927, 1948-1949 and 1999-2000 teams with a second straight win over CU when the teams renew their nationally prominent rivalry – which began in 1893 – at Invesco Field, home of the Denver Broncos. The Rams and Buffs have split their last four meetings.

On Aug. 31, the institutions agreed to a 10-year extension of their series, through 2020. As part of that extension, the 2010-19 games will be played in Denver. CSU is the designated home team for Denver contests in 2010, 2013, 2015 and 2018, and in 2020, when the contest is scheduled to return to Fort Collins.

Sept. 11 at Nevada (Reno): In Week 2, the Rams head to Reno, Nev., to meet the Wolf Pack, one of seven 2009 bowl teams on the Rams’ slate this year (also Idaho, TCU, BYU, Utah, Air Force and Wyoming). Following CSU’s 35-20 triumph over Nevada last season in Fort Collins, the Wolf Pack won eight of its final 10 regular-season games to earn a berth in the Hawaii Bowl. CSU’s last trip to Reno, in 2006, marked the Rams’ only loss to the Wolf Pack in 10 all-time meetings.

Sept. 18 at Miami (Oxford, Ohio): CSU then makes its first-ever trip to Oxford, Ohio, to meet the Miami Redhawks. It’s the Rams’ third-ever venture into the state, where CSU bids for its first win after losses at Xavier in 1956 and Toldeo in 1970. CSU and Miami have met just once previously, Sept. 20, 2003, when future two-time Super Bowl champion Ben Roethlisberger threw for 330 yards and two scores in a 41-21 win at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. Miami’s other three non-conference opponents are Florida, Missouri and Cincinnati.

The Rams must play away from Fort Collins in the season’s first three weeks, something they were able to overcome the last time that happened, in 2002, CSU’s last conference championship. That year, CSU toppled No. 22 Virginia on the road and beat No. 7 CU in Denver before falling at UCLA. The Rams then beat Louisville in their home opener, en route to a 10-4 Liberty Bowl season.

Sept. 25 vs. Idaho (Fort Collins): CSU’s Fort Collins opener against Idaho, the annual Ag Day celebration, marks the latest Hughes Stadium opener since 1998, the Rams’ final year in the Western Athletic Conference. That season, CSU knocked off No. 23 Michigan State in East Lansing, lost to CU at Mile High Stadium, and didn’t play in Fort Collins until after a pair of road games, at Nevada and Air Force, over a six-day stretch. The Rams, which finished the year 8-4, finally opened Hughes on Sept. 26 with a win over UNLV. This year, CSU bids to avenge a 31-29 road loss to the Vandals last season.

Oct. 2 vs. TCU (Fort Collins): In 2008, the last time TCU came to Fort Collins, the Horned Frogs escaped with a 13-6 win, a game dominated by defense, a loss in which the Rams dropped two sure touchdowns. TCU used the win to springboard into the national rankings en route to a Poinsettia Bowl victory over undefeated Boise State. Andy Dalton enters 2010 with 29 career victories, most in the nation among active QBs.

Oct. 9 at Air Force (Colorado Springs, Colo.): The Rams hope to halt a four-year losing slide to the Falcons, CSU’s longest series streak in two decades. CSU looks for its first win at Falcon Stadium since 2002.

Oct. 16 vs. UNLV (Fort Collins): The Rebels in 2009 snapped CSU’s six-game winning streak over UNLV. The Rams still have won 12 of the last 14, including three straight at home.

Oct. 23 at Utah (Salt Lake City, Utah): The Rams bid for a win at Rice-Eccles Stadium for the first time since 2002, after nearly upsetting the perennial BCS contenders in a 24-17 Fort Collins loss last season. Depending on several factors, the game could feature a pair of quarterbacks who graduated high school one semester early to compete at spring practice for their school’s starting job, Utah’s Jordan Wynn and CSU’s Pete Thomas.

Oct. 30 vs. New Mexico (Fort Collins): Second-year Lobos head coach Mike Locksley makes his first trip to Fort Collins. Three of the last four meetings in the series have been decided on a last-second field goal, and CSU has lost each one. The Rams’ only win in that four-year stretch, an impressive 20-6 triumph in 2008, was New Mexico’s last trip to Fort Collins.

Nov. 6 at San Diego State (San Diego, Calif.): In a homecoming for several Rams with San Diego ties, including Head Coach Steve Fairchild, CSU returns to a stadium where it has won six of its last seven road games against the Aztecs, including 2008.

Nov. 13 vs. BYU (Fort Collins):
CSU welcomes to the other side of the Rockies the Cougars, who blasted No. 18 Oregon State in their MAACO Bowl Las Vegas meeting. The Rams’ last win over BYU was a 58-13 contest on the road in 2003, while CSU’s last home victory over BYU was a 37-10 final in 2002. The last time these two teams met at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, the Cougars edged the Rams, 45-42, after a last-minute TD drive engineered by Max Hall, who graduated after starting this game since 2007. On that occasion in 2008, former Ram Joey Porter and future NFL player Gartrell Johnson chest bumped after a Johnson touchdown, drawing a 15-yard penalty.

Nov. 20 at Wyoming (Laramie, Wyo.): For the fourth straight year, the Rams close the regular season with Wyoming, who won last year’s meeting in Fort Collins, 17-16, to punch a ticket to a bowl. It’s the first time CSU alum Dan Hammerschmidt, hired Dec. 29 by the Rams as wide receivers coach and passing game coordinator, will meet the team for which he coached in 2009. CSU needs a win to avoid its first losing streak against the Cowboys since 1987-89. After punching their own ticket to a bowl with a triumph at Wyoming in 2008, the Rams have won six of their last eight trips to Laramie, dating to 1993.

Contact: Zak Gilbert
Phone: (970) 491-5067