The time has come for Fort Collins to support CSU football.
This weekend is special for Colorado State University, as the school celebrates it's Homecoming with a 5k race, the Homecoming Parade and of course, CSU Rams football.
Colorado State (2-3) faces Mountain West foe San Jose State (2-3) in a contest Rams head coach Jim McElwain called pivotal.
“Very, very, very pivotal,” McElwain said of this Saturday's game. “I don't discount that at all. And yet, every game is a huge game because it's the next game. But in this case, first conference game, Homecoming, another chance for us to get a win going at our own place. I think all of those things are very important.”
The green and gold are quietly enjoying a solid start to the season, going 2-3 in nonconference play before their bye last week.
Quietly because so few fans, an average of just over 16,000 per, have witnessed CSU play some very good football at home.
In the team's first win of the season, a 34-17 victory over Cal Poly, Colorado State started hot offensively and controlled the game throughout. Quarterback Garrett Grayson made the game look easy, connecting with Rashard Higgins and Kivon Cartwright for passing touchdowns, while Shaquil Barrett was beastly on special teams, blocking two field goals.
Two weeks ago, CSU's 59-42 blowout of the UTEP Aggies was the Rams most complete game ever played under McElwain. They ran out to a 28-7 halftime lead, scoring on the ground, through the air and even on a fake field goal. UTEP battled back, scoring 21 straight points to tie it up in the third quarter, but Barrett's big-time back-to-back sacks switched the momentum back into CSU's favor. Kapri Bibbs ran for career-highs with three touchdowns and 147 yards and Grayson threw for over 300 yards for the first time in his collegiate career.
It was the best offensive out-put seen in Northern Colorado in over a decade. It was also the first time Coach Mac's team fought through adversity – losing their big lead and losing Bernard Blake to injury – in his tenure.
It's a positive sign things are coming together, and at the right time.
“I do think we have come a long ways and learned some valuable lessons in this first part (of the season),” McElwain explained. “Now, how we go into conference and then the back of conference is how you break it up. And it's very important we get out to a great start, at home.”
The win over UTEP marked CSU's fifth straight inside the friendly confines of Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium, yet, Fort Collins forgets to get to games.
“I thought the fans that were there (against UTEP) were great. I thought they were into it. Look forward to get more students there as we create a little buzz ourselves. Our guys are playing right now inspired football. Something that people that are at the games see and respect.”
So, what are you waiting for, Fort Collins?
Your Rams need you to provide some noise, an added lift for home field advantage. And it's Homecoming weekend, meaning a bigger and better tailgate than usual, an extra reason to attend the game.
The green and gold has been working diligently to improve, to grow together as a team and provide entertainment on the football field. Now it's all coming together for CSU; don't you want to be part of the fun?
CSU – SJSU kicks off at 1:30 inside Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. Homecoming tailgating starts at 10:30 Saturday morning.
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Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist. Follow Rich on Twitter (@RichKurtzman) for all your CSU Rams news and opinion.