Stage Set for Showdown : Colorado State Doesn’t Let Up and Routs UTEP, 47-9
Colorado State Coach Sonny Lubick was concerned his No. 13-ranked Rams would take Texas El Paso lightly while looking ahead to next weekend’s big showdown with No. 21 Utah.
He also feared his team might come out flat after last weekend’s 21-16 upset of Arizona.
Lubick could have saved himself the worry. Anthoney Hill threw for two touchdowns and E.J. Watson scored twice on short runs as the Rams defeated UTEP, 47-9, on Saturday.
The Rams, 7-0 overall and 5-0 in the Western Athletic Conference, racked up 585 yards and throttled UTEP’s budding ground game, permitting Toraino Singleton only 27 rushing yards, 98 less than average.
“Going into the game, I had talked to the team about guarding against a letdown,” Lubick said. “But that wasn’t a problem.”
“We concentrated a whole bunch this week on this team. We knew we had to beat this team to go on to the next week,” said Jeremy Burkett, who caught a touchdown pass from Hill and gained 51 yards on two reverses.
Lubick was pleased the Rams had no turnovers, controlled the line of scrimmage and gave Hill time to pass.
“It was the first time we kind of had an easier time winning the game,” Lubick said. “We had to play almost everyone that suited up.”
UTEP Coach Charlie Bailey said, “We couldn’t get anything going on offense. They whipped us up front basically. And their little quarterback, he made some big plays.”
UTEP quarterback Shawn Gray said the wet playing field--it drizzled much of the game--made it hard for his receivers and Singleton to make their cuts. But he said Colorado State’s blitzing defense left no holes to run through, either.
Hill said beating UTEP allows Colorado State another week to think about a possible undefeated season.
“Not very many teams win all their games, and hopefully we’re headed that way,” he said.
David Napier added three field goals and the defense came up with two safeties, including one on the opening kickoff.
Steve Standifer set the game’s tone when he tackled UTEP’s Sam Rogers in the end zone on the opening kickoff for a safety.
Then Hill connected on 13 of 28 passes for 223 yards and two touchdowns--a 13-yard pass to Burkett and a three-yard toss to Steve Hodge, both in the first half. He led the Rams on first-half scoring drives that produced three touchdowns, a pair of field goals and a 28-3 lead.
Marshall Young’s 40-yard field goal with 35 seconds remaining in the half provided the first points for the Miners (3-4, 1-3), but they did not score again until Cedric Johnson blocked Matt McDougal’s punt and ran it in from the three with 10:33 remaining.
In the third quarter, Watson scored his second touchdown after Raymond Jackson picked off Gray’s pass at the UTEP 42.
The Rams scored in four plays.
After Napier’s third field goal, Colorado State scored again on a 47-yard run by Renard Carn. A holding penalty nullified Greg Myers’ 72-yard punt return.
Colorado State got its second safety when Craig Mock sacked Gray in the end zone with 3:22 left in the game.