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Colorado State running back Cecil Sapp squirms out of the reach of Louisville linebacker Jeromy Freitag. AP

Sapped

Bruising tailback leads Colorado State past Louisville

Thoughts of a high-octane shootout between the Mountain West and Conference USA champs were blown away by subzero wind chill in Memphis, so the Rams took to the ground. Led by tailback Cecil Sapp, Colorado State hammered away at the Cardinals defense and came away with a 22-17 Liberty Bowl victory.

LIBERTY BOWL HEADLINES
Dec 29 Colorado State holds off Louisville in frigid Memphis
Dec 29 Game Recap: Colorado St. at Louisville
Dec 27 Inside the MWC: After further review...
Dec 21 Inside C-USA: Bearcats give season a kick
Dec 20 Inside the MWC: No party in Vegas
Dec 18 Animated Playbooks: Colorado State Rams vs Louisville Cardinals


Louisville   Colorado State
 
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Record: 9-2, 6-1 C-USA
Coach: John L. Smith (third season, 23-12; 92-51 overall)
Key players: QB Dave Ragone (27 TDs, 11 INTs), WR Deion Branch (1,016 yards), S Anthony Floyd (10 interceptions)
Season summary:
That the Cardinals would lose record-setting QB Chris Redman and actually win Conference USA the following season seemed astounding beforehand. Though Ragone took over admirably and Branch emerged as an even more dangerous weapon than NCAA record-breaker Arnold Jackson, the real story of UL's success has been the defense. Floyd, Rashad Holman and the rest of the Cards lead the country in interceptions (27) keyed the current four-game win streak.
 
 
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Record: 9-2, 6-1 Mountain West Coach: Sonny Lubick (seventh season, 58-25; 79-44 overall)
Key players:
QB Matt Newton (2,405 yards, 19 TDs), RB Cecil Sapp (5.8 yards per carry), LB Rick Crowell (120 tackles)
Season summary:
Newton was so effective, he barely noticed the loss of star receiver Dallas Davis for the season. He began his year with four long touchdown bombs against Colorado and never looked back. But make no mistake, the heart of the Rams is their defense, which, led by Crowell, held seven opponents below 20 points. CSU's only defeats were to fellow bowl teams Arizona State and Air Force, the latter a 44-40 shootout in the snow at Colorado Springs.
 

   
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