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Updated: Saturday, November 23, 2002 12:04 PM EST
NCAA FOOTBALL PREVIEW
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New Mexico (6-5) at No. 15 Colorado St (9-2)
NEW MEXICO LOBOS
New Mexico Lobos
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COLORADO ST. RAMS
Colorado St. Rams
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FORT COLLINS, Colorado (Ticker) -- No. 15 Colorado State looks to capture its third outright Mountain West Conference title on Saturday when it hosts New Mexico.

A victory will send the Rams (9-2, 5-0) to the Liberty Bowl and give them their fourth 10-win season in school history. All have come under current coach Sonny Lubick, who has posted an 83-36 (.697) in his 10 seasons.

The Rams' previous 10-win campaigns came in 1994 (10-2), 1997 (11-2) and 2000 (10-2).

Colorado State routed San Diego State, 49-21, last week for its fifth straight win. The Rams amassed 533 total yards while giving up just 33 on the ground.

Cecil Sapp, who has seven 100-yard games this year, was held to 80, but moved within 117 yards of Colorado State's single-season school rushing record. Steve Bartalo ran for 1,419 yards in 11 games in 1986.

Bradlee Van Pelt excelled in the win over San Diego State, rushing for 93 yards and two touchdowns and passing for three more scores. Van Pelt also is a major threat in the backfield, having rushed for 707 yards, a school record for a quarterback.

Although a heavy underdog and barely over .500, New Mexico (6-5, 4-1) is just one game behind Colorado state and could be in position to secure the Liberty Bowl berth if it springs the upset this weekend.

After losing to Air Force in its conference opener, New Mexico has reeled off four straight conference wins for the first time since 1982. Last week, the Lobos posted a 20-16 triumph over Brigham Young for their first win in Provo in 31 years.

New Mexico held the Cougars to just 188 total yards - 94 rushing and 94 passing. BYU's Matt Berry completed just 9-of-26 passes for 81 yards and two interceptions.

New Mexico has faced only one ranked team this year, falling to then-No. 25 North Carolina State, 34-14, in its season opener.

If the Lobos win one of their last two games, they will have the distinction of being the only school in the nation to increase its win total every year since 1999. The Lobos won three games in 1998, four in 1999, five in 2000 and six last year.

Colorado State leads the all-time series, 29-20, and have won four straight, including a 41-17 victory in the 1997 Western Athletic Conference championship game. The Rams posted a 24-17 victory last year, intercepting Matt Kelly five times.


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