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Sunday, October 5, 2003
Van Pelt's running leads Rams past Fresno


FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- For most of Bradlee Van Pelt's career, Colorado State coaches have been urging their multi-talented quarterback to stay in the pocket and think pass first.

In recent weeks, however, they've been encouraging him to run more.

On Saturday, you could see why. Van Pelt ran for 154 yards to spark the Rams to a 34-10 win over Fresno State.

Van Pelt had runs of 31, 19, 36 and 27 yards -- two of them on scrambles -- to help Colorado State (3-3) score on five straight possessions and snap a two-game losing streak.

Van Pelt laughed at the recent turn of events.

"They've been trying to get me to run," he said. "I said, `You're the ones that trained me to sit in the pocket and look.'

"I don't know if my running opened up the whole offense. It just helped. They had to start respecting me. When I'm running, it adds another element to our offensive scheme."

Van Pelt completed 17 of 28 passes for 197 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions, but it was his legs that did the most damage.

"His running was what really hurt us," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said. "He does a great job of breaking tackles. He made a lot of plays we couldn't stop."

Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick said he had a heart-to-heart talk with Van Pelt earlier in the week, asking him to be more aware of his running opportunities.

"He finally listened to me," Lubick said. "I told him to quit thinking you are a quarterback all the time and run the ball once in a while.

"He was back there a number of times where there was nothing open, he saw a little crease and he turned it into a 31-yard gain or whatever. That really helps the offense. You get a long play like that and it changes field position.

"It's hard to score a touchdown when you have to go 70 yards at 4 yards a crack. You have to have an explosive play in there. He had a complete game."

After losses to Miami of Ohio and Utah, Lubick said his team "finally came out and played like a real football team. We were looking for that the last month. We beat them in all three phases. That's as good as we've played all year long."

Marcus Houston, who had a critical fumble in the closing minutes of last week's 28-21 loss to Utah, ran for two touchdowns and caught one of Van Pelt's TD throws.

"You've got to put things behind you," Houston said. "I think as a team we were able to put the loss last week behind us.

"This was a necessary win, and we came out and got it today."

Fresno State (3-3) got its lone touchdown late in the third quarter when wide receiver Bernard Berrian ran 51 yards with a lateral.

Van Pelt's 31-yard scramble set up his 7-yard scoring pass to David Anderson late in the first half, capping a 96-yard drive and giving the Rams a 10-3 lead.

Van Pelt had a 19-yard run and a 14-yard scramble on the Rams' first series of the third quarter, setting up his 5-yard TD throw to Houston.

He scrambled 36 yards on the next series prior to Houston's 2-yard scoring run for a 24-3 lead.

After Berrian's score, Colorado State's Jeff Babcock kicked a 39-yard field goal.

Early in the fourth quarter, Van Pelt bolted for 27 yards. Three plays later, Houston scored on a 3-yard run.

Fresno's Paul Pinegar replaced starting quarterback Jeff Grady late in the first half. It was the first appearance of the season for Pinegar, the Western Athletic Conference's freshman of the year in 2002 who tore his right pectoral muscle on Aug. 20.

Pinegar played the remainder of the game, going 11-of-19 for 111 yards with two interceptions and two sacks.

The Bulldogs' other score came in the first quarter after safety James Sanders rushed Van Pelt, tipped a pass and intercepted at the CSU 18. Four plays later, Brett Visintainer kicked a 27-yard field goal.

Fresno State plays at Hawaii this week on Saturday, while Colorado State visits BYU on Thursday night.