The Colorado State Rams (3-1, 0-1) look to get back to their winning ways against the Idaho Vandals (3-1, 1-0) at the Kibbie Dome. The Vandals are fresh off a 34-30 win versus Northern Illinois. The Rams are looking at getting back in the W column after a mistake laden road loss to BYU.
I won't go into lots of detail about the Vandals as my five questions with blogger Travis from Vandal Nation is more input then I could offer. Travis mentions big back DeMaundray Woolridge as the offensive power of the Vandals. This could be a big issue as just last week CSU was embarrassed by big back Harvey Unga. Woolridge is averaging 7 yards a carry and has 5 touchdowns already.
On defense the Vandals will have to try to hold the Rams receivers in check, unless Greer is handing out free interceptions again. As Travis pointed out the Vandals will give the small yardage and make you sustain long drives. I am sure Idaho is looking at the Rams 3rd down conversion rate and salivating that their defensive plan is to make teams sustain drives.
The Rams offense needs Rashaun Greer to bounce back as, before last week, he had become the favorite target of Grant Stucker with a team leading 11 catches in the first three weeks. Greer is pivotal in the 3rd down game for CSU and will be fighting Tyson Liggett for the starting job this week. The running game will also need to be solid as the Vandals are only giving up 3.45 a carry. John Mosure was beat up last week but returned, he needs to learn to stop jumping over tackles and exposing himself to the big hit. At 5'10" and 210 pounds he doesn't have the body to take solid shots and the Rams are a much better running team with a healthy Mosure and Leonard Mason.
On defense the Rams have some things to fix as their missed tackles against BYU totaled more than the first three games combined, said defensive coordinator Larry Kerr. It is not a good thing when your safety is makes the most tackles, 12. Middle linebacker Alex Williams, a key part of the Rams run defense, was hurt on the first play of the game and it showed as the Rams were weak on defense. He sat out Tuesday but has not been ruled out against Idaho. They get their second test against a big back, they got an "F" the first time.
For the Rams to win this game they need to get back to their basics of solid tackling and turnovers on defense. On offense they will need to pick the right time to go deep, I think their wide receivers have an advantage on deep and short balls. The Rams offensive line will have to use their experience to keep the false start penalties low and give Stucker time when 3 to 5 players go out on routes.
Alex Williams and Ty Whittier were out Tuesday, but have not been ruled out.
Shelley Smith will make his first appearance of the season at guard.