Ok, I'm just going to say off the bat that you should NOT watch this game. Both teams are not good and with good Top 25 matchups on at the time of the game, this won't get many views. Then again, if you are a UNLV, Colorado State, or huge MWC fan, then The Mtn. is the place for your television while Texas takes on Nebraska. Anyway, that aside, I've got a preview to do of the Rebels and Rams, if you're planning on watching the game, then follow me after the jump for a quick primer of the battle of the bottom feeders.
Both the offense and defense for Colorado State have not been good for the Rams this year. No major statistic for the Rams is in the top half of the NCAA and that is a major issue. The Rams offense is only scoring 13.7 points a game and allowing 36 points a game, including 31 points allowed to Miami (OH). One thing that I noticed was that their schedule is very underrated, they played Colorado, Nevada, Miami (OH), Idaho, TCU and Air Force. For a CSU squad that hasn't gone to a bowl the past couple of seasons, that is a very tough schedule.
The Rams offensive woes have come from the lack of a running game. CSU is rushing for 94.3 yards a game and that is a very bad stat. The passing game on the other hand you could say is doing quite well, if you consider what they're working with. CSU has a true freshman QB and not many returning receivers, plus a non-existent run game to rely on. That said, they are averaging 222.2 passing yards a game and that still is not good. Part of the issue with that is the lack of a running game, and if the Rams can find a way to establish the ground game, the offense should do great.
The Defense has not been good all season. The best mark they have posted was holding Colorado to 24 points. One of their biggest issues has been stopping the ground game. Tim Jefferson and the Falcons ran all over the defense last week for 49 points and I'm sure that Steve Fairchild jumped all over them for that.
Colorado State just hasn't had the speed to contain the edge and when the Rams don't have defenders on the outside waiting for the running back, the offense seems to take advantage of that and break a big play. The real key is going to be able to hold up the middle running lanes well with only 5-6 people blitzing to the ball. If the Rams can do that, then when the Rebels try an outside run they can keep their corners on the outside to contain the run and not allow long runs.
Bobby Hauck hasn't looked too impressive in his first season. Personally, I'm not surprised with the kind of schedule he's had to deal with - four ranked teams. The good news is that he doesn't have any of his personnel in yet and can't really be blamed for trying to preach hard-nosed football to guys who have been taught the spread their whole time at college. Just like CSU, UNLV is horrible in the stats and in their record, no stat is above 90th in the nation.
The Rebel offense has improved with each game, until last week when they were demolished by West Virginia. In UNLV's loss to Nevada, 2 out of their first three drives lasted 5+ minutes for touchdowns. I said before the game that was the key to UNLV having a chance in the game. It turned out I was right as UNLV was tied with the Wolfpack with 5 minutes left in the first half.
Unfortunately, after those two drives the Rebels stalled for the rest of the game. I'm sticking by that key, with UNLV needing to sustain drives, even if they're not for points. Get two or three first downs to keep your defense off the field and get some flow to the offense.
The Rebels defense has just been absolutely horrible overall. Against the run, against the pass, against anything - they couldn't stop an immovable object. The Rebels have allowed 35.3 points a game on the season, allowing 38+ points during 4 seperate games this season. The Rebels have not been able to stop the run all season and if they are going to stop anything, then they need to start with the run.
If the Rebels are able to make the Rams one-diminsional with the passing game, then we could easily see a good defensive performance with Will Chandler at cornerback for the Rebels.
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