Game Preview: Boise State Broncos vs. Colorado State Rams

Quarterback Pete Thomas #4 of the Colorado State Rams (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
The #5 ranked Boise State Broncos (5-0, 0-0) will play their first Mountain West in-conference game with a road trip to Fort Collins, Colorado to take on the Colorado State Rams (3-2, 1-0). The Rams are coming off a 32-38 point loss at home to the San Jose State Spartans in last week's gridiron action, while the Broncos are seeking to give the Rams the same treatment they gave the Fresno State Bulldogs last Friday in Fresno. That was a 57-7 defeat of the 'Dogs in front of their hometown crowd. Boise State head coach Chris Petersen and his undefeated Broncos will be coming into Hughes Stadium as strangers. This will be the first meeting between the Broncos and Rams, and the Broncos could join TCU and Colorado as among the highest-ranked teams ever to visit Fort Collins. They will be taking on their new Mountain West rivals at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium in a game that gets underway at 4 PM MT. It will be televised on The MTN, following the UNLV at Wyoming game. The Vegas guys have Boise State as a 31 1/2 point favorite. The Rams will be hitting their home field wearing all white after they received approval from Boise State and the Mountain West. It is all part of a community effort to "white out" the stadium and joining forces with Poudre Valley Health System to support a white out cancer and a cancer awareness campaign. PVHS and The MTN (The Mountain West Sports Network) have combined to produce white T-shirts for the first 5,000 fans who pass through the gates Saturday. The Colorado State Rams have been in a state of flux this season. CSU coach Steve Fairchild and his staff have been working hard with the team to create more confidence and faith in one another, and it is beginning to show both on field and in their stats. It started in early spring when T-shirts were printed prior to spring practice: it read "Believe," with green lettering on a gold shirt. And they did. They went out and won three of their first four games this season, tying last year's 3 total wins on the entire year. Not only have the Rams put fun back into their game, but it has even created a little bit of a swagger. And why not? This year the Rams have a chance to go to another bowl game for the first time since 2008. They could do it, too, if they can bounce back from last week's loss to SJSU and come out swinging against Boise State. Sophomore QB Pete Thomas, 6-5 225 lbs, could get it done for them. He has completed 112 of 167 passes for 1,089 yards with six TD's. Last week he passed for 387 yards and 3 TD's, leading the Rams to rack up an impressive 458 yards of total offense. But their running game will have to impove so he won't forced to go to the air so often. Last week the Rams put up a measly 71 rushing yards. And 20 of those yards were made by Thomas himself. Now that just stinks. And this week they go against one of the most stubborn defenses in college ball. Luckily, the Rams have a number of good receivers that Thomas can throw to. WR Lou Greenwood, 6-1 181 lbs, is certainly one of the best in the Mountain West Conference. Last week, in what can only be called his breakout game, he caught 6 passes for 149 yards and 2 TDs. That was an average of 24.8 yards a catch. He could be giving the Bronco pass defenders a fit. WR Crockett Gillmore, 6-6 245 lbs, is another threat, and one who is averaging 10.6 yards a catch. But it will be the Rams receiving squad as a whole that will testing Boise State's cornerbacks Jamar Taylor, 5-11 194 lbs, (who is expected to play following an on-field injury last week), Quaylon Ewing-Burton, 6-1 184 lbs, and safety George Iloka, 6-3 215 lbs. Boise State's offense goes up against a Ram defense that allowed 313 passing yards last week to San Jose State. Uh-oh. You can bet Bronco QB Kellen Moore will be looking to add to his season stats with that observation. He will be airing it out and WR Matt Miller, 6-3 215 lbs, is bound to be one of his favorite targets. Miller caught 6 passes for 78 yards and a TD last Friday. And Moore will be looking for Tyler Shoemaker, 6-1 213 lbs, also. Shoe will be looking to get back into it after only catching two passes for 19 yards at Fresno. But the receiver everyone will be keeping an eye on Saturday is WR Geraldo Boldewijn, 6-4 200 lbs. He is back in the lineup and will be a deep threat against the Rams. He's not wasting any time after finally getting to play last week for the first time this season. As for the Bronco running game, WR Mitch Burroughs, 5-9 187 lbs, has been sneaking in with a rush now and then, when he is not busy catching passes. But Doug Martin, 5-9 215 lbs, and D.J. Harper, 5-9 210 lbs, will be doing most of the honors Saturday. Martin had 16 carries for 94 yards last week, averaging 5.9 yards a carry, while Harper punched in 2 scores from scrimmage. One face you won't see is fullback Dan Paul, who is out for the season. He joins cornerback Jerrell Gavins on the sidelines, where both will be wearing a redshirt. Colorado State could wreck havoc with Boise State's special teams. The Broncos continue to struggle with a lot of inconsistanty from game to game. Kicker Dan Goodale, who is 20 of 24 on PATs, has had his moments of scccess as well as moments of weakness. Its apparent that the confidence is not there, yet, and the Ram defenders will certainly be looking to exploit that. In contrast punter Pat Elkin, 6-2 195 lbs, has been the standout on special teams. He will be looking to pin the Rams deep behind their 20. The Broncos could find the Rams special teams just as vulnerable. Kicker Ben DeLine, 6-1 185 lbs, is 15 of 15 on extra points so the Colorado State squad do a good job of getting it through the uprights---except on field goals. DeLine is only 4 of 7 in that department so the Broncos will be bringing the pressure. But back to the white unis: the last time the Rams wore white jerseys at home was back in 1980. They ended up with a 21-9 win over Air Force in that game. And while support for cancer awareness is commendable this time, if the Ram fans are thinking the white jerseys might bring a repeat performance with a win overs the Broncos, it just won't happen. But it will still be a fun game to watch. My score prediction: Boise State 52, Colorado State 21.
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