The CSU Rams take on in-state foe Northern Colorado for the first time since 1986. The Rams come in at 1-0 and first in the MWC since they are the only team with a win in conference. The UNC Bears are 0-1 after falling to Lindenwood University in Greeley. The Rams will be looking to take advantage of their early schedule and be 2-0 before their match up against Colorado next week.
The Rams are coming off their first road win since 2009. It may have just been New Mexico but it was a road conference win and those are tough to come by. The Rams were lead by their defense which seems like a new concept in Fort Collins. Nordly Capi was an absolute beast, I am sure you have heard about his career day already. Going into this game the Rams will look to get their run game and offense clicking a little better. Despite the improved New Mexico defense the Rams did look like they left a few yards out on the field.
Let's get to know a little about the UNC Bears after The Jump.
Ten bucks for anyone who doesn't have to use Google to find out where Lindenwood University is. I don't have ten bucks because I had to use Google. It is a small school out in Saint Charles, Missouri. They beat the UNC Bears on a last minute field goal. The Bears gained just 263 yards of total offense. Not good. The UNC Bears are not good to put it lightly, but they are not devoid of talent. Quintin Hildreth at RB came from Colorado, he had 56 yards on the ground in his first game for the Bears. In the secondary Elliot Dorsey will be someone the Rams need to keep an eye on. His coverage and ball skills are the best the Bears have to offer, Pete Thomas will need to be accurate when throwing his way. QB Seth Lobato is the Bears best option at QB, he is also a transfer from CU. Lobato's status for the game is uncertain at the moment. Brandon Owens at CB is a CSU transfer. Thats about all you need/ should want to know about the Bears.
The Rams will be looking for a better performance out of the running game. My thoughts on the CSU running game being good but not as good as they could have been were confirmed by head coach Steve Fairchild.
"I don't think we hit our entry points. We left a lot of yards out there. I don't look immediately at the stat sheet. I look to see if we are knocking guys out of there and are we flat-backing guys and doing the right thing by not letting guys loose? That has a feel of a good run game, and I think we can build on that. We can improve everywhere but there are times we were a little sloppy and left some yards out there."
That quote goes toward both Chris Nwoke and Raymond Carter. After watching the 2nd half replay on The MTN a couple times it really looks like Nwoke was the better back. Carter's carries went down as the game went on and Fairchild leaned on Nwoke. They will share carries to keep them fresh but Nwoke will get the goal line and important late game carries.
The Rams will need to improve on offense and the Bears are the perfect opponent to clean up the little things. Pete Thomas should put up bigger numbers also. He played the game manager role perfect last week, this week he might be able to take some shots as the Bears defense shouldn't play as much deep cover as UNM did. His receivers will be faster and need to show they can get open. TE Crockett Gillmore should look like a man-child out there, I see another TD for him.
On defense the Rams will see if Nordly Capi can be a full time fill in for Broderick Sergeant who is out for the year with an ACL tear. Capi sure made the most of the opportunity last week. The Rams are not calling him a starter and I imagine they use the masses like they did last week and keep everyone fresh and whoever has the hot hand. CJ James and Capi coming off the corners could make the Rams job in the secondary much easier though. Here is Fairchild's quote on his D Line rotation.
"We have been talking all offseason about rolling eight or nine linemen. Now don't hold me to this but I think we played 11 defensive linemen (confirmed - Brown, Burl, Capi, Carter, Froland, James, Latu, Paulhus, Sargent, Tiedgen and Wilson). They are all starters. Whoever is getting after the quarterback can stay in there."
"I think the more players that you can play, the better practice week you are going to have. If you just play four defensive linemen, those guys are the guys that are really preparing like they are playing. I am just going to have eight or nine or 10 guys preparing like they are going to play in a game. I think the more you have of that, the more competition you have as well. There are a lot of good things; I think we had planned all along to roll as many guys in there as we can and keep them fresh. I think that is a good plan."
This should be a blow out if the Rams offense plays up to their capabilty. I don't see the Bears putting up much of a fight against the Rams improved defense. We will see if last week was a fluke and the Rams are full of holes, but probably not till they play CU next weekend. As I said in my best cast/worst case column the Rams should win this game even in a worst case scenario. The Rams won't look past them, instead they will use it as a chance to improve the small things and really prepare for the Buffs. As a in-state game I don't see a let down coming. Everyone in Fort Collins is tired of Greeley stinking up our town, the Rammies will take the Bears down in style.