Colorado State and head coach Jim McElwain face a must-win situation when they host the Nevada Wolf Pack on Saturday in a game that could determine the Rams' bowl chances. But if they are to improve upon their 4-5 record and make a serious case for conference contention, they may have to do so without two starting defensive backs.
According to the Denver Post's Tom Kensler, junior cornerback Bernard Blake (toe) and sophomore safety Kevin Pierre-Louis (ankle) are both dealing with injuries that are likely to keep them out of the Rams' important conference matchup Saturday. That's bad news for a Colorado State team that's failed to stop the pass all season long, ranked No. 120 (out of 123) in passing yards allowed at 309.6 per game.
Senior Shaq Bell, sophomore Jasen Oden and freshmen Jake Schlager and Tyree Simmons will likely see more reps against Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo, who enters the game ranked tenth in FBS in total offense at 338.1 yards per game while completing nearly 67 percent of his passes. After giving up five touchdown passes to Boise State quarterback Grant Hedrick in just his second career start, the Rams will have their hands full with the experienced dual threat Fajardo.
Colorado State needs to win three of its last four games for a shot at their first bowl berth since 2008. With upcoming road matchups against an improved New Mexico and dangerous Utah State team -- not to mention a season-ending tilt against always dangerous rival Air Force, the Rams can't afford a loss to Nevada if they want to keep their postseason hopes alive.