Colorado State vs. Utah State game preview

The Colorado State University Rams travel to Logan, Utah to take on the Utah State Aggies needing only one win to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2008.

Colorado St.  Rams (6-5, 4-2) at the Utah State Aggies (6-4, 5-1)

Date/Time: Saturday, November 23rd, 1:30 PM (MT), 3:30 PM (ET)

Location: Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium in Logan, Utah.

TV: CBS Sports Network

Radio: For CSU - KJAC-FM 105.5 ESPN, KREL-AM 1580 ESPN (Colorado Springs), KSIR-AM 1010 (Fort Morgan), KRFD-FM 94.5 (Sterling), and KNZZ-AM 1100 (Grand Junction). For USU - Utah State Sports Network.

Weather: 44° and partly sunny. 0% chance of rain with winds at 16 MPH out of the East.

Odds: Utah State -8

The History: CSU leads the all-time series 36-31-2. CSU leads the series in Logan 20-17-1 as well as in Fort Collins 16-14-1. The series began on October 11th, 1902 in Logan: CSU won 24-5.

Last Two Meetings: The Aggies won 31-19 on Sept. 22, 2012 in Fort Collins. In the previous year’s meeting, CSU won 35-34 on September 24th, 2011.

The Coaches: USU - Matt Wells (former USU offensive coordinator) is 6-4 in his first year as head coach. CSU - Jim McElwain is 10-13 in his second year overall as head coach.

Streaks: USU has a current three-game winning streak. CSU has a current three-game road-winning streak.

Big Names CSU: Kapri Bibbs leads the nation in rushing with 25 TDs. Quarterback Garrett Grayson has steadily improved this season and the Rams are averaging 471.1 yards of offense per game, with 214.8 yards on the ground. Weston Richburg (OC) leads a solid O-line, which is making big holes for Bibbs and Nwoke, while keeping Grayson upright. TE’s Crocket Gillmore and Kivon Cartwright have gotten more involved in the passing game as well as providing key blocks downfield. WR Rashard Higgins (FR) has vastly improved since the CU and Tulsa games, in which he had several key drops along with the return of Charles Lovett (JR).

On Defense, LB Shaquil Barrett has 10.5 sacks on the season, which ranks 3rd in the country. Barrett also has 18 tackles for a loss and is averaging 1.6 per game. He also recorded two blocked field goals in one game against Cal Poly (9/14). Safety Trent Matthews has 4 interceptions so far this season. The secondary has been a weak spot for the Rams this season, giving up big plays in just about every game. Despite this, two other defenders to watch are LB Max Morgan and Safety Kevin Pierre-Louis, who have 15 individual tackles in single games.

CSU’s special teams have cooled off a bit since starting very hot in the first game of the season, but they are still a solid unit. Kicker Jared Roberts has been clutch for the Rams through two years and averages 1.5 FGs/game, which is 2nd in the Mountain West and 22nd in the nation (88.9%). Joe Hansley and Thomas Coffmann are dangerous returners.

Big Names USU: Freshman QB Darrell Garretson is coming on after since taking over for the Aggies and has 6 TD passes. Junior QB Craig Harrison has also filled in since the loss of Chucky Keeton. Senior running back Joey DeMartino has been hard to bring down for opposing defenses and has 10 TD’s on the season. Senior Wide receivers Travis Van Leeuwen and Travis Reynolds have had back-to-back 100-yards games and will pose serious problems for the CSU defense. Add to this sophomore receiver Bruce Natson and CSU could have serious issues with big plays in the passing game.

Senior LB Jake Doughty was named the College Sports Madness Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week for his 11-tackle performance against UNLV. Junior LB Zack Vigil also had a solid 11-tackle game against UNLV and will try to keep the CSU offense from getting into a rhythm. Senior CB Nevin Lawson has four interceptions so far this season. CSU will also have to account for senior safety Maurice Alexander.

Junior Nick Diaz has made 22 of 29 field goals and has only missed one point after attempt since coming to USU. He is 12 of 16 on the year (.750). On the other side, the USU defense ranks first in the nation in punt return defense, which gives the Aggies a definite advantage in playing for field position.

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