The Colorado State Rams (3-3, 0-2) travel to Fort Worth Texas to take on #12 Texas Christian (5-0, 1-0). The Horned Frogs slipped two places after a 20-17 win at Air Force last week. The Rams are reeling blowing a 14 point lead to Utah at home, this came after a 3-0 start.
The Rams came into this tough stretch where they play 5 bowl teams in 7 games at 2-0 and took the first game against Nevada. Since then it has been two tough road losses and an even tougher loss at home to Utah. Steve Fairchild hasn't lost hope yet and understands where his team stands.
The other thing that should be very apparent to our team is that we could easily be 5-1, or maybe even 6-0 if the ball bounced our way a few times. We could be the team everyone is talking about around the country. But we could also easily be 2-4. The point is that there's very little difference between a win and a loss; football games hinge on a series of a few plays.
Can the Rams make enough plays at TCU to pull off an upset? CSU will turn to QB Grant Stucker who took a step back last week with three poor interceptions. He simply made bad decisions and it cost him. TCU will be the toughest defense he faces all year. Stucker will have to know where Jerry Hughes is at all times. The scramble could be his best friend this game, he failed to use it last game instead choosing to make bad passes that translated to interceptions against Utah.
Leonard Mason had his break out party with 130 yards on 24 carries last week. Meanwhile fellow RB John Mosure was absent from the offense, only one carry for -4 yards. The running game will need to put it all together so TCU, 9th in the nation in rushing defense, can't force Stucker to win the game via the air. Freshman Lou Greenwood will see more action if Mosure is still in the doghouse.
On defense the Rams are getting a few players healthy which will help in their challenge of stopping TCU. I don't see any huge advantage for TCU to exploit, just a little of everything. The run defense has been a little more porous due to bad tackling. The secondary has been exposed to anything outside the numbers as the safeties Klint Kubiak and Elijah Blu-Smith haven't been able to help in coverage on the sides. Both CSU corners have trouble with tall receivers, which TCU doesn't have much of so that might help. However the TCU speed will give the Rams problems on special team, this could be the difference between a TCU blowout and a watchable game.
For the Horned Frogs QB Andy Dalton is quietly having a good year completing 65% of his passes and rushing for 191 yards. His 6-3 touchdown to interception ratio could be better but he really hasn't killed the offense and has put up enough points for the defense to do their thing. Look for RB Joseph Turner to have a big game as TCU should run it at the Rams till they prove they can tackle.
On defense TCU should continue their string of domination in the MWC. They might have a few troubles with Fairchild's offense but their athletes on that side of the ball can make up for that. TCU will be looking to bring a lot of pass pressure to see if they can get Stucker to throw up a few mistakes. Jerry Hughes will have an absolute field day if Stucker won't tuck it and run. Leading tackler Daryl Washington will have to keep Mason in check so the Rams can't turn it into a low scoring affair and hope for an upset in the 4th quarter.
TCU will win if: TCU shows up to play. If they are looking forward to next week at BYU, CSU might surprise them.
CSU will win if: They find a way to run on TCU and don't put the game on Stucker's shoulders.
TCU wins 35-10. TCU is a great team and should win the MWC and get a BCS game if they win out. CSU hasn't showed it can play on the road against a good team and have only put together two full games all year.