Let us get to know a little about the Weber State Wildcats. As a Football Championship School (read Division II) school they had a good shot at taking down the Wyoming Cowboys last weekend. Five interceptions and blocked field goal left them just seven points away from a FCS upset that would have hurt the Mountain West Conference’s growing reputation.
They had an impressive box score with 411 total yards with 322 passing. Only 89 rushing yards but that was a 4.2 yards per carry average. On defense they held the Cowboys to 20 percent on third down efficiency and recovered a fumble.
More after the jump!
Don't worry Colorado State fans they made their mistakes also. Turnovers and penalties are the fastest way to take your team out of a game, especially on the road, and Weber State did just that with 11 penalties for 66 yards and the killer five interceptions. The Wildcat defense gave up a big 246 yards on the ground at a 5.1 yard per carry clip.
They are a passing team, even before they were playing catch up they were tossing the ball around, throwing ten times to four rushing attempts in the first quarter. QB Cameron Higgins doesn't have a track record of turning the ball over, just 13 interceptions last year, so don't expect the Rams defense to enjoy quite the day that the Cowboys had.
The Colorado win is the biggest win in Steve Fairchild’s coaching career at Colorado State and easily eclipses the New Mexico Bowl, also known as the Last Place bowl. The Rocky Mountain Showdown win lies on the shoulders of Defensive Coordinator Larry Kerr and the defense for the most part. If you watched the Colorado State/Colorado game you already know the E.B. Smith hit was big.
The play I will remember is Alex Williams dropping back into coverage and leaping to tip a pass in the end zone. Those two plays show the effort and scheming that the Rams will need on defense to keep Higgins and his receiving corps off the scoreboard. Holding the Buffs to 222 yards passing on 40 attempts was no mistake, surprising sure but no mistake if you watched the game. CU was also held in check on 3rd downs, 3-14. This stemmed from good pressure up front most the game and resulted in 4 sacks. On to the Offense.
Steve Fairchild's offense could be described as adaptive yet pro style in nature. The Rams only went to the air 17 times last weekend but kept the field stretched out with 5 deep passes. Three were caught for big gains, one dropped by Rashaun Greer, and one of those was intercepted but acted like a 50+ yard punt so no complaints there.
They ran the ball effectively and used the clock winning the time of possession battle by 6 minutes. This will be a big key to keeping the Weber State pass game on the sidelines. Look for the Rams to rely on Leonard Mason who had 4.7 yards per carry against CU and that experienced offensive line, hopeful for a return from Offensive Guard Shelley Smith (ankle).
However, you can always count on a handful of bombs from a Fairchild offense. QB Grant Stucker played well but was restricted by play calling and rightfully so. After he gets a few games under his belt we could see Fairchild take the reins off him, but don't count on it against Weber State unless CSU falls back early.
The Rams found their identity as a football team down at Folsum Field, they can play tough D and have offensive weapons. CSU needs to use that momentum and not have a letdown game against the Wildcats. The game stays close but CSU will be in control at home and earn a victory.
CSU Injury Update:
Smith (ankle) and RB John Mosure (head) sat out practice on Tuesday. Smith is day to day while Fairchild expects Mosure to be ready for the home opener this Saturday.