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Colorado State Home Opener Against Idaho Preview

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The Colorado State Rams are the among last team in FBS to get a home game.  They sit at an ugly 0-3 before they have stepped on their own field for a game.  The 2-1 Idaho Vandals will look to keep their good start going, their only loss was to #6 Nebraska.  Last week the Vandals beat UNLV handily 30-7 at home.  The Rams continued their struggle last week with a 31-10 loss at Miami(OH) mostly due to their 1 rushing yard.  Their losing streak is now at 12 games with just 4 of those losses at home.

Catch more after The Jump...

This is the Rams best chance at a win until UNLV visits in mid-October.  Idaho has looked good this year after a bowl appearance last year.  The Vandals did lose first round pick Mike Lupati on the offensive line and leading rusher DeMaundray Woolridge.  So far running backs Princton McCarty and Kama Bailey have done a good job picking up the slack as both average over 5 yards a carry. 

The main weapon for the Vandals is quarterback Nathan Enderle who lead a 10 point comeback last year against the Rams in Idaho.  If you look at his stats he has struggled a bit this year with four touchdowns to seven interceptions.  However take out the Nebraska game and he has three touchdowns and two interceptions.  The Rams defense isn't quite the Big Red and the Vandals won't be playing catch up all game so I think that is a fair assessment to make.  Enderle also lost his favorite target Max Komar.  He has hooked up with Daniel Hardy 12 times this year in the early race to find a main target.   The offense isn't anything amazing.  The Vandal defense will give the Rams fits for sure.

Let's look at some numbers to match the Rams "offense" against the Vandals defense. Rankings are national, out of 120 schools.

3rd Down %

Rams have converted 12 out of 40 = 30%(106th)   Vandals have stopped opponents on 11 of 35 = 31.43%(29th)

Red Zone %

Rams have scored 3 of 5 = 60%(113th) Vandals have only allowed opponents 3 - 8 = 37.5%(1st)

Turnovers

Rams have turned it over 8 times(103rd) Vandals have gotten 11 turnovers(3rd)

 

Yikes, they Rams might be lucky to score another touchdown.  Idaho is 19th in scoring defense even though Nebraska put up 38 on them, their low for the season.  Let's look at where the Rams could make cause some problems for the Vandal defense.

Special teams might be the Rams chance at their first win.  The Vandals on average are giving up 21 or more yards on kickoff and punt returns.  With speedy Tony Drake as the return man the Rams might end up with some short fields and possibly a return TD to take some pressure off the offense and defensive units.  Momo Thomas is listed as the punt returner after Drake made a freshman mistake but if the game is close it might be worth sending Drake out there to see if he can break a big one.

The Rams have reconstructed their offensive line a bit in an attempt to move the ball via the run.  Raymond Carter is listed as the top back with John Mosure and Leonard Mason behind him.  Carter needs a big play like JaMarcus Russel needs a job.  His 1.56 rushing average won't cut it with a proven back like Leonard Mason behind him for much longer. 

Let's play a guessing game.  Which Rams was praised last year and averaged a solid 6.7 yards from scrimmage and is following it up this year with 9 yards per touch?  9 yards a touch is good, you might want to have that player touch the ball more then 6 times in three games.  Lou Greenwood is the mystery man.  Greenwood needs to get the ball more if this offense is going to improve.

I understand that Steve Fairchild has a lot of players to spread the ball to with 5 running backs, 6 wide receivers, and Eric Peitz.  Greenwood is on of the top athletes and can create once he has the ball in his hands.  The Rams are averaging 62 offensive plays a game this year, Greenwood deserves at least 5 touches a game to see what he can do.  Byron Steele, Greenwood, Carter, Mason, and Drake are the explosive play makers on this team.  The Rams need a long run or someone who can get some yards after catch in this offense.

Also Pete Thomas is awesome so the Rams have that going for them as the open Hughes Stadium in 2010.

Sorry CSU I won't be buying an "Orange Out" shirt as you have not won a game in over a year, my green one will do me just fine this weekend.