In the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl the Colorado State Rams will be facing a familiar foe. The Utah Utes which was a former Mountain West member until joining the PAC 12 conference in 2011. Now this is the first time the two teams will have played since 2010. Utah has won the previous five meetings but there are two completely different teams since Utah departed for the big time. Colorado State was going through some rough times, while Utah was thriving. Now these two teams with contrasting styles will go head to head to determine who takes home the trophy. Here is some key match ups that will most likely dictate the outcome of the game.
Colorado State Pass Offense vs Utah Pass Defense: The Rams will be playing against a defense that has recorded 52 sacks this season. This will be the toughest defense the Rams will face since playing Utah State back in October. Air Force's defense played well in the first half and stepped up when they needed to late. The Utah State defense is lead by Nate Orchard who is the sack leader and All-American for the Utes. The Rams will get their points and Utah will keep CSU below their scoring average, the outcome of the game will come down to who imposes their will the most.
Utah Run Offense vs Colorado State Rush Defense: The Utes have a 1,300 yard rusher in Devonte Booker, and can control a game and keep the high powered Rams offense off the field. The rushing defense for the Rams has been very suspect all season. Giving up a lot of yards to Boise State, Air Force and even UC Davis. I believe every game this season they have given up over 100 yards rushing in every game this season.
Colorado State Special Teams vs Kaelin Clay: Clay is a dangerous returner, and he could potentially be a player that flips field position for the Utes. Along with Ray Guy Award Recipient Tom Hackett. Jared Roberts is a reliable kicker but has been a little off his game this season for the Rams. This game could come down to a field goal, and both teams need to have their kickers on their game to win. Clay will make CSU think about whether to kick it to him or not. He could take one back almost any time he wants and it will cause the Rams special teams coach nightmares.
The Rams have a tough match up ahead of them. This is a winnable match up that will have major implications on the Future of CSU Football. Their defense will need to show up to win this game. The offense will get theirs but the defense needs to make stops, get off the field and not give up 100 yards. This will be a fun match up to watch so tune in on Saturday afternoon.