The Colorado State Rams have two games left to become bowl eligible. On paper this game against the New Mexico Lobos is the easiest game left to accomplish this.
The Lobos won’t go down without a fight. They are 7-3 overall and 5-1 in conference with a chance to represent the Mountain Division in the Mountain West championship game, if they have a couple of dominoes fall their way.
The Lobos are led by Bob Davie who has brought New Mexico back from the dark ages of the Mike Locksley era. The Lobos run a triple option offense out of the gun and use a little more smoke and mirrors to their game then Air Force did last week. The Lobos also tend to pass more, especially when Austin Apodaca is in the game. The Lobos also have 2 dangerous runners in Tyrone Owens and Teriyon Gipson, who should probably finish this game as both 1000 yard rushers.
The Rams have work to do on both sides of the ball, more so defensively. The Rams offense will have to continue with what they’ve done the past couple of weeks. The offense has been rolling along with balance and explosiveness. The Rams have been able to get both the running game and passing game rolling after a slow start to the year.
In the last game against Air Force, the Rams offense had 559 yards of offense, 374 passing and 185 rushing. They will need to continue this work against the Lobos in case of another shootout. Nick Stevens will need to work the ball around, while still maintaining a focus on Michael Gallup. Gallup is the play maker as he showed last week against Air Force with 13 catches for 213 yards and a touchdown. Izzy Matthews, Dalyn Dawkins, and Marvin Kinsey will need to grind out tough runs to help the Rams control the game.
The Rams defense is where the game will be decided. If the New Mexico offense can be slowed down, the Rams should be able to control the game. If this turns into another shootout, it will come down to who makes the least mistakes. The Rams need to get some speed on the outside. Make the QB make a decision on the option, don’t make it for him. String the option out as far as they can, so that help can come and close the gaps. The secondary will have to be ready as they will see more passes then they did last week.
Kevin Davis will need to be a leader for the defense this week. The coaches mentioned getting speed on the outside of the defense. Look for Arjay Jean and Bryan Ohene-Gyeni to get more playing time. If Jake Schlager is back, that will help as well. After going down with a hamstring in the first quarter of the Air Force game, Justin Sweet stepped into Schlager’s role and preformed well, but that switch create ripple effects throughout the defense. Having both on the field will be a big boost for the Rams defense.
This is the last game at Hughes Stadium for the Rams. As they will move into their new on campus stadium next year. The Rams will be honoring all former players and coaches of the team. This should provide some incentive for the Rams as well.
The Rams will pull this one out 40-27.