The Colorado State Rams play a true road game for the first time this season, as they head to the Twin Cities to play the Minnesota Gophers.
Last year CSU came so close to beating Minnesota at home, but a fumble in OT cost them the game.
This year got off to a very slow start with no reliable QB option. Collin Hill stepped up against Northern Colorado. The team believes in him, the coaches believe in him, and the fans hope he is the second coming of Garrett Grayson and Bradlee Van Pelt.
This will be Hill’s first serious test. He is playing his first away game against a Power 5 team. He will have to remain calm and run the offense effectively. Minnesota’s secondary has been kind of suspect this year, so expect to see the Rams take some chances deep.
The running game will also need to step up. Minnesota hasn’t allowed a 100 yard rusher and hasn’t allowed a running score this year. Dalyn Dawkins is expected to be healthy and is looking to make up for last year.
Both the running game and passing game need to show up Saturday. If the Rams become one dimensional, expect a game similar to the horror show that was the Rocky Mountain Showdown.
The defense will have its hands full, quite literally. The offensive line for the Gophers averages 6’5” and 320 lbs. The defensive line will have to stunt, move, and beat them with speed, like they did against UTSA. The line can’t go straight up, otherwise they’ll get pummeled all day long.
The linebackers have to contain the running backs. Shannon Brooks is on the depth chart after missing the first two games recovering from a foot injury. But if he can’t go expect the two headed monster of Kobe McCray and Rodney Smith. Each has had a 100 yard rushing game this year. And Smith rushed 21 times for 108 yards against the Rams last year.
The key to Rams defense this week will be the defensive backs. Last year the Rams were able to contain the Gophers for the majority of the game. When the 4th quarter rolled around all of sudden the passing game opened up and the Gophers were able to pass at will on the Rams. If the Rams can contain the wide receivers somewhat, the game should be a contest.
These are two different teams from last year. Each teams strengths are different. It all comes down to how each team prepares for the other. If the Rams can contain the Gophers the game should be close. If they don’t, expect another beat down.
The Rams should be able to keep this one close. Final Score: Minnesota 27, Colorado State 20.