Colorado State hasn’t played at home in nearly a month. Their last home game was the October 5th homecoming game against San Diego State. However, that’s a good thing, the memories that the fans have of the last home game weren’t great. Since then the Rams have played a lot better, winning the last two games. Winning road games against New Mexico snapping a 10-game losing streak to FBS teams, and winning a huge road game at Fresno State as a 14 point underdog. The Rams take on UNLV (2-6) who has also struggled this season and needs to win out to be bowl eligible. The Rams (3-5) need to virtually do the same. So this is a huge game for both teams. For the Rams to keep the momentum going here are three keys to the game.
1. Offense needs to continue their fast starts
The Ram offenses poses the 19th ranked total offense in the nation. That’s second in the conference behind Hawaii’s run and shoot. It’s important that the Rams continue the offensive momentum against a team who gives up over 425 yards of total offense per game. Patrick O’Brien has played better in recent games as he’s gotten used to being the starter. Warren Jackson has been torching the conference since he’s returned from his shoulder injury. If the Rams could jump to a quick lead and force UNLV to play from behind it will allow the defense to relax and continue to improve.
2. Pressure, pressure, and pressure.
The Ram defense has been able to generate more pressure recently which has allowed the defense to get off the field on third down. That is more important this week against an offense that has struggled to score and to move the ball. Dequan Jackson has been a stud recently at linebacker and the secondary has been improving with Logan Stewart and Jamal Hicks controlling the back line. The defense needs to generate at least two sacks and get at least a turnover for it to be a successful day. No lapses and keep the pressure on the UNLV offense to keep up. Do those they’ll have a good chance to win the game.
3. Rams need to have at least 130 yards on the ground.
Keep it balanced, the Rebels will likely focus on shutting down the passing attack. So focus on establishing the run and go play action to catch them napping. With Marvin Kinsey off the team, Marcus McElroy rushed for 117 yards on just 18 carries. The Rams rushed for 178 yards on 39 carries. If the Rams can have some long-sustained drives ending in touchdown it will wear down the UNLV defense in the second half.
Prediction: It will be back and forth for a while before the Rams ultimately pull away in the second half. Rams 41 – Rebels 24.