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Beware of the FCS Opponent: Colorado State vs Western Illinois

Colorado State hosts FCS Western Illinois hoping to avoid FCS losses two years in a row.

NCAA Football: Colorado State at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Last year Colorado State went into a game against Illinois State that everyone including me thought they should have won. It was the annual Ag Day game in which the Rams haven’t lost since its inception in 2010. The orange out was in affect and fans were ready to go. However, things didn’t go as planned, as the Rams were dominated on both sides of the ball losing 35-19. The worst thing of that game was Illinois State was the bigger team on both sides of the ball. Now the FCS opponent has returned. This year’s team is Western Illinois. A team from the Missouri Valley Conference which is a very competitive league. Here is the preview for the Colorado State vs Western Illinois.

Date: Saturday September 7th at 2PM MDT

History: First meeting

TV/Radio: AT&T Sportsnet 102.7 FM Northern Colorado

Line: Colorado State –8.5

Weather: Low to mid 80s and sunny

Colorado State showed some flashes of growth last week in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. It was the mental errors on both sides of the ball that doomed them. Collin Hill had a solid game in the air but threw two costly interceptions. The Rams had two fumbles as well although one of them wasn’t really a fumble. The defense couldn’t cause a turnover and stayed on the field too long. If Colorado State wants to avoid another embarrassing loss to an FCS opponent here are three things that need to happen

1. Score Early and generate a lead

The Rams got off to a quick start last week responding to a CU touchdown. The Rams need to do that again this week to keep WIU on their toes. The bigger the earlier lead the better. Getting Hill into a rhythm and the running backs going will be key.

2. Defense needs to get off the field on 3rd down.

The defense was gassed by the end of the first half last week. The Buffaloes had long drives due to the defense not getting off the field. There were some bad penalties that extended drives and that can’t happen again. Generate a pass rush and get off the field. Rams do these things they’ll win the game.

3. Get the receivers involved early and often

Warren Jackson had a solid game with 8 catches, 87 yards and a touchdown. Teams will continue to focus on him which could allow for other receivers to get involved. Dante Wright will have some attention from Western Illinois as well. It’s a young receiving core until Nate Craig Myers is eligible so Hill will need as many weapons as possible.

Colorado State is in a must win game to create momentum for Arkansas next week. The Rams should start fast so players can get rested for what will be a tough game at Arkansas. The Rams need to control the line of scrimmage. Which I believe will happen. Colorado State wins this game 42-17.