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Utah State Perspective: Utah State at Colorado State Preview

Three things to look for and a score prediction for Aggies at Rams

Eli Lucero/The Herald Journal via AP, Pool

After getting a big win over New Mexico, the Aggies faltered against Air Force in a blowout 35-7 loss. The offense wasn’t able to get much going and the defense allowed some explosive plays for the Falcons, both in the running and passing game. Utah State rushed for 109 yards and passed for 123 but Andrew Peasley threw two interceptions that stalled drives for the Aggies. The loss of Jaylen Warren was evident as the leading rusher was Andrew Peasley, who rushed for 53 yards. Against New Mexico the receivers were able to make big plays for Utah State but things were different against Air Force as the leading receiver was Carson Terrell, who had 2 receptions for 27 yards. Utah State must play a better game against Colorado State because while the Rams do only have one win, they still have the ability to beat Utah State.

Utah State at Colorado State

Location: Fort Collins, Colorado (Canvas Stadium)

Line: Colorado State (-13.5)

Date/Time: Saturday, December 12th; 9:30 PM EST

Television: CBS Sports Network

Head-to-Head: Utah State and Colorado State have a very long history and the Rams lead the series 39-35 and there has also been two ties. From 1960-1975 the Aggies won quite a few games, 11 games and lost four games. The current win streak in the series is two games to Utah State, 29-24 in 2018, and 34-24 in 2019. During their time in the Mountain West, Utah State is 4-3 against Colorado State. Utah State won in 2013 (13-0) and Colorado State won in 2014 (16-13). The Aggies would win in 2015 (33-18) and Colorado State won in 2016 (31-24) and 2017 (27-14).

Three Things to Watch For

1. Can Andrew Peasley continue to develop?

Andrew Peasley had a great first start against New Mexico. Against Air Force, Peasley did a nice job of running however completed only 17-32 of passes and threw for just 123 yards. If he is able to improve on the passing numbers and continues to spread the ball around to different receivers and makes big plays with his feet, Utah State will be able to be more creative offensively just as they were against the Lobos. A key way of developing Peasley is to get the receivers and tight ends involved. If those position groups are able to help Peasley to make plays, the Aggies will much more easily be able to move the ball against Colorado State.

2. Can the Utah State defense make plays?

Utah State has struggled defensively to prevent big plays and force turnovers this season. Even in the win against the Lobos the Aggies still struggled to prevent turnovers and big plays from happening as the Lobos made it a game late in the 4th quarter. In order to beat Colorado State, the Aggies need to play consistent defense and there can’t be any blown coverages as Colorado State has the receivers that can make teams pay for blown coverages. Utah State will also need to tackle well, especially if the running backs are able to make their way into the secondary. A defense that can make plays will go a long way to having a good game.

3. Can Utah State win the field position battle?

This is going to be the biggest thing that can help Utah State offensively. A short field will lead to a more open playbook and more points. If the Aggies could get points on special teams, even better. Colorado State has an excellent punter and Boise State proved with speed on the edge it’s possible to get pressure on him as the Broncos blocked two punts and returned both for touchdowns. If Utah State can get speed on the edge, they can better make plays on special teams.

Analysis

This has been mentioned before, the season is over for Utah State after this game as they will not be bowl eligible with one or two wins. Offensively Utah state hasn’t done well in many games and while the season may already be over, this is going to be an important game in terms of development. Andrew Peasley can get playing time and Utah State can also get younger running backs and receivers in in order to build experience so they are better prepared next season.

While this may not be as a significant game as Nevada vs San Jose State or Boise State vs Wyoming, it is a very important game for Frank Maile. Utah State still doesn’t have a full time head man and Maile can further make a case to be that head man with a season closing win.

Colorado State hasn’t done well in their first season with Steve Addazio as the Rams also only have one win but their one win did come against Wyoming. Other than the Boise State game where the Broncos scored 21 points on blocked kicks, Colorado State has played their opponents close. They can make plays defensively but like Utah State, Colorado State has at times struggled offensively. 13.5 points to Colorado State seems like a very generous spread. While the game will in all likelihood be closer than the point spread indicates, I trust Colorado State more at this point on offense and on defense.

Utah State 24, Colorado State 31