Utah State is now 4-2 (2-1) going into the end of October and they have succeeded expectations so far. The Aggies have notable wins over Washington State and Air Force and also wins over North Dakota and UNLV. This week the Aggies head back home to host Colorado State, who is now 3-3 and undefeated in conference play.
Colorado State vs Utah State
Location: Logan, Utah
Line: Colorado State (-3.5)
Date/Time: Friday, October 22nd
Television: CBS Sports Network
Head-to-Head: Colorado State leads the series 39-35 with their most recent win coming in 2017 in a 27-14 game in Logan. Utah State won the most recent matchup against the Rams 34-24 in Logan. Since 2013, Utah State is 4-3 against the Rams, grabbing wins in 2019, 2018, 2015, and 2013. An interesting statistic is that only one of those wins came on the road while Utah State has been 3-2 in Logan.
Three Things to Watch Out For:
1. Start Fast
This is going to be key for a Utah State victory. The Aggies went down 17-7 in the first quarter against UNLV. Against Boise State and BYU the Aggies went down 10-0 and 10-3 at the end of the first quarter respectively. If the Aggies want to have a legitimate shot at winning this important game against Colorado State they need to get off to a faster start and put some points up in the first quarter. The faster Utah State falls starts this game the better chance they have.
2. Prevent the big play
Against Boise State, BYU, and even UNLV, the Aggies defense has let up big plays on defense in critical moments. For a team like Colorado State that is exceeding expectations and has a good amount of confidence coming into this one, the Aggies cannot afford to give up a 75 yard run like they did last week or allow a big play in the passing game. Todd Centeio has proven to be a play maker for Colorado State at quarterback throwing for 1,328 yards and six touchdowns, so that will be something to keep an eye on.
3. Avoid the turnovers
So far this season, one of the low points as been the turnovers. Games against Boise State and BYU could have turned out differently if the turnovers weren’t a problem in key moments. The Broncos forced three turnovers in their 27-3 victory over Utah State and BYU was able to get two interceptions that made a difference in the Cougar’s 34-20 victory. The point is turnovers in critical moments can’t happen. The Aggies also need to do a better job of forcing more turnovers to get more opportunities.
Things are still looking decent for Utah State with one loss in conference play but these are the type of games that make a difference. Right now this is going to mean the difference of first place or second place in the Mountain West since they own the tie-breaker over Air Force. Colorado State, as previously stated, has been surprising this year and is going to come into the game with confidence.
Logan Bonner has been inconsistent at times and Utah State will need him to be on his game to have a chance. The Aggies also need to force more turnovers on defense to keep the ball out of the hands of the Colorado State offense.
This should be a hard fought game but coming off the close win against UNLV, I expect Utah State to have enough motivation and confidence to pull out another one late and continue to make their spot at the top of the division.
Prediction: Utah State: 27; Colorado State: 21