The Jay Norvell era begins with a Week 1 matchup in The Big House against the Michigan Wolverines. As you can imagine, the Rams are huge underdogs in this one, as Michigan is the 8th ranked team in the country coming into the year, while CSU is in the first year of a coaching transition after a disasterous 2021 season.
The Rams have felt like a rejuvinated squad throughout Spring and Fall camp, and with new players at key positions heading into the year, Colorado State is a bit of a mystery. Can the Rams shock the world in Ann Arbor?
Colorado State at Michigan
Location: Ann Arbor, Michigan
Line: Michigan (-30.5)
Date/Time: Saturday, September 3rd at 10:00 A.M. MST
Three things to watch for:
1. Can Colorado State compete with Michigan’s Front 7?
Watch any smaller conference team try to matchup up with an established Big Ten or SEC team, and if you’re paying close attention, one thing always stands out: The massive advantage these schools have up front.
Suffice it to say, Michigan’s front 7 will be a challenge all day for CSU.
The Wolverines lost key players in Aiden Hutchinson (2nd overall pick) and David Ojabo (2nd round, 45th overall pick) to the NFL, but they still have an intimidating defensive line and linebacking corps. Michigan will be a little less experienced this year on the defensive side, but they will have the same freak athletes they’ve had in years past.
Meanwhile, the Rams have experience on the O-line, combining for 95 starts between the 5 of them. Let’s hope that experience limits the havoc Michigan is capable of causing in the backfield.
2. How’s Redshirt Freshman Quarterback Clay Millen going to stack up in his first college start?
The promising young prospect was named the starting Quarterback in Spring camp and gets to start his first college game in The Big House against an intimidating defense in Michigan.
Ram fans are excited about Millen. He’s a 6’3, 210 pound pocket passer with a rocket arm. A complete reversal of what CSU has had the last couple of years. He waited his turn and learned behind 2X MWC Offensive Player of the Year Carson Strong last year at Nevada, maintaining his redshirt freshman status for 2022 in the process.
Clay Millen is exciting, but is he ready for what he’s going to face in Ann Arbor on Saturday?
3. Can an experienced Rams defense slow down Michigan’s offense?
So apparantly Michigan is going to play two quarterbacks this year. Last years starter Cade McNamara and a highly touted recruit in J.J. McCarthy. Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh went as far as referring to his quarterback situation as biblical. Ram fans are hoping Harbaugh’s indecision comes back to bite them. You know how the saying goes: When you have two quarterbacks, you actually have none.
As far as thier skill positions go, as you can imagine, Michigan has freak athletes at running back, wide reciever, and tight end. Additionally, their offensive line is incredibly powerful, bringing back a lot of experience that allowed their running backs to gain 2.4 yards before contact last year.
So yes, the Rams will have thier hands full with Michigan’s offensive firepower.
But can they slow them down?
I think so.
CSU has athletes on defense. They have excellent pass rushers in Mohamed Kamara and CJ Onyechi, and they have a solid Linebacking corps and a secondary led by star Sophomore Jack Howell.
Can the Rams nuetrilize this powerful Michigan offense? Of course not. Can they make it difficult for the Wolverines to put points on the board every drive? Absolutely.
Michigan: 35; Colorado State: 14