Friday, November 08, 2019

2019 Ram Recap - Week 10 - Rebel Scum

Week 10 - University of Nevada Las Vegas

I knew that cutting DirecTV out of my life would cause some frustrations in my sports fan life. I knew that the streaming options did not include Altitude Sports or AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain. I knew that the desire to watch the Rockies/Nuggets/Avalanche would loom in the back of my mind. But I had prepared myself for that and I knew that the amount of money saved and the freedom that came from a contract-free life would offset those woes. But I had not planned on missing a CSU home game that was being broadcast by ATTSNRM. Fortunately, I had the sultry sounds of Brian Roth to give me the necessary play-by-play calls of my favorite team.

Roth's pregame banter during the coin flip included a conversation about UNLV's decision to defer. In previous weeks, CSU has shot out of the gate and produced early points that dictated the pace of the game. Roth and crew commented that they were surprised that UNLV, having won the toss, had not elected to take the ball to change that trend. Only a few short moments later, Anthony Hawkins was cruising into the endzone at the tail end of a 99 yard kickoff return for a touchdown putting the Rams up 7-0. The lead was never relinquished and the Rams dominated the game.

The Positives:

  • When the Rams score early, good things happen. The quick points from the Hawkins kickoff return was followed by a touchdown on the subsequent drive to put the Rams up two scores. The early success resulted in confidence on both sides of the ball and truly the best overall game of the year for the team. 
  • Patrick O'Brien continues to improve with extended time behind center. O'Brien has shown some flashes of why Nebraska recruited him in the first place - he is calm and composed in the pocket, uses his feet enough to stay out of trouble, makes smart decisions, and throws a nice ball. His numbers were not gaudy (17/27, 234 yards, 0 TDs, 0 INTs), but he limited mistakes and distributed the ball well. 
  • The receiving corps again looks like a strength. Warren Jackson (another ho-hum 6 reception, 133 yard day for him) clearly is the alpha in this unit, but six other players caught balls on the day. 
  • Speaking of Warren Jackson - his 133 yards put him at 657 yards over a consecutive four game span. That broke the previous CSU record of 644 yards, set by Michael Gallup in 2017. Warren Jackson is good at football. My co-worker (and PA announcer for the CSU women's basketball team) asked me if Jackson would declare for the draft after this season. I
  • Freshman Christian Hunter got the bulk of the carries at tailback and scored his first career touchdown. Hunter, Thomas, and McElroy have given CSU quality production from the backfield after Marvin Kinsey's suspension. All three running backs showed up in the scoring summary this week, as well. 
  • Last year's safety tandem of Jamal Hicks and Jordan Fogel had a ton of potential, but mostly made me want to pull my hair out. They consistently were out of position, missed tackles, and allowed receivers to get behind them. This season, Hicks has become one of the best players on the field. He is rarely out of place in the secondary, he has been great both in run support and in pass coverage, he wraps up and finishes tackles. It has been fun to watch his transformation into an impact player in his senior season.  
  • Justice McCoy got an appearance late in the game with the Rams comfortably ahead. He completed a couple passes and was at the helm of a fourth quarter touchdown drive to extend the Ram lead to 27 points. For a guy in his third year with the program and who had a disastrous inaugural appearance a few weeks ago, it was nice to see him back on the field and having a positive experience. 
  • The State Pride jerseys. Good lord, these are some of the cleanest and nicest alternate jerseys in college football. So nice. 
  • Yeah, those jerseys... 

The Negatives: 

  • The Rams were favored against UNLV. They dominated end to end. They won by 20 points. All 17 UNLV points came in the second half of the game after CSU had already built a commanding lead. It was the third Ram win in a row. I do not feel like I need to put anything in this section. Except... 
  • I was not there. C'est la vie avec les enfants. 

Up Next - Weeks 11 and 12:

For the second time during this three game win streak, the Rams have a weekend off. Normally I would complain about a bye during a winning streak, but the Rams are going to need to be rested as they face their final three opponents. If the Rams wish to play a 13th game this season, they still need two more victories. They have three more games. But those three games come against teams with a history of success against Bobo's boys - the first of those against the cadets of the United States Chair Force. The last CSU victory over Air Force came in 2015 in Fort Collins; Bobo's first year as the head ball coach. The three subsequent battles for the Ram-Falcon trophy have been horrible to watch, mostly because of the defense's inability to stop the triple option. The good news going into this contest is that the game is in Fort Collins and the CSU defense is playing its best football of the year. The major problems with defending a triple-option offense (over pursuit, lack of discipline, poor tackling, etc) have been cleaned up in the latter half of the season. Hopefully, this means that the Rams can somewhat stifle a Falcon offense that has averaged 35 points per game. They have also beat all the common opponents (beating CU in overtime and creaming both Utah State and Fresno State).

If the Ram's fall to the Falcons next weekend, bowl eligibility is basically gone. The Rams would have to win a rivalry game on the road and beat a top 25 team at home (one in which they have NEVER beaten). As a result, the Air Force game is a must-win for the Rams. Here's hoping my predictions hold true the next two weeks, then fall flat on their face in the finale.

#GoRams

WeekOpponentPredictionResultFlick's Picks
1Colorado (Denver)LCU 52 - CSU 311 - 0
2Western IllinoisWCSU 38 - WIU 132 - 0
3at ArkansasLUA 55 - CSU 343 - 0
4ToledoWUT 41 - CSU 353 - 1
5at Utah StateLUSU 34 - CSU 244 - 1
6San Diego StateLSDSU 24 - CSU 105 - 1
7at New MexicoWCSU 35 - UNM 216 - 1
8BYE------
9at Fresno StateLCSU 41 - FSU 316 - 2
10UNLVWCSU 37 - UNLV 177 - 2
11BYE--

12Air ForceW
13at WyomingW
14Boise StateL


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