Friday, November 08, 2019

2019 Ram Recap - Week 2 - What's a Leatherneck?

Well, that was needed... after nearly a year since the last CSU football victory (the last one coming on October 13, 2018), the Rams dominated their FCS foe from the opening kickoff and evened their record at 1-1. More importantly, the weather at Canvas Stadium was gorgeous as the hot afternoon sun slid behind the press box for most of the game. Most importantly, my predictions have gone 2-0. 

As we settled into our seats before kickoff and the Leathernecks deferred, I told Keith that the Rams should return the opening kickoff for a touchdown to get things started the right way. The opening kickoff was a touchback, so my dreams of a quick start evaporated. Ten game seconds later, Dante Wright was sprinting into the end zone with the football to cap off a meticulous and grinding one play, 75 yard touchdown drive. The Rams would never relinquish the lead and would cruise to an easy 38-13 victory. 

The positives:

  • Marvin Kinsey Jr. and Dante Wright are a threat to score at any moment. Each player had two touchdowns on the day - two touchdown receptions for Kinsey and one touchdown reception and one touchdown run for Wright. 
  • The control of the line of scrimmage on the offensive side of the ball continued from week one's loss. The offense was incredibly efficient and the big uglies did their job - creating wide running lanes for the backs and really limiting pressure on Collin Hill dropbacks. 
  • The offense is just fine. The Rams finished with 582 total yards with a healthy 47/53 pass/run split. The running game averaged over 5 yards per carry and they averaged over 12 yards per pass attempt. This was another well-called and well-executed offensive performance. 
  • Team tackling was better, specifically in the secondary. Jamal Hicks drew my ire repeatedly last year for trying to make the big hit only to let his man go for a long score. He clearly has readjusted his game to wrap up ball carriers and bring them to the ground. 
  • The defensive effort lasted the entire game. At the final whistle, CSU had accumulated seven sacks and ten tackles for a loss. The front seven provided the necessary push to pressure the WIU quarterback and stop plays in the backfield. This trend will need to continue on the road in Fayetteville next week. 
  • This team is full of fighters. Look at this touchdown reception for EJ Scott. He caught the ball at the six yard line. He was wrapped up at the five yard line. Then his offensive linemen and Marvin Kinsey and Adam Prentice joined the fray. The ball popped out, but not before Scott had crossed the goal line. Extra effort like that does not have a huge impact on a game like this one, but that mentality will be huge for games against the quality teams on the rest of the schedule. 

The negatives:

  • TURNOVERS - once again the Rams lost the turnover battle. The Rams fumbled four times, losing two of them. One of the lost fumbles came on the first rushing attempt for Marcus McElroy, who sat out last week due to an ankle injury. With as well as Kinsey has been playing, the other running backs cannot afford to make mistakes if they wish to stay on the field. Fortunately, CSU did force their first defensive turnover on the year when Jan-Phillip Bombek had a strip sack of Connor Sampson and fell on the loose ball. 
  • I did not see Champ Bailey in Canvas Stadium. However, I did see his wife and Keevan at Wing Shack after the game. By the way - the true freshman had a solid game, recording four total tackles including a sack and a tackle for a loss. 
    Courtesy of @JoelDreessen

Up next - Week 3

The Rams head out to SEC country to complete the home-and-home series with the Razorbacks of Arkansas. Last year's thrilling victory in Canvas Stadium was a highlight of a disappointing Rams season and Arkansas has all the motivation in the world to avenge their 2018 defeat. But the Razorbacks are still bad - they beat Portland State to kick off their season. They won by a touchdown. At home. Against an FCS school. At home. In Fayetteville. At home. They won by seven. At home. Against an FCS school. They followed up that impressive victory by getting thumped by Ol' Miss. I'm not sure what to expect from this game, but I hope the Rams can pull off another SEC win this season.

WeekOpponentPredictionResultFlick's Picks
1Colorado (Denver)LCU 52 - CSU 311 - 0
2Western IllinoisWCSU 38 - WIU 132 - 0
3at ArkansasL
5at Utah StateL
6San Diego StateL
7at New MexicoW
9at Fresno StateL
12Air ForceW
13at WyomingW
14Boise StateL

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