Friday, November 08, 2019

2019 Ram Recap - Week 4 - Rocketed

So we are doing this again, huh? The Toledo Rockets came into Fort Collins late on Saturday night to finish up the non-conference slate for my Rams and boy did that game disappoint. While Toledo is a quality opponent, CSU should beat a MAC team at home. The loss drops the Rams to 1-3 and (most importantly) marks the first of my incorrect predictions this season. I am irate. 

Going into this contest, there was high probability of a shootout with CSU's defense showing limited signs of life this season and a Toledo offense that has accumulated yards and scores with ease over the past calendar year. The first half was surprisingly low scoring, with Toledo holding a 14-13 lead. With an offense that looked good despite playing its backup quarterback, we hoped that maybe the Rams could reverse their disastrous second half trends from this season. 

As ESPN hates the fact that my entire family has season tickets, the game was scheduled to start at 8:15, got delayed until 8:30, and had more penalties and television breaks than normal. As a result, we took a cue from our cranky kid (just one, the other two were fine) and left the game toward the beginning of the third quarter during a stretch of the game when neither team wanted to play defense. When the dust settled at the end of the third quarter, Toledo scored 21 points in the quarter, rushed for over 200 yards in the quarter, and exposed the CSU defense once again. A back and forth battle in the fourth quarter produced drama as the Rams got the ball back down six with 31 seconds left in the game. A few plays later, the fate of the game rested on a single play from the 25 yard line - Patrick O'Brien connected with EJ Scott and he was brought down... at the 2 yard line. Toledo wins. 

The positives:

  • The offense still looked good with Patrick O'Brien at the helm. While his ability to throw on the move is significantly less than Collin Hill's, he made some good throws throughout the game. As a unit, they put up 35 points and generated 694 yards of offense. That should be sufficient to win a football game. 
  • Marvin. Kinsey. Junior. Or as we like to say after the CU announcer debacle: Marvlin. Kinsley. Junlior. Whatever you call him, the dude can tote the rock. Twenty three carries. Two hundred forty-six yards. Two touchdowns. The man is on a mission in his senior season to show that he is worthy of a look at the next level. 
  • Warren Jackson frequently made the Toledo defensive backs look foolish, either making a catch over a scrambling cornerback or forcing a scrambling cornerback to commit pass interference.
  • The offense only had one turnover - a Patrick O'Brien interception late in the first half. The running backs and receivers held onto the ball and limited the opportunities for Toledo to turn the tide of the contest with a takeaway. 
  • This picture:
Courtesy of Colorado State University

The negatives: 

  • The defense (if you can even call it that) was atrocious. Toledo ran at will, both with running back Bryant Koback (a Kentucky Wildcat transfer who amassed 228 yards and 3 TDs on 19 carries) and quarterback Mitchell Guadagni (119 yards, 1 TD, 12 carries). 
  • A bad defense can totally redeem itself if it has an ability to generate turnovers. CSU cannot get a turnover to save their lives (or John Jancek's job, currently). 
  • There were four, yes four, illegal formation penalties on the Rams for having more than four players off the line of scrimmage. Four times the Rams pushed themselves backwards because someone did not know where to stand. 
  • This was not a disciplined football game on either side. The Rams had an additional 7 penalties on top of the illegal formation penalties for a total of 11 penalties for 82 yards. Team discipline on the field has been an issue throughout the Mike Bobo era and it continues to frustrate the Ram faithful. 
  • At the end of the half, Nate Craig-Myers caught a Patrick O'Brien pass at the 2 yard line as time expired. At the end of the game, EJ Scott caught a Patrick O'Brien pass at the 2 yard line as time expired. In both of those situations, (a) Patrick O'Brien needs to get the ball to his receivers over the goal line and (b) the receivers should not be running short of the end zone. Little details make the difference between a win and a loss and the same mistake happened twice in one game. 
  • We forgot the football-shaped cookies for our tailgate at our house. 
  • I ate like three of those sadness cookies as time expired. The Rams' poor play is going to make me gain weight.  
  • The Arkansas team that thumped the Rams in the fourth quarter last week lost at home to the former doormat of the Mountain West Conference, the San Jose State Spartans. 
  • The Rams lost at home to Toledo. 
  • The Rams might now be the doormat of the Mountain West Conference. 

Up Next - Week 5

Conference play begins this week with a trip to Logan to face the other Aggies in the conference - Utah State. This past weekend, Utah State won on the road against conference foe San Diego State. To increase the degree of difficulty, Marvin Kinsey, Warren Jackson, Ellison Hubbard, and Toby McBride are all questionable/doubtful for this upcoming game.  I have a hard time seeing how the Rams leave Utah with a victory. 

To be quite honest, my relatively tempered expectations for the Rams this year might not be able to be met. Our defensive play will not allow us to be competitive as we face the other "State" schools (Utah, Boise, Fresno, San Diego) or rivalry schools (Air Force, Wyoming). The two other downtrodden programs that we face this year (New Mexico, UNLV) might be our only chances at victories the rest of this season. That is pathetic. Would Bobo be able to survive another 3-9 season? I would venture to guess that he would not. Will Bobo make some changes mid-season to try and right the ship? The obvious answer is to fire John Jancek, but I do not know if that will help. Who on the staff could slide into the defensive coordinator role and make an impact? I have no idea. Regardless, Bobo's future in Fort Collins now rests on the performance of his coaches and players over the next 8 games. 

Flick's Picks

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 StateL

6San Diego StateL
7at New MexicoW
9at Fresno StateL
12Air ForceW
13at WyomingW
14Boise StateL

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