Saturday, September 18, 2021

2021 Rams Recap - Week 2 - This SECs

I spent a chunk of last Saturday watching the Rams give away their only winnable non-conference game. 

I spent a chunk of last Sunday looking for a win on the remaining schedule. 

We are in trouble, folks. 

Vanderbilt is in (arguably) the best football conference in the country. Surprisingly, they are also incredibly terrible at football and have been for years. In 2019, they were 3-9. In 2020, they were 0-9. In 2021, they lost to mediocre FCS East Tennessee State University in their opening game before heading to Fort Collins. Everything was set up for an easy victory for the Rams and the first half played right into the predicted narrative. Despite two missed field goals, CSU had a 14 point lead when a Ryan Stonehouse punt was tipped and redirected out of bounds near midfield with 1:57 left in the second quarter. The Commodores walked down the field, scored their first points to make it a 7 point deficit at the half, and changed the vibe of the entire game. 

After halftime, the Commodores made adjustments to their failing game plan. The Rams... did not. An early second half Centeio interception led to the tying Commodores score. Then they took the lead with a touchdown on their next possession. Punts were exchanged for a majority of the second half until the Rams reached desperation mode and drove the field to tie the game with a Trey McBride (still really good) touchdown on fourth down. Unfortunately, the Rams left 3:00 on the clock, which Vanderbilt used to get into field goal range, kick a 38 yard field goal, leave 0:19 for the Rams to do nothing with, and tear the hearts out of fans already beaten down and abused by their football program. 

- The Rams racked up 115 yards of penalties including two targeting calls. 

- The secondary continues to be bad - pass interference calls, blow coverages, and open receivers downfield. 

- The Rams missed two field goals in the first half. 

- Dante Wright got hurt. 

- The coaching staff continues to lean on their guys - transfers from Temple and Boston College who just are not getting it done.

- That misplaced loyalty applies to one of the most frustrating positions thus far: the quarterback play was bad. No better way to explain it than this stat: the Rams were 4 of 15 on 3rd down. 

But we should talk about the positives, right coach?

The coach is out here yelling at reporters for asking questions of a coach who has gone 1-5 in his time here, has been an average (at best) head football coach for his entire career, just lost to a team who has not won a football game in two years, and all while the landscape of college athletics is shifting while CSU's terrible football program keeps us on the outside looking in. But yeah, let's focus on the positives... 

Here is a positive, coach. Ryan Stonehouse is a goddamn beast. 

I know we are are only two games into the season but any hope for success is waning rapidly. This is a bad team being coached by a staff that I do not trust to make the improvements across the roster to change the results. I definitely do not trust the staff to make the best decision for the program by making a change at quarterback. Addazio remains ridiculously loyal to Centeio, despite his obvious shortcomings. Addazio will continue to blame the losses on injuries or suspensions or whatever deflects away from the real problem - a mediocre coach struggling to lift up a football program that has been in the dumps for years. Vivens has been the most explosive runner out of the backfield, yet carries for both Vivens and McElroy are hard to come by. The supposed strengths of the program (specifically the OL) has been porous. Our vaunted defensive front has not been able to overcome the shortcomings of the secondary. Our kicker is a liability. And our quarterback is not good enough - his limitations restrict what the offense can do and opposing defenses can feast on our scheme. We are over it. 

Back to my earlier statement: where can CSU dig up a win in the remaining schedule? My preseason post predicted four Rams victories coming over Vanderbilt, New Mexico, Utah State, and Hawaii. We just lost the first of those games and the other three do not look promising. All three remaining games are on the road. New Mexico is sick of losing to CSU and will have extra motivation to beat the dead horse that is this Addazio-helmed squad. Utah State is 2-0, including a butt-kicking of North Dakota and a three point win on the road against the Cougars of Washington State. The Aggies were a question mark coming into the season, but early returns are showing that they are not the garbage team everyone anticipated to see this season. Hawaii lost their first game to top-25 UCLA, dominated their next contest in a barn burner over Portland State, then lost to the Oregon State Beavers in Corvallis. Hawaii historically has been a pass-heavy squad, which matches well with the weak secondary unit of the Rams. We might be staring down the barrel of an 0-12 team. Would that be enough to bid adieu to Addazio? 

We continue our quest for a singular win with a trip to Ohio, to face off against the Rockets of Toledo. Toledo is no joke, having just faced off against Notre Dame in South Bend and nearly pulling the upset.  Their three point loss against a top 15 program is a good sign that the folks betting for Toledo to cover the -14.5 point are in good shape. I'd love to be proven wrong, but until then this SECs. 

Flick's Picks

I was right until the Rams decided to not win the ball game in the second half. 

WeekOpponentPredictionResultFlick's Picks
1South Dakota StateLSDSU 42 - CSU 231 - 0
2VanderbiltWVU 24 - CSU 211 - 1
3at ToledoL
4at IowaL
6San Jose StateL
7at New MexicoW
8at Utah StateW
9Boise StateL
10at WyomingL
11Air ForceW
12at HawaiiW

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