2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 1 - Colorado St at New Mexico
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Sept. 3 Colorado State 14 ... at New Mexico 10
CFN Analysis: It wasn't exactly the offensive performance Colorado State would've liked, even though Pete Thomas completed 22-of-26 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown, but the defense was phenomenal. The front seven attacked, attacked, and attacked some more with seven sacks led by a tremendous day from Nordly Capi, who came up with three sacks and seven tackles as he helped keep the Lobo offense from ever getting on track. The Ram running game wasn't there with Raymond Carter coming up with just 46 yards and Chris Nwoke pounding out 46 yards, while Thomas got nothing going deep. The short passing game was fine, but too many drives stalled and the points were too hard to come by. Coming up with just 270 yards against New Mexico is a warning flag.
The Lobo defense did a nice job. Carmen Messina was Carmen Messina with eight tackles and two tackles for loss, and there were enough defensive stops to keep the team in the game, but the offense sputtered and coughed against the CSU pass rush. Tarean Austin didn't have time to breathe, and while he ran well and tried to make things happen, he took way too many sacks. Unfortunately, Arkansas and Texas Tech are up next, and if New Mexico can't come up with any firepower, and a better blocking scheme, each of those could be 50 point blowouts.
(AP) ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Defensive lineman Nordly Capi forced and recovered a fumble in the closing seconds Saturday to preserve Colorado State's 14-10 victory over New Mexico.
With New Mexico at the Rams 15 with 23 seconds left, Capi stripped quarterback Tarean Austin, then fell on the ball to thwart the Lobos' last chance.
Chris Nwoke's 2-yard touchdown run with 7:17 remaining in the fourth quarter put the Rams up in the season and Mountain West opener for both teams.
After a scoreless first quarter that featured a missed field goal by each team, both squads found the end zone in the second quarter.
With 2:37 left in the half, Colorado State receiver Crockett Gillmore out-jumped defensive back A.J. Butler in the end zone for a 33-yard score.
The Lobos moved right back down the field in five plays, capping the drive with a 27-yard pass from Austin to Lamaar Thomas.
State (0-0) vs. New Mexico (0-0) Sept. 3
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Here's The Deal … If there's such a thing as a must-win conference game on September 3rd, this is it. Both teams are coming off of disastrous seasons, and both programs have head coaches on the hot seat.
New Mexico, who has only won two games in two seasons under Mike Locksley, with one coming against CSU in 2009, has to face Arkansas and Texas Tech in the next two games before things ease up a bit. Colorado State gets a much easier road with Northern Colorado, Utah State, and San Jose State, to go along with the rivalry game against Colorado, meaning a win in Albuquerque could mean a big start and could be all the team needs to get the momentum started.
Neither program has known much success over the last few seasons, and each will sell out to try to win a game that goes down in the winnable category. Last year, the Rams rolled over the Lobos in a 38-14 blowout, while UNM won a 29-27 thriller in 2009. The home team has won the last four games in the series, and while neither team will be in the hunt for the Mountain West title, winning this game should do wonders. Both programs need a shot of confidence, but the loser could go into the tank in a hurry.
Why Colorado State Might Win: The Lobo defensive line might be a disaster. Jonathan Rainey isn't returning this year after suffering a broken neck, a few end prospects – J.J. Hugine and Omar Castillo – never became a part of the team and are gone, and key backups Brett Kennedy and Fatu Ulala are already banged up. The biggest killer is the loss of Calvin Smith, a one-time superstar tackle recruit who bolted from the program in early August. Considering the Colorado State offensive line was awful last season, allowing 44 sacks, any break it can get to start the season will help. Four starters are back, up front, and while the running game isn't going to do too much, it'll be as effective as it'll be all season long. If the Rams can't run on the Lobo line
and a run defense that was dead last in America last
year, it's not going to be able to do too much on the ground against anyone.
Why New Mexico Might Win: The New Mexico passing game shouldn't have to worry too much about a pass rush. For all the problems the Lobos had last year, the pass protection didn't turn out to be all that bad. While it's not going to be a rock, it should be able to do a decent job against a Ram front four – and occasionally a front three – that was a nightmare against the run last year and doesn't look like it should be able to get into the backfield on a regular basis. Despite the lack of production last year – finishing last in the nation in total offense and 116th in scoring offense – the Lobo offense finally appears to have a little bit of firepower. The receiving corps has the potential to be the team's breakout unit; the pieces are there to start moving the ball through the air.
What To Watch Out For: It's possible that Colorado State has a superstar ready to break out. As a true freshman, quarterback Pete Thomas showed the upside to be a franchise-maker, and if he's the real deal, this is the type of game he has to dominate in. At 6-5 and 219 pounds, he has prototype size, a terrific arm, and the pro-style passing skills that could quickly make him a hot prospect with a little more time and seasoning. He completed 65% of his throws for 2,662 yards and 11 touchdowns, but he threw 13 interceptions. Youth and inexperience were a problem, but he didn't get any help behind a porous offensive front, and his receiving corps was mediocre. He's the franchise now, and everything is going to be geared around making tapping in to his immense talent.
On the other side, with Stump Godfrey transferring – considering the writing was on the wall and he was going to be the team's No. 3 quarterback – the pressure is on B.R. Holbrook to not only produce, but to also stay healthy. He started seven games before getting hurt, and he struggled completing 53% of his passes for a team-leading 619 yards and two scores and six picks. At 6-3 and 181 pounds he's a tall, thin passer with a good live arm, but he's not a runner. He struggled to stay healthy getting beaten up and battered, but as long as he's up and kicking he'll be the main man with the best knowledge of the attack.
What Will Happen: This isn't exactly going to be a classic,
but both teams are just mediocre enough to come up
with a good, tight battle. The New Mexico defensive
front won't touch Thomas, and it'll show as the Rams
come up with big numbers and set a pace the Lobos
won't be able to follow. New Mexico won't look as
woeful as it did last year, but it won't come up
with the even game needed.
CFN Prediction: Colorado State 31 ... New Mexico 17
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