2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 4 - Colorado St at Utah State
Mountain West Fearless Predictions &
WAC Fearless Predictions &
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Sept. 24 Colorado State 35 … at Utah State 34 2OT
CFN Analysis: This was the gut-check win the Rams have been missing under Steve Fairchild. The offense managed to come up with the big late drive and the late touchdown to force overtime, using Chris Nwoke and a power running game that’s been missing, and Pete Thomas was cool and calm when he had to be even though the passing attack wasn’t working. The four takeaways were a huge help, and the run defense wasn’t as bad as the stat-sheet looks, giving up 281 yards and five scores. With star linebacker Mychal Sisson done for the year, others started to pick up the slack with Shaquil Barrett making 14 tackles and a sack and James Skelton coming up with ten. The Rams can hit the layup against San Jose State, they’ll be 4-1 with Boise State coming to town. With dates against UTEP, UNLV and Wyoming still to deal with, a winning season and a bowl game are musts.
Utah State should be 3-0. Not only did it gag away the Auburn game, but now it gave up the overtime loss to Colorado State with four fumbles and a second defensive collapse on a final drive in three games. Bobby Wagner came up with a huge game, making 18 tackles, and Robert Turbin was phenomenal with 115 yards and four touchdowns on 24 carries, but the turnovers were too costly and the defense has to be stronger in the fourth quarter. The offense might be playing well, but with a date at BYU looming, the Aggies desperately need to pull off the road upset.
(AP) LOGAN, Utah -- Chris Nwoke scored a touchdown in overtime and ran for another with less than a minute in regulation to push Colorado State past Utah State 35-34 on Saturday night.
USU (1-2) went for a two-point conversion after its second touchdown in overtime, but Robert Turbin was stopped by the Rams (3-1) on his running attempt.
Turbin had scored both of USU's overtime TDs, including a 25-yard run. Crock Gilmore caught a 7-yard pass from Pete Thomas for CSU's second overtime touchdown.
After losing yardage on a sack and a personal foul penalty, CSU punted with 2:17 to play. USU's Eric Moats dropped the punt, his second fumble of a punt in the game, giving the Rams the ball on the 15-yard line. Nwoke then made a 7-yard run, followed by a 1-yard plunge to bring the score to 21-19.
Colorado State (2-1) at Utah State (1-1) Sept. 24, 8:00, ESPN3
Here’s The Deal … This might turn out to be among the most entertaining games of the weekend between two teams with bad recent histories and hot starts.
No matter what happens the rest of the season, Utah State’s 2011 will defined by the gag – and it was a gag – against Auburn in the stunning opener, but the spread attack bounced back just fine to blow away Weber State 54-17 to get over the pain. WAC play doesn’t kick in until mid-October against Fresno State, but for now, every win is precious in the attempt to finally get to a bowl game and to show that in the new WAC, whatever that might be next year and going forward, this could be the power program.
Colorado State’s good start was derailed by devastating defensive injuries to end Broderick Sargent and linebacker Mychael Sisson, and after losing to rival Colorado last week, the program has to quickly pull up out of the nosedive or else memories of 2009 – collapsing after a promising 3-0 start - will begin to be creep in. The Rams get this and a tune-up against San Jose State before diving into Mountain West play against Boise State, but first, the offense has to be better, the defense has to patch the holes, and the team has to prove it can keep up with the suddenly unstoppable Aggies.
Why Colorado State Might Win: Dink … dunk … dink … dunk. The best player on the first might be CSU quarterback Pete Thomas, who hasn’t exactly set the world on first so far this season thanks to a receiving corps that hasn’t done much to help the cause. The Rams haven’t put up big yards though the air, but they have a decent enough short to midrange passing game to potentially control the ball and the clock. Utah State’s pass defense was fine against Weber State, but in the clutch, Auburn was able to pick it apart. Thomas, if he gets time, should have a big game.
Defensively, Colorado State is generating enough of a pass rush and enough of a push to potentially stop Chuckie Keeton before he gets started. Give the Utah State ground game time to work, and it’ll be deadly. The athleticism is there up front for the Rams to keep that from happening. However …
Why Utah State Might Win: The Colorado State defensive front, without Sisson, isn’t the same. While the Rams haven’t been gouged, and Colorado was held to 145 yards on the ground last week, Utah State’s offensive line is playing at a ridiculously high level. Auburn’s defensive line has apparently decided to take the first month of the season off, but still, the Aggie offensive line was dominant against an SEC line full of SEC talent. If the Utah State offense is working like it did over the first two weeks, Colorado State will be hit be a storm, and the offense doesn’t have nearly enough firepower to keep up the pace.
The Aggie ground game has been special, scoring five touchdowns in each of the first two games and rolling at will on Weber State for 440 yards last week. Colorado State’s offense might be able to play a little ball control, and it can be balanced at times, but there’s no one who can hit the home run. If Utah State puts two touchdowns on the board in the first half, the Rams will be scrambling.
What To Watch Out For: Part running back and part receiver, Kerwynn Williams has been able to do a little of everything for the Aggie offense over the last few years. Now the offense is absolutely perfect for his talents as the No. 3 rushing option behind Robert Turbin and Chuckie Keeton. He got the ball in his hands ten times for 69 rushing yards and a score against Auburn, and two weeks ago he ripped off 65 yards on just four carries. The 5-9, 184-pound junior has lightning speed and is also an elite kick and punt returner.
Just when it seemed like Raymond Carter was going to take control of the Colorado State running game, he gets the ball just six times for 30 yards in the loss to Colorado. Against Northern Colorado he showed what he could do when he gets work, running 18 times for 100 yards and two scores, but the one time star recruit for UCLA isn’t getting fed the ball. He’ll have to be a factor to control the clock and keep Utah State’s offense off the field.
What Will Happen: Yes, the Utah State offense really is that good, and it’ll show why with a great first half that’ll put the game away almost immediately. Colorado State will try to bomb its way back into the game, and Thomas will throw for over 300 yards, but he won’t be able to keep up the pace.
CFN Prediction: Utah State 34 … Colorado State 17
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Utah State -9.5 O/U: 56
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