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CFN Take: CSU Shocks Wazzu In New Mexico

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Dec 21, 2013


Colorado State Rams 2013 ... Head Coach: Jim McElwain


Colorado State Rams

2013 Record: 8-6
9/1 Colorado L 41-27
9/7 at Tulsa L 30-27
9/14 Cal Poly W 34-17
9/21 at Alabama L 31-6
9/28 UTEP W 59-42
10/5 OPEN DATE
10/12 San Jose St L 34-27
10/19 at Wyoming W 52-22
10/26 at Hawaii W 35-28
11/2 Boise State L 42-30
11/9 Nevada W 38-17
11/16 at New Mexico W 66-42
11/23 at Utah State L 13-0
11/30 Air Force W 58-13
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
12/21 Washington State W 48-45
2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Colorado State 48, Washington State 45
Basically … In a wild and terrific game, Colorado State was down 15 points with just under three minutes to play, but the team came up with an improbable finish scoring 18 unanswered points starting with a 12-yard Jordon Vaden touchdown catch. A forced fumble led to a one-yard Kapri Bibbs run with 33 seconds to play to pull within two, and then Donnell Alexander dove to the pylon on the Statue of Liberty play – originally ruled no good but later reversed – for the two point conversion and, seemingly, overtime. Not quite. Washington State’s Teondray Caldwell fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Colorado State pounced with Jared Roberts kicking the game-winning 41-yard field goal as time ran out.

- Washington State had a 35-13 lead midway through the second quarter in what looked like a possible route, but managed just ten points the rest of the way with Connor Halliday finding Isiah Myers for a 22-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to apparently stop the bleeding. And then came the Ram run.
- Colorado State RB Kapri Bibbs ran 27 times for 169 yards and three touchdowns with two one-yarders and a 75-yard dash.
- Washington State was held to -10 yard rushing. Colorado State gained 595 yards with 226 on the ground.
- Washington State QB Connor Holliday completed 37-of-58 passes for 410 yards and six touchdowns with a pick.

at Colorado State 58, Air Force 13
Basically … A banged up Kapri Bibbs played, scoring three times and Garrett Grayson threw three touchdown passes as Colorado State scored the first 58 points of the game and coasted in the fourth. Rashard Higgins scored on touchdown catches from 23 and 19 yards away, and Jordon Vaden scored on a 49-yard play in the blowout to make the Rams bowl eligible.
- Colorado State outgained Air Force 629 yards to 279.
- Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson completed 26-of-34 passes for 395 yards and three scores, and he ran four times for 26 yards and a touchdown.
- Air Force QB Nick Romine completed 7-of-13 passes for 69 yards.
- Colorado State RB Kapri Bibbs ran 16 times for 79 yards and three scores.

Colorado State 66, at New Mexico 42
Basically … Kapri Bibbs ran for scores from 11, 27, one, seven, 26 and 18 yards out, with his last three touchdown runs accounting for a run of 21 unanswered points to break the game open in the fourth quarter. Garrett Grayson threw two of his three touchdown passes in the first quarter to give the Rams a 14-0 lead, but New Mexico hung around with a Carlos Wiggins kickoff return for a touchdown and helped by to Cole Gautsche touchdown passes including a 50-yarder to Reece White. In a wild third quarter, the two teams traded scoring punches back and forth, but it was all Bibbs in the fourth.
- Colorado State RB Kapri Bibbs ran 38 times for 291 yards and six touchdowns
- New Mexico QB Cole Gautsche completed 6-of-9 passes for 133 yards and two scores with two picks, and ran 11 times for 60 yards.
- Rushing yards: Colorado State 347, New Mexico 278
- Colorado State converted 8-of-11 third down chances. New Mexico converted 5-of-10.

at Colorado State 38, Nevada 17
Basically … Nevada was up 17-16 late in the third quarter as Cody Fajardo ran for a 68-yard touchdown and Chris Solomon ran for a one-yard score, and then it was all Kapri Bibbs. The Ram running back tore off 312 yards for the game and had a 28-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, and then he came up with three straight touchdown runs from 59, one and 85 yards away as part of 22 unanswered points. Jared Roberts hit three field goals for the Rams.
- Colorado State RB Kapri Bibbs ran 30 times for 312 yards and four touchdowns.
- Nevada QB Cody Fajardo completed 31-of-46 passes for 246 yards, and he ran 13 times for 87 yards and a score.
- Nevada WR Hasaan Henderson caught ten passes for 110 yards.
- Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson completed 20-of-27 passes for 239 yards with a pick.

Boise State 42, at Colorado State 30
Basically … Grant Hedrick ran for a two-yard score and threw five touchdown passes with two to Matt Miller from 15 and 13 yards away, and he connected with Shane Williams-Rhodes from 68 yards out as Boise State overcame a 14-0 deficit to bomb past the Rams. Kapri Bibbs ran for three short scores with two coming in the fourth to close the lead to 12, but CSU couldn’t get any closer. Garrett Grayson threw for 397 yards and found Charles Lovett for a seven-yard touchdown, but the Rams turned the ball over twice as Boise State scored 28 straight points to take a commanding lead in the second half.
- Boise State QB Grant Hedrick completed 19-of-27 passes for 305 yards and five scores, and he ran eight times for 30 yards and a touchdown.
- Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson completed 36-of-53 passes for 397 yards and a score with a pick.
- Boise State used punters Trevor Harman, Sean Wale combined with QB Grant Hedrick to put all five of their punts inside the 20 with Wale hitting a 63-yarder and Harman nailing one 51 yards.
- Colorado State outgained Boise State 626 yards to 437 and had the ball for 40 minutes to Boise State’s 20.

Colorado State 35, at Hawaii 28
Basically … Kapri Bibbs ran for 147 yards and three scores, and Max Morgan took a fumble 73 yards for a touchdown on the way to a 35-17 Colorado State lead, but Hawaii made it a game late with ten unanswered points in the fourth quarter on a Sean Schroeder two-yard run and a 20-yard Tyler Hadden field goal, but that was it. Four Hawaii field goals proved costly, killing a 349-yard passing day from Schroeder. Bibbs scored from five, ten and 13 yards out.

San Jose State 34, at Colorado State 27
Basically … David Fales bombed away for 431 yards with three very, very long touchdown passes, finding Jarrod Lawson for an 83-yard play in the first, Chandler Jones for a 77-yard touchdown in the second, and the game-winner to Tyler Winston from 62 yards out with less than six minutes to play in the game. Colorado State kept the pace in the first half with three Garrett Grayson touchdown passes with two to Kivon Cartwright from 50 and 35 yards out, but the offense only managed a 47-yard Jared Roberts field goal in the fourth.
- All of a sudden, San Jose State got the win that might really jumpstart the season. The Hawaii win was fine, but going 2-1 in Mountain West play with a second straight road win was a big deal, and now the potential is there to start dreaming of a bowl bid. David Fales was fantastic with 341 yards and three scores, but his receivers helped the cause with Tyler Winston catching eight passes for 151 yards and a score, and Jarrod Lawson catching three balls for 104 yards and a score.
- What happened to the secondary? San Jose State bombs away on everyone, but it was able to hit on some massive deep balls to change around the game. The Ram offense fell flat in the second half, and even though Garrett Grayson threw for 310 yards and three scores, and he spread the ball around well, drive after drive stalled. San Jose State converted on 11-of-18 third down chances, while CSU hit on 3-of-10 tries.

at Alabama 31, Colorado State 6
Basically … Alabama slogged its way through a mediocre performance, getting up 17-0 in the first half on a blocked punt for a score and a three-yard Kenyan Drake touchdown run before Cade Foster nailed a 46-yard field goal. Colorado State managed two third quarter Jared Roberts field goals, but that was it for the offense. DeAndrew White put the game away in the fourth on a 30-yard touchdown catch.
- It’s natural for Alabama to let down, but this is now the second mediocre offensive performance in the first three games. The offense couldn’t seem to find any sort of a groove, even though AJ McCarron connected on 20-of-26 passes for 258 yards and a touchdown with a pick. After sitting out the first quarter, T.J. Yeldon ran for 49 yards on seven carries, but most of his production came on one 39-yard run – nothing else for the ground game seemed to work.
- Colorado State was outgunned from the start, but it held up extremely well under the pressure. The defense didn’t get overwhelmed by the Tide O line, and Garrett Grayson hung tough completing 24-of-38 passes for 228 yards.
- It’s just not Alabama’s defense, but at some point it wouldn’t be a bad thing to find a pass rush from the outside. The linebacking corps is great against the pass, as always, and the CSU running game wasn’t going anywhere, but the D has to be even more disruptive to make up for the inconsistent O.
- There were times with Colorado State linebacker Aaron Davis was the best player on the field. He made 11 tackles with a tackle for loss, and he was flying to the ball.

at Colorado State 34, Cal Poly 17, Sept. 14
Basically … Garrett Grayson threw two touchdown passes with a six-yarder to Kivon Cartwright finally putting the game away. Cal Poly fought back in the second half with a 23-yard touchdown catch from Willie Tucker, but down ten, a field goal attempt was blocked, and the Rams rolled for the game-sealing touchdown drive.
- Colorado State doesn’t make anything easy. It was a much, much tighter game than the final score might indicate, needing a few big late plays to keep Cal Poly from rallying.
- Chris Nwoke is a nice workhorse, running 19 times for 133 yards and pounding out big yards by the chunks. This is how the CSU offense is supposed to work. It was physical and efficient, and it came up with the drive it needed in the fourth quarter after a rocky second half.
- With Alabama up next, and with the collapses against Tulsa and Colorado, the Rams needed this or the season might as well be over. Now the offense has to put together a full four quarters, but it’ll have to come against UTEP in a few weeks.

at Tulsa 30, Colorado State 27, Sept. 7
Basically … Tulsa got a 34-yard field goal from Carl Salazar as time expired to escape Colorado State and pick up its first win of the year. The Golden Hurricane trailed for most of the game, needing to register the final 13 points to hold serve at Chapman Stadium. QB Cody Green threw three touchdown passes, the final one tying the score with seven minutes left in the game.
- Green needed a bounce back game in the worst way after playing poorly in the opening week loss to Bowling Green. He was hardly prolific, but the staff will take his 3:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio.
- Colorado State had major issues all night on offense, picking up just nine first downs. Chris Nwoke ran well in place of injured Donnell Alexander, but the passing attack has no pulse.
- Trey Watts was, well, Trey Watts for the Golden Hurricane. He rushed for 152 yards on 22 carries, adding a team-best eight catches for 58 yards.
- S Michael Mudoh has been one of Tulsa's most active defenders in each of the first two games. On Saturday, he had a team-high eight tackles and a pick.

Colorado 41, at Colorado State 27, Sept. 1
Basically … Connor Wood threw for 400 yards and three touchdown passes, starting out with an 82-yard bomb to a wide open Paul Richardson and ending with a 75-yarder to him. Colorado State took a one point lead late in the third on Kapri Bibbs’ second rushing touchdown of the game, but it was all Colorado in the fourth with a 53-yard fumble return for a score from Greg Henderson as part of the 18 point frame.
- Coaches have been pumping up Paul Richardson as a special player and top pro prospect, and he showed it off. Now that he’s healthy, he’s deadly again. The ten catches for 208 yards and two scores might be just the beginning.
- It’s only one game, but already Mike McIntyre has jacked up the offense to a whole other level. There might need to be more production from the ground game, but Connor Wood is looking like a keeper at quarterback.
- Colorado State just can’t find a running game. The Buffs were aggressive defensively and did a nice job of forcing second-and-long, but the Rams couldn’t find anything that worked.
- 2-of-14 on third downs. Colorado State was put in too many tough situations, and quarterback Garrett Grayson couldn’t come through.

Spring Analysis

Why To Be Excited If experience means anything, the Rams should be ready to make a big step forward under Steve Fairchild. It’s been a fight to get back to respectability, but CSU managed to win three of the final five games and started to show a little bit of offensive fight. 19 starters are back including nine to a defense that did a nice job of closing down the mediocre offenses and wasn’t bad against the pass. End Lanston Tanyi is done along with tackle Zach Tiedgen, but that’s it. This was a young team last season that’s now starting to mature.

Why To Be Grouchy The four wins last year came against four miserable teams – Colorado, Hawaii, UNLV and New Mexico. There are still several bad teams to play this season, but the Rams weren’t even remotely close against the good ones with all eight loses coming by double digits. It’s not like the offense went anywhere, and there aren’t any irreplaceable parts, but receiver Marquise Law is gone from the outside and top tackle Joe Caprioglio is done from the left side. The O still has to find a steady quarterback with M.J. McPeek gone and Conner Smith and Garrett Grayson fighting for time.

What Needs Working On The offense has to be more effective, and for what seems like the 19th year in a row, the ground game and line have to be stronger. The offensive front never seemed able to generate a steady push with just one 200-yard rushing game all year and a mere 12 scores on the ground. Three seniors will start in the interior, and running back Donnell Alexander came on late to look like a potential star, but now it all has to work. Getting steady quarterback play would take the heat off; teams have to stop being able to cheat up to stuff the run.

Team Concerns For 2013: The Rams are full of veterans with 18 starters returning. Now they all have to be better at playing college football. The Rams were last in the Mountain West in both scoring and yards, struggling to find a steady passing game and not getting enough out of the line to get the ground attack working. For the first time in a while, the defense started to shine with a decent year against the pass, but the front four didn't hold up well against the run.

The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Linebackers. The offense is getting a little bit of help with a good class of tight ends including JUCO transfer Martavius Foster and big prospect Trae Moxley, but the defense is getting the most help. JUCO transfer LaRyan King is going to be asked to be one of the team's anchors at defensive tackle from the moment he gets to practice, but it's the linebacking corps that should shine down the road with Kiel Robinson, Deonte Clyburn and Evan Colorito needing to be the foundation for the 2016 defense.

2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 106. That Class Was Heavy On ... New head coach Jim McElwain didn’t get any time to work after helping lead Alabama to the national title. The last few Ram recruiting classes have been strong, and they’re going to have to make due for a while with this class not likely to be anything special. The linebacking corps will get one star to work around with Deonte Wortham coming in from out of Dallas, but overall it’s going to be a mad scramble to piece something together. 

2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 79. That Class Was Heavy On ... Running back. Head coach Steve Fairchild took over the job a few years ago wanting to get physical with the ground game. The Rams were 103rd in the nation in rushing last year (partly because of all the sacks the line gave up). This class revolves around the backfield to help out franchise quarterback Pete Thomas with five good recruits led by big, fast Dorian Brown and with thumper George Talanoa, who could be a linebacker is he’s not a fullback.

2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 104. That Class Was Heavy On ... Defensive linemen. LB Charles Favors might be the star of this recruiting class, but the Rams need a few linemen to shine. With all the quarterbacks brought in last year finding more signal calling prospects wasn't a pressing need, but the Rams still signed three decent ones highlighted by Peter Thomas, a big bomber who'll get a long look this offseason. But the strength-in-numbers part of the class is on the defensive line with six players led by end Ra'Shawde Myers.

2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 103. That Class Was Heavy On ... Quarterbacks. Billy Farris is gone opening up a hole at quarterback, and while there are options in Grant Stucker and Klay Kubiak waiting to step in, JUCO transfer Jon Eastman will be in the mix right away, Nico Ranieri might be the most talented player of the bunch, but the new recruit might have to wait around for a few years before getting his shot.
 


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