Mountain West Football First Look: Western Illinois vs Colorado State
Colorado State matches up against FCS Western Illinois
The Rams host the Leathernecks in Fort Collins
In the Colorado State’s second out of conference matchup, the Rams welcome the Western Illinois Leathernecks to Canvas Stadium on Saturday, September 7th.
This is the Rams matchup against an FCS team. And if they aren’t careful they could start a losing streak against FCS teams, as they lost to Illinois State last season.
The Leathernecks ended last season with a 5-6 record and finished fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference. Twice last season the Leathernecks beat a ranked opponent. First, they beat the 15/16th ranked University of Montana. Second, they beat the 17/23rd ranked University of Northern Iowa.
The Leathernecks were a stop and go team last season. Some weeks they looked on top of the world and others they looked like the bottom of the barrel. They just good never seem to get out of their own way at some points.
The Leathernecks lose their top rusher, starting quarterback, and third leading receiver from an offense last year that averaged 375 yards per game last season. Breaking in a new quarterback will be a struggle that the Rams are familiar with.
The Western Illinois defense stood tall at times last season. They only gave up 328 yards per game. The Leathernecks forced 15 fumbles and picked off their opponents 14 times. They were also able to get to the quarterback 36 times. So this defense will test the Rams offense.
One thing that could cost the Leathernecks is that their defense loses their top lineman, top linebacker, and top defensive back. If Western Illinois can replace these players, their defense could produce similar numbers as to last season.
Western Illinois presents a decent challenge for a Rams team that is looking to turn it around. The Leathernecks will not give up easy and the Rams could be in for a scrap.