Utah State vs Colorado State: Game Preview
Aggies look to keep the momentum rolling after signature win at SDSU
Week 5: Utah State (2-1) vs Colorado State (1-3)
When: Saturday, September 28th, 2019 – 5:30 pm MST
WHERE: Maverik Stadium; Logan, Utah (25,100)
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAMING: FuboTV – Get a 7-day free trial
RADIO: Utah State radio broadcast on 1280 the zone (1280 AM), 1280thezone.com / Tunein.com
ODDS (via ESPN): Utah State -24
Three keys to a Utah State victory
1. Don’t get cute, just run
Utah State needs to focus on doing what it does well: running the football. Colorado State’s defense has under-performed so far on the year, allowing a terrible 239.5 rushing yards per game, good for the bottom ten in the FBS ranks. Opposing running backs are eating the Rams alive, so RBs Jaylen Warren and Gerold Bright need to show up, hang on to the football, and hit the Rams hard with tempo. I expect big rushing numbers from both players unless Colorado State has found a way to cure their defensive woes.
2. Expect a strong Ram offense and don’t take your eye off the ball!
The Aggies recently escaped with a victory in San Diego against an average passing attack, which caused enough trouble as is. Against the Rams, it’s a whole different story.
Even being most likely down running back Marvin Kinsey Jr. and wide receiver Warren Jackson for Saturday’s game (along with no Collin Hill at quarterback), the Rams still have extremely capable play-makers that can give Utah State’s defense major headaches.
Marcus McElroy will likely take the bulk of the carries if Kinsey can’t go Saturday. Though McElroy has only rushed 17 times this season for 87 yards, that averages to just over 5 yards per carry. He had a huge run against Arkansas, and he can make guys miss in the open field. USU showed some questionable tackling against the Aztecs last week, so that has to change for this game. Otherwise, CSU’s running backs can make the game interesting.
At wide receiver, the Rams have capable backups to compensate for the potential loss of Jackson. Dante Wright will likely carry the biggest load and try to put some pressure on Utah State’s thin secondary. Wright currently has 21 receptions this year for 350 yards and three touchdowns. Those are very strong numbers for a freshman.
In tandem with tight end Trey McBride, this group of players can harm the Aggies plenty if they’re not prepared. Forget CSU’s injury woes: they still have plenty of firepower.
3. Keep Jordan Love upright
It’s important to not be one-dimensional on offense. Jordan Love should be able to do his thing as long as the Aggie offensive line continues protecting him. Having only given up two sacks on the season, this unit has been performing well above expectations after losing several starters from last season. Jordan Love has already surpassed 1,000 passing yards through just three games this season, but he’ll have a great opportunity to increase his touchdown throws against CSU’s secondary, which is giving up nearly 200 yards per game through the air. Not the worst unit around, but vulnerable enough that Love can burn them.
Prediction: Quite frankly, this game shouldn’t be close. The line is high on this game for a reason. Yes, Colorado State nearly beat the Aggies last season when they were heavy favorites, but this game is different. Jordan Love is not dinged up like he was late last season.
This game is in Logan. Utah State’s rushing attack is as good as last year, and Colorado State’s defense is worse than before. Unless the Rams can force the Aggies into making mistakes, USU will win this game comfortably. This could even be the beginning of the end of the Mike Bobo era.
USU 58, CSU 34