Air Force vs Colorado State: Three Keys to a Rams Win
The Rams have a chance to move closer to bowl eligibility
Can the Rams beat a rival?
WEEK 12: Air Force Falcons (7-2, 4-1 Mountain West) vs Colorado State Rams (4-5, 3-2 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, November 16th — 5:00 PM MT/4:00 PM PT
WHERE: Canvas Stadium; Fort Collins, Colorado (41,000)
SERIES RECORD: This will be the 58th matchup between the two teams. Air Force currently leads the series 35-21-1
ODDS (via OddsShark): Air Force -10
SP+ PROJECTION: Air Force by 14.1 (79% win probability)
FEI PROJECTION: Air Force by 20.2
The Colorado State Rams have a chance to gain bowl eligibility by winning two out of their last three games. This week, the Air Force Falcons and their option offense are standing in their way.
After games where the Rams let the Falcons score 40+ points, last season CSU kept the game close, losing 27-19. This season the Rams are riding high on a resurgent defense in conference play. Here’s how CSU can beat the Falcons.
Three Keys to a Colorado State Victory
1. Contain the fullback dive.
The Rams have had the fullback dive drilled into their heads over the past two weeks. “Every day. Every time I walk in the building,” defensive tackle Ellison Hubbard told CSURams.com. “We’re going to hear fullback dive, dive, just dive, dive, dive. We’re going to hear it.”
CSU gave up 260 yards and a touchdown to Cole Fagan last year. Fagan is no longer with the team, but the fullback still plays a big role in the offense with two of the Falcons top three rushers being fullbacks. The Rams need to limit the damage down from the Falcons fullback if they want to win.
2. The defense needs to stay with their assignments.
The Air Force Falcons are an extremely disciplined football team; which comes as a result of their daily military training. They know their assignments and they know how to execute to make a team pay for their mistakes.
If the Rams are to walk away with a victory, they cannot freelance anything. If the CSU defense tries to get cute, the Falcons will break open a big, chunk yards play. The Rams will need to play smash mouth, keep on assignment football to beat the Falcons.
3. Get the running game going.
The Air Force Falcons defense against the run ranks ninth in the country, allowing only 96.8 yards per game. The Rams rushing attack is currently averaging 156.6 yards per game. Something has to give on Saturday and the Rams are hoping it everything falls their way.
Colorado State’s leading rusher, Marvin Kinsey, was suspended and eventually let go from the team. However, the Rams rushing attacked hasn’t faltered at all with Marcus McElroy being the one to step up and take on the roll of a bell cow. McElroy will need to play a big role if the Rams are to win.
This game is always a toss-up as to who wins. Yes, Air Force has won more often than not. But the results have varied widely from blowouts by both sides to three-point victories by both sides. The Rams have the ability and talent to match up well against Air Force, it’s just a matter of execution. Expect the Rams to be on after the bye week and win a close game.
CSU 38, Air Force 35