Colorado State at Fresno State: Keys for a Rams Victory

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado State at Fresno State: Keys for a Rams Victory

Colorado State

Colorado State at Fresno State: Keys for a Rams Victory

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Colorado State at Fresno State: Keys for a Rams Victory


The Rams finally get a chance to get on the field.


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Can the Rams get up to speed quickly?

WEEK 9: Colorado State Rams (0-0, 0-0 Mountain West) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (0-1, 0-1 Mountain West)

WHEN: Thursday, October 29 — 8:00 PM MT/7:00 PM PT

WHERE: Bulldog Stadium; Fresno, California (41,031)

TV: CBS Sports Network

STREAM: Get a one-week trial of FuboTV.

RADIO: CSU Rams TuneIn

ODDS (via ESPN): Colorado State -1.5

Three Keys to a Rams Victory

1. Win In The Trenches

New head coach Steve Addazio comes into Fort Collins with a reputation as an offensive line coach. Antoine Smith is going to have the defensive line more active and more aggressive. These two things will need to show through if the Rams are to win on Thursday.

The Rams were a top team in the nation in passing offense last year, but were near the bottom in rushing offense. The Rams will need to stay level in the passing game and improve in the running game to improve on last years record. Marcus McElroy is ready to get running behind his offensive line, but they’ll need to open the holes for him.

A top 10 passing defense last year for the Rams was a result of the rushing defense being ranked near the bottom in the nation. The defensive line will need to make a big step up in the running game. Ronnie Rivers will be a big issue for the Rams if they can’t keep him contained.

2. Start Fast

The Rams had last week’s game against New Mexico cancelled while Fresno State lost to Hawaii. That playing experience will be beneficial for the Bulldogs because they’ll have an idea of where they are physically. The Rams will be hit in the mouth by somebody other than their teammates and they need to be ready.

If Colorado State wants to leave Fresno with a victory, they’ll need to get up to speed quickly. They’ll need to come out firing on both offense and defense. They can’t give the Bulldogs a chance to get comfortable. The Rams will need to jump on any chance they can get to put this game away early.

3. Replace Warren Jackson

Warren Jackson would’ve been a key piece of the offense for the Rams. He would’ve opened up the playbook a little bit more for the rest of the skill position guys the Rams have. With Jackson now preparing for the NFL Draft, CSU will need someone to step up in his place.

The Rams aren’t lousy at the skill position. They have the freshman sensation in Dante Wright, Auburn transfer Nate Craig-Myers, tight end Trey McBride, and others who will contribute to this offense. But somebody will have to step up and fill that big play spot that Jackson occupied.

Prediction

This is going to be a fight. The spread is only 1.5 points, so it could go either way. The Rams have won three in a row in this series, and six of the last seven matchups overall. The Bulldogs will be eager to put their Hawai’i performance behind them and show that they shouldn’t be counted out this season.

I’m thinking this matchup is close throughout the game, with the Rams pulling away in the end similar to last season. Expect plenty of fireworks from both sides of the ball, with big plays being made at key moments for the Rams. Steve Addazio will get his first win for the Rams and start his career in Fort Collins strong before he has to face that school up north next week.

Colorado State 41, Fresno State 31

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