South Dakota State vs. Colorado State: Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
Year 2 of the Steve Addazio era starts with the FCS Runner Ups
Can the Rams start strong?
WEEK 1: South Dakota State Jackrabbits (0-0) vs. Colorado State Rams (0-0)
WHEN: Friday, September 3 — 7:00 PM MT/6:00 PM PT
WHERE: Canvas Stadium, Fort Collins, Colorado
TV: Fox Sports 1
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes FS1, by following this link.
RADIO: The South Dakota State broadcast can be found in and around the Brookings area on 570 AM. The Colorado State broadcast can be found in and around the Fort Collins area on 102.9 FM.
SERIES RECORD: This will be the third all time meeting between the schools, with CSU winning both previous matchups.
ODDS: CSU -2.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Colorado State by 8.7
The Colorado State Rams get Steve Addazio’s first full year as head coach underway Friday night under the lights against the FCS Championship runner-up South Dakota State Jackrabbits.
SDSU is a good team. The line on this game opened up with them as a 3.5 point favorite. The main thing we will discover is how much of an impact the spring season had on the FCS schools.
Here’s how the Rams can get the 2021 season started on the right foot with a win over the Jackrabbits.
Three Keys to a Rams Victory
1. Win In The Trenches
This is going to be a matchup of strength on strength. South Dakota State likes to run the ball. They were seventh in the FCS in rushing offense averaging 231.7 yards per game. They were also top 25 in rushing defense giving up 115.7 rushing yards per game. Head coach John Stiegelmeier has a gameplan in place and wants to run it down your throat with star running backs Pierre Strong Jr. and Isaiah Davis while stopping you from doing the same.
Colorado State was a top rushing defense as well last year finishing 12th in the FBS giving up 108.5 yards per game. On the offensive side of the ball, not so much. Colorado State finished 105th in the country running the ball. The Rams only averaged 124 rushing yards per game. Head coach Steve Addazio looks to turn that around this year.
Both lines are the strengths and we will see if CSU had made enough changes to win on offense. We know what they bring on defense and it should be even better this season.
2. Special Teams
Colorado State struggled last year on special teams. Coach Addazio took personal responsibility for that. With COVID, players were being switched in and out every week based on availability so they struggled to click together as a unit. The only bright side from last season was Ryan Stonehouse, who still remains the NCAA active career leader in yards per punt. Stonehouse returns to lead the unit this year.
The return game and coverage units should be improved this year with a full offseason and camp to get everything together. The return units should have a decent chance to do something as South Dakota State was middle of the road last season. The coverage units are going to be the key during this game. The Jackrabbits ranked near the top of the FCS for average returns, both punt and kick.
3. Be Explosive
The Rams will need to make some explosive plays on Friday night to keep the momentum rolling. Whether that is Dante Wright, tight end Trey McBride, or incoming running back David Bailey, somebody needs to make a big play and they need to happen in bunches.
Last season, CSU did its best either scoring directly from big plays or directly after big plays. Marshaun Cameron’s interception return against Wyoming set the stage for the Rams to gain the early edge and win the game. If the Rams can get started quickly and explosively it should be their game to win.
On 𝐅𝐫𝐢𝐝𝐚𝐲 night…
— Colorado State Football (@CSUFootball) September 2, 2021
The Rams are potentially facing an upset here. They will need to at the ready for a fight all game long. If the Rams can execute during all three phases of play, they’ll walk out with a victory. It won’t be easy and will most likely be a slugfest, but look for the Rams to pull away in the end for the win.
Colorado State 31, South Dakota State 21