Vanderbilt vs. Colorado State: Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Rams get an opportunity at redemption after last week.
Can the Rams recover after a poor showing?
WEEK 2: Vanderbilt Commodores (0-1) vs. Colorado State Rams (0-1)
WHEN: Saturday, September 11th — 8:00 PM MT/7:00 PM PT
WHERE: Canvas Stadium, Fort Collins, CO
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes CBSSN, by following this link.
RADIO: The Vanderbilt broadcast can be found in and around the Nashville area on 93.3 FM and 101.9 FM. The Colorado State broadcast can be found in and around the Fort Collins area on 102.9 FM.
SERIES RECORD: This will be the first matchup between these two schools.
LAST WEEK: Vanderbilt lost at home to East Tennessee State, 23-3, while Colorado State lost at home to South Dakota State, 42-23.
ODDS (as of 9/9, via Vegas Insider): CSU -7
SP+ PROJECTION: Colorado State by 5.4
FEI PROJECTION: Colorado State by 6.7
The Colorado State Rams got embarrassed last week. All credit to South Dakota State, who can be considered one of the favorites to win the FCS national championship, but CSU didn’t look like they belonged or wanted to be on the field last week.
This week brings a different and familiar challenge in SEC opponent Vanderbilt and de facto offensive coordinator Joey Lynch. Vanderbilt struggled to even get on the scoreboard last week, losing 23-3 to East Tennessee State. Similar to CSU, the Commodores just couldn’t execute and finish.
Here’s how the Rams can get back on the right foot with a win over the Commodores.
Three Keys to a Rams Victory
1. Get the Running Game Going
What was expected to be one of the better parts of the CSU offense failed to show up against South Dakota State. Averaging just 2.0 yards per carry before a late push to 3.1, the Rams failed to implement their game plan up front. The CSU OL also allowed three sacks and six tackles for loss to go along with their poor running game.
Offensive tackle Barry Wesley attributed CSU failures to not mentally being in the moment: “Coach Addazio has a plan to win, and the second thing in that plan is to run the football,” Wesley said to CSURams.com. “Last Friday we didn’t do that. There were a lot of little mistakes that shouldn’t have been there that showed up. That’s just us not being mentally tough and not being mentally locked in.
CSU might have a chance to get the running game on track against Vanderbilt. Against ETSU, the Commodores gave up nearly five yards a carry. The Buccaneers gained 179 yards on 37 attempts. If the Rams can copy that and keep Centeio going in the passing game, CSU has a chance for a second win at home against an SEC school in the past four years.
2. Staying in the Gaps
Colorado State’s defense was expected to be the best part of the team this season. Against South Dakota State, they looked like a high school team playing two levels up. The Jackrabbits averaged 7.1 yards per carry and eight yards per pass on offense.
If CSU doesn’t want a repeat of last week, they need to stay in their gaps and set the edge. Too many times it looked like the Rams were lost or they overcommitted allowing the Jackrabbits to convert on third and longs. The defense needs to set the tone this week for the Rams in order to win.
3. Be Explosive
Surprisingly Todd Centeio was not as bad as some people thought he was going to be. He played well and got out of pressure a few times. The one area where you could fault him was a couple of early misses to Dante Wright. Those throws could’ve been early momentum gainers for the Rams.
The DNVR’s Jake Schwanitz went over some of Centeio’s throws last week and found (paywall) positives in his game. The first throw was just over Dante Wright‘s hands and when CSU went back to the same play, Jordan Kress was wide open on a curl route.
If Centeio can hit a few big plays to Wright, Kress, Trey McBride, or any of the other CSU receivers, the Rams can gain the momentum and allow their full game plan to be implemented.
The 𝙀𝙉𝙀𝙍𝙂𝙔 in Canvas last Friday ⚡⚡⚡
— Colorado State Football (@CSUFootball) September 8, 2021
This is a get right game for both schools. Both lost to FCS schools in embarrassing fashion. CSU has something to look forward to as well in playing former coordinator Joey Lynch, who is now the quarterbacks coach at Vanderbilt and has assumed play calling duties. The Rams will fix what they can and force the Commodores into more of what happened to them last week.
Colorado State 31, Vanderbilt 24