Colorado State vs Utah State: Keys to a Rams Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
CSU looks to open conference play 3-0 for the first time since 2017
Can the Rams keep the momentum rolling?
Week 8: Colorado State (3-3, 2-0 Mountain West) vs Utah State (4-2, 2-1 Mountain West)
When: Friday, October 22nd, 2021 – 7:30 pm MST
WHERE: Maverik Stadium; Logan, Utah (25,513)
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAMING: FuboTV – Get a 7-day free trial
RADIO: The Colorado State broadcast can be found in and around the Fort Collins area on 102.9 FM. The Utah State broadcast can be found in and around the Logan area on 1280AM.
SERIES RECORD: This will be the 77th all time matchup between the two schools. CSU leads the series 39-35-2. The Aggies won the last matchup in 2019, 34-24 in Logan.
LAST WEEK: Colorado State beat New Mexico 36-7, while Utah State beat to UNLV 28-24.
ODDS (as of 10/20, via Vegas Insider): Colorado State -3.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Colorado State by 6.6
FEI PROJECTION: Colorado State by 1.4
The Colorado State Rams absolutely demolished New Mexico last week 36-7. They held New Mexico to just 69 total yards. David Bailey returned to the lineup to score two touchdowns. Todd Centeio continued to show how good he can be going 16 for 25, 289 yards, and one score. On the defensive side of the ball, the Rams forced three turnovers and managed six sacks as a squad.
— Colorado State Football (@CSUFootball) October 19, 2021
This week the Rams head west to face Utah State in Logan. They said before they don’t hold Utah State boycotting their game last year against them, but there might be a little something there. The Rams seconday will get a big test this week and they have to be up to the task.
Here’s how the Rams can keep the momentum rolling and beat the Aggies.
Three Keys to a Rams Victory
1. Defensive Pressure
Whoa boy! The Rams put on a defensive clinic last week against New Mexico. They had some added motivation thanks to some comments by freshman quarterback CJ Montes and CSU didn’t hold back. They got to him six times and held the Lobos to 69 total yards of offense.
Against the Aggies, it’s going to be a different story. Utah State brings the country’s 15th ranked passing offense. Colorado State brings the 21st ranked passing defense. But the Rams haven’t really been challenged through the air yet. The Rams will need to get after quarterback Logan Bonner if CSU wants to maintain their perfect start to conference play.
“I think we should blow these guys out.”
— Colorado State Football (@CSUFootball) October 17, 2021
2. Special Teams Needs To Be On Point
Ryan Stonehouse is one of the top punters in the country and Cayden Camper has come into form after a rough start to the season. Last season the Rams were horrendous on special teams. This year has been better, but they gave up a punt return to New Mexico that gave them points they should not have gotten.
Against Utah State, the Rams have to be better. Savon Scarver tied the NCAA career record for touchdown returns last week against UNLV. Jordan Nathan is averaging 12.1 yards per punt return and is threat to break one. CSU has had to shuffle some players on special teams due to injury, but they need to be better this week.
3. Red Zone Offense
The Rams put points on the board against New Mexico, but struggled to put the ball in the end zone during red zone opportunities again. For the season the Rams have converted 88.9% of their red zone opportunies, but only 40.7% of them have been for touchdowns. That is ranked 125th in FBS.
Against Utah State they will need to be better. Cayden Camper has become a weapon for the Rams, but they don’t want to rely on him against teams with high-powered offenses. It doesn’t matter how good their defense is, Todd Centeio and the offense needs to step up.
Brought this up in our most recent recap podcast. Colorado State has turned 88.9% of its red zone opportunities into points. That's good!
However, the Rams have turned only 40.7% of those opportunities into touchdowns. That's 125th among FBS teams; not so good! https://t.co/rH0du6UfOk
— Mountain West Wire (@MWCwire) October 19, 2021
Trey McBride is getting the focus of defenses, so others need to step up. The offensive line needs to step up as well. Colorado State tends to run goal line formation all over the field. But when it’s actually near the goal line they struggle. David Bailey and the Rams running backs need that push up front if they are to score in the red zone.
The Rams are looking to continue their hot streak. Utah State is a more competitive team than most thought they were going to be. This could possibly turn into a shootout. However I think the Colorado State defense lives up to its reputation and holds Utah State down.
Colorado State 37, Utah State 31