Middle Tennessee vs. Colorado State: Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Predicition
Fort Air Raid opens up at home for the first time.
Can the Rams bring the fans back to Canvas?
WEEK 2: Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (0-1) vs. Colorado State Rams (0-1)
WHEN: Saturday, September 10th — 2:00 p.m. MST / 1:00 p.m. PST
WHERE: Canvas Stadium; Fort Collins, CO (36,500)
WEATHER: Overcast with chance for rain, high of 59 degrees
TV: Evoca TV/Local3 (Colorado only)
STREAMING: MW Network
RADIO: K99-FM 99.1 / ESPN 1600 AM
SERIES RECORD: This will be the first ever matchup between these two schools.
LAST MEETING: First Meeting
ODDS: Colorado State -11
SP+ PROJECTION: Colorado State by 3.5
FEI PROJECTION: Colorado State by 3.2
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Colorado State with a 63.79% chance to win (28.03-23.12)
— Colorado State Football (@CSUFootball) September 4, 2022
The Rams kicked off a new era under new head coach Jay Norvell. It wasn’t the prettiest affair, losing 51-7 to then No. 8-ranked Michigan, but you could tell there was something different about this team. There were moments where you could really see the changes on this Rams team and that they just need that one moment to break through.
This week, they host the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders in the first home game of the Norvell era. It’s almost like looking in the mirror for the Rams as Middle Tennessee also runs an air raid offense and use a 4-2-5 defensive formation.
Because of the similarities between the teams, Colorado State is going to have the first-team offense and the first-team defense going against each other more in practice because they are facing two similar teams to them in the next two games, according to Kevin Lytle of the Coloradoan.
Now to the keys to victory for the Rams.
Three Keys to a colorado state victory
1. Give the QB more time.
When Clay Millen had time against Michigan (which was not very often) he had the time to relax and go through his progressions. Against Middle Tennessee, the Rams offensive line will need to provide him with more time if they want the offense to move along as Jordan Ferguson for the Blue Raiders will not let them off easy.
The Rams only managed 219 yards of offense and one touchdown. And that is not a normal day for a Jay Norvell offense. The Rams offense needs more touches. From Tory Horton and Melquan Stovall at receiver to A’Jon Vivens and Avery Morrow in the backfield, it all starts with the offensive line providing the necessary time to set up plays.
2. Open the offense up.
This goes along with the first key. The Rams had a gameplan to get out of Ann Arbor safely and were trying to combat the athletic advantage Michigan had on them. This week we should see more of the offense that the air raid can be, the offense that was brought into to reinspire this CSU fan base.
We saw a glimpse of what could be when Clay Millen hit Tory Horton for a 34 yard touchdown pass to keep the Rams from being shut out. Now we need to see more of that, as well as getting more Rams involved. Dante Wright didn’t see a target, Tanner Arkin only caught one pass, and the passing game played second fiddle to the run game. The time is now to show what this offense can really do.
Game day on the Mind 🧠
— Colorado State Football (@CSUFootball) September 8, 2022
3. Pressure. Pressure. Pressure.
The Blue Raiders laid an egg against James Madison and former Rams QB Todd Centeio last week, only managing 119 total yards of offense. It was mostly an offensive blitz from the Dukes but their defense was no slouch, either, as they ended the day with four sacks and 13 tackles for loss.
The Rams want their front four to provide the majority of their pressure. Now is the time to unleash whatever aggression they may be holding onto. Mohamed Kamara had the lone sack for the Rams last week. He and CJ Onyechi need to get their motors running, along with the rest of the defensive line, and get after the Blue Raiders.
what will happen
Two teams that didn’t look like they did much last week. But you wouldn’t see that if you watched both games. CSU looked the better squad and Middle Tennessee looked uninspired. The Blue Raiders are going to come out and look to make up for last week, but the Rams will be on the ball and get Fort Air Raid started off on the right foot at home.
Final Score: Colorado State 45, Middle Tennessee 28