Colorado State vs Washington State: Game Preview, Hot to Watch, Odds, Predicition
The Rams look to get back on track against a Pac-12 squad
Can the Rams get out of the starting block?
WEEK 1: Colorado State Rams vs. Washington State Cougars
WHEN: Saturday, September 17th — 3:00 p.m. MST / 2:00 p.m. PST
WHERE: Martin Stadium; Pullman, WA (32,952)
WEATHER: Partly Cloudy, high of 64 degrees
TV: Pac-12 Network
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes Pac-12 Network, by following this link.
RADIO: K99-FM 99.1 / ESPN 1600 AM (Colorado)
SERIES RECORD: This will be the 2nd matchup between these two schools. Colorado State leads 1-0 in the series.
LAST MEETING: Colorado State came back to beat Washington State 48-45 in the 2013 New Mexico Bowl.
ODDS: Washington State -17
SP+ PROJECTION: Washington State by 17.4
FEI PROJECTION: Washington State by 19.9
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Washington State 92.97% win probability (31.26 to 10.92)
— Colorado State Football (@CSUFootball) September 12, 2022
Colorado State still has a rebuild a head of them. This was much more evident after last week’s loss against Middle Tennessee. Rams fans knew this, but also had rose colored glasses on after all of the good will head coach Jay Norvell built up in the offseason. But this year is this year and all the Rams can do is put one foot in front of the other and take things one game at a time.
This week the Rams head to Pullman, Washington to face the Washington State Cougars of the Pac-12 Conference. This will be the two teams first matchup against each other since the Rams wild 48-45 comeback win in the 2013 New Mexico Bowl.
For the second week in a row, the Rams will face a team similar to them in one that runs an air raid offense and a 4-2-5 defense. There are also some familiar faces on the Cougars. Defensive coordinator Brian Ward, along with linebacker Daiyan Henley and defensive back Jordan Lee, were at Nevada along with Jay Norvell.
Now onto some keys to victory for the Rams.
Three Keys to a colorado state victory
1. Come together on the offensive line.
The Rams have struggled on the offensive line in both of their games so far. They’ve given up 16 sacks in two games. And now they’re dealing with injuries. Starting left tackle Brian Crespo-Jaquez was lost for the season before the Middle Tennesse game and starting right tackle Dontae Keys suffered a minor injury against the Blue Raiders and is questionable this week.
The starting lineup this week might be Jacob Gardner sliding out to left tackle (where he played for two seasons at Nevada) from center, Dante Bivens at left guard, Dirk Nelson at center, Gray Davis at right guard, and Owen Snively at right tackle. Whatever the lineup is, the offensive line needs to mesh and give Clay Millen more time to throw the ball.
2. Provide outlet and short routes.
One consequence of the offensive line issues has been head coach Jay Norvell simplfying the playbook to help calm Clay Millen down as he gets settled in his first few collegiate starts. The Rams have also kept a running back and tight end in to provide more protection. This has caused Millen to hold onto the ball longer to let the routes develop.
The Rams need to help Millen out a little bit and provide some outlet options and some short routes that he can come down to if the long ball isn’t there. Have the running back or tight end run a delayed release route. Have the slot receiver or one of the outside receivers run a comeback or in route to provide some sort of option to dump the ball off. This could be off-base but it’s one thing that has seemed to be an issue and if CSU wants to get a win, something that needs to be worked in.
Plays on 𝗽𝗹𝗮𝘆𝘀‼️
— Colorado State Football (@CSUFootball) September 14, 2022
3. Keep everything in front of the defense.
The Rams did well to limit large chunk plays against Michigan, against Middle Tennessee however they allowed six plays of 25 yards or longer (including the opening play pick six). The Rams haven’t been horrible on defense, but they’ve been bad. CSU ranks 97th in total defense, giving up 410 yards a game.
The yardage needs to improve, but that will come with time. That bend don’t break mentality will eventually pay off as we saw a little bit in the third quarter against Middle Tennessee. The Rams really need the offense to help the defense out and give them time to rest. But for now, the defense needs to not give up those large chunk plays that really kill a defense.
what will happen
Washington State’s offense hasn’t started great. But maybe this is where Cameron Ward and the Cougars offense starts to get into rhythm a little bit. The Rams on the other hand are still looking for anything. They might be able to find something here with a new offensive line.
Final Score: Washington State 31, Colorado State 24