Nick Stevens knows Rams must start fast to improve chances versus SDSU Saturday
Massive Mountain West match-up, party of two.
Colorado State Rams football (3-4, 1-2 MW) has a tall offensive task coming up this week when they face the San Diego State Aztecs (5-3, 4-0 MW) on Sonny Lubick’s Field at Hughes Stadium.
This Saturday presents a David versus Goliath situation. The Aztecs sit atop the Mountain West’s West Division by being undefeated in conference play. The Rams, on the other hand, are second from the bottom in the Mountain West’s Mountain Division with a 1-2 record in conference play.
Can CSU upset SDSU? Definitely, but it won’t be easy.
This Aztecs defense collectively has picked off opposing quarterbacks 11 times, with 17 sacks; they terrorize opposing passers. One individual that jumps off the stat sheet is a junior linebacker Calvin Munson, who currently has 56 total tackles, 7 sacks for a total of 58 yards lost, two interceptions returned for 86 yards and two fumble recoveries.
“Our coach is doing a good job bringing a game plan and simplifying things for us,” quarterback Nick Stevens said after practice Tuesday about the upcoming tough test against San Diego State. “A lot of the time it looks on film sometimes they (SDSU’s defense) confuse the offense and that’s when they get them out of rhythm and out of their jam. We just need to keep it simple and just execute like we know how to, they (CSU coaches) are doing a good job preparing us this week for what they could give us.”
One big thing that CSU needs to do is work on the ability to read a defensive unit that constantly is moving and giving different looks. Once Stevens and his receivers can do that, they need to be able to read and react accordingly to have any hope of success.
“I know one of their big things is that they will bring a safety down and put him in the middle of the box like a mike linebacker and I think teams don’t account for him and he makes a lot of tackles,” said Stevens. “We just need to be aware of where people are and look more at it as an entire defense rather than numbers.”
The extra week of film will help not only Stevens but the entire offensive unit, giving coaches more time to explain just what the Aztecs like to do. Timing for the Rams bye week was nearly perfect with superb SDSU coming to town this Saturday.
Colorado Sate has not impressed offensively this year. There were back-to-back overtime losses to teams that the Rams should have beaten. There was that trip to Texas where the Rams got a win over UTSA, but many fans say that CSU got lucky to come out the way they did. Then, to have back-to-back conference losses where it did not seem CSU even got off the bus was really tough to stomach.
However, two weeks ago, a CSU team of old appeared and got that first conference win of the year over an always solid Air Force team. Maybe CSU has the winning formula now to finish out the year?
“With the defense they (SDSU) run we really need to start fast,” Stevens continued. “We’re going to try to build a lead from the get go. That’s really the goal, and hopefully take them out of what they do. I know that’s what we had to try to do with Air Force because if you get up on them then they can’t run the ball as much. It’s start fast and playing consistent throughout the game.”
CSU seemed to mesh two weeks ago on all three aspects of football with great special teams play, stellar defensive play, and finaly an offense that was moving the ball with some moments of success. Stevens himself had a career game going 23-30 on his passing for 296 yards with three touchdowns and one interception.
Rams football only has five games left in the 2015 season and Ram nation would like to see one more added to the schedule; a bowl. But first the Rams face the San Diego State Aztecs on Saturday, Oct. 31 at 1:30 p.m. MDT. This game will be televised by CBS Sports Network and on the radio with 105.5 ESPN for those who will be unable to attend.
But if you can attend, go! Hughes was sold out against Air Force and another sellout would help the hometown Rams defend the Fort.
A victory Saturday would be the biggest win of the Rams season so far, and it would even up both their overall and conference records at .500. It would mean a great confidence boost and would also improve Colorado State’s chances of making that coveted third straight bowl game.
Collin "Stat Cat" Felix
October 30th, 2015