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CSU Keys to Victory: Rams must run with Dalyn Dawkins

CSU Keys to Victory: Rams must run with Dalyn Dawkins

By Collin "Stat Cat" Felix | November 17, 2015

The Colorado State Rams (4-5, 2-3 MW) take on the University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels (3-6, 2-3 MW) today in Fort Collins. CSU is coming off a Mountain West rivalry win against the University of Wyoming Cowboys 26-7 last Saturday in Laramie. Relentless running was the name of the game and could be again this week. The Rebels are coming off their own MW victory, beating the University of Hawaii 41-21 last week.

Colorado State is trying to go bowling for the third straight year, but for this team to be considered, they need to win two of the last three games on the schedule. Sadly, only one of those games goes through Hughes Stadium. And if they play like they did last Saturday in Laramie, the Rams could certainly accomplish this feat. First though, CSU must beat UNLV. Let’s take a look at the Rams keys to victory:

Feed the Hot Player

Sophomore Dalyn Dawkins had an amazing outing up north as Colorado State continued to feed him all day. He rushed for a career-high 140 yards on 25 carries and was explosive every time he touched the football. Dawkins did not punch it in up in Laramie, but he set up the opportunities for true freshman Izzy Mathews, who had two touchdowns and rushed for 55 yards on 16 carries. CSU was able to dominate the Cowboy defense with total of 228 yards on the ground and 120 yards through the air as the offense saw a run-pass balance of 51-15. It’s unlikely we see such an unbalanced attack again today, but don’t be surprised if Mike Bobo leans on Dawkins — who’s now healthy — once again.

Continued Excellent Punting

CSU’s Hayden Hunt has been doing work as the Rams punter who is a semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award. Hunt had five punts in Laramie for an average of 49.2 yards per boot.

From Colorado State athletics, “In last week’s Border War victory at Wyoming, Hunt had a booming punt that traveled 67 yards in the air, being marked down at the 5-yard line. Three plays later, the Cowboys turned the ball over. Hunt has had three other punts land inside opponents’ 5 – vs. Air Force on Oct. 17 he had a punt downed at the 1, which resulted in a quick punt and CSU touchdown; at UTSA on Sept. 26 his first punt traveled 56 yards and went out of bounds at the 2-yard line, setting up a safety two plays later; vs. Minnesota on Sept. 12, Hunt had the longest punt of his career, a 73-yarder which was downed at the 2-yard line. It was the eighth-longest punt in school history, and for his efforts he was named the Ray Guy Award Player of the Week two days later.”

If CSU can keep flipping the field when they need to punt, it puts their opponents in a difficult position to have to drive the length of the field. This sets up the next key:

Dominant Defense

The Rams defense last week kept one of the country’s elite runners in Brian Hill to a net gain of 65 yards. It wasn’t just that they limited Hill, we saw a different CSU defense last week. The “Come to Jesus” meeting that Coach Bobo had with the team awoke the beast of a defense that we thought we’d see the entire season.

Colorado State’s defense forced the Cowboys to put six times last week and also held them to a scoreless game until late into the fourth quarter where the Cowboys finally scored against the second-teamers. The defense also forced Wyoming to cough the ball up four times with physical play. One guy who was flying around and dropping the hammer was safety Kevin Pierre-Louis. Multiple times he hit Hill so hard everyone in attendance “Oohed.” If the beast that we saw in Laramie is unleashed at Hughes tonight, look out UNLV, you’re in for an eight second ride I personally wouldn’t want to be on.

CSU plays UNLV at Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium at 5 p.m. MT. If you are unable to help CSU “Sell out Hughes” then you can catch the game on Root Sports or 105.5 ESPN.