Offense wins games but defense could lead CSU back to a bowl
Colorado State’s championship dreams — or at least bowl hopes — are still alive after defeating the Wyoming Cowboys 26-7 Saturday evening in Laramie, Wyoming.
Without a doubt, this was a total team victory; all three phases played well enough to earn the victory and improve their overall record to 4-5.
“Played like a team that was hungry,” said Rams head coach Mike Bobo after the 2015 Border War. “Defense played outstanding, did a great job of setting the edges and gang tackling Mr. (Brian) Hill who is a really good running back. They played hard all night.”
Colorado State (4-5, 2-3 MW) had the “Come to Jesus” meeting Monday. After the way they blew a lead over San Diego State last Saturday, Bobo and the rest of the Rams coaches had to reset expectations. On Saturday, the CSU Rams responded when they traveled up north and stomped the Wyoming Cowboys (1-9, 1-5 MW) at War Memorial Stadium.
“This is a tough league. This is a blue collar league,” Bobo continued. “Teams are tough and we got to match their toughness. I thought we did today. And we got to build off this. I’m really proud of the defense and how they played.”
The Rams did play very well defensively; to start, they held an elite running back in Hill to a net of 65 yards. Hill entered the game as the nation’s second-leading running back, but CSU had his number until he was finally able to score against the second-team defense in the end.
Colorado State put constant pressure on Wyoming quarterback Nick Smith, too, as the redshirt freshman went 10-21 with one interception and was sacked three times. This hungry defense also forced the Pokes to punt six times while they were able to force and recover three fumbles.
“Like I said last week, playing Wyoming is always a big win,” said safety Kevin Pierre-Louis (KPL). “No matter what both team records is when you come into this game, it’s going to be tough, it’s going to be physical, and it’s going to be a little chippy. And to get out of here with a win is always a good thing.”
The Border War never disappoints with its fair share of chippy plays and emotions running high. At one point, both benches were very close to clearing. We even had a time where Wyoming’s cornerback Robert Priester threw a punch at CSU’s wide receiver Olabisi Johnson. “They don’t like us and we don’t like them,” Pierre-Louis continued.
Earning this tough-fought win started early on in the week with that “Come to Jesus” meeting.
“Monday, Bobo put us on the spot kind of,” said KPL after the win. “Showed bad and good film so anytime you get bad and good film in front of your team as a player you question yourself. If I’m playing for the other team or am I playing for my team. Any time it shows you loafing or not doing your job in front of your teammate it shows you’re letting them down.”
Overall, this Rams team played well collectively, but as always, they have more to do during the week. 10 penalties for 101 yards were far too many once again, and individuals understand they can improve as well.
“I think I did ok,” Pierre-Louis admitted. “I never have a complete game to myself even if I play my best. Its never complete to me because I’m just a humble person. But I feel like I played OK, I did what I do. I think it was confidence and 10 other guys helping me out. It was not all me it was all of us 11 guys on the field.”
This response shows the Rams have not rolled over, that the season could still turn into a bowl appearance and possibly even a bowl victory. CSU football is ready to celebrate tonight but get back to work and get ready for UNLV (2-6 but currently playing) next Saturday.
That game, which kicks off at 5 p.m. MT, is the final home game for KPL and his fellow seniors. Bobo acknowledged the need to reiterate that fact to his players, to make sure they’re up for the contest.
If tonight’s game proved anything, it’s that Bobo’s Rams will be ready on both sides of the ball.
Collin "Stat Cat" Felix
November 17th, 2015