On September 7th, the Colorado State Rams took on the Western Illinois Leathernecks at Canvas Stadium in Fort Collins, Colorado. The Rams took this game 38-13 and returned to .500, now sitting at 1-1 on the season. KCSU’s own Nick Baker and Dixon Lawson were in attendance and they had some thoughts on the way the Rams’ offense and defense performed.
The Offensive Engine Keeps Running Into Week Two
By Dixon Lawson
It was clear from the first play that Colorado State’s offense, led by junior Colin Hill, was going to dominate against Western Illinois. Starting from their 25-yard-line on the opening drive, Hill let it fly deep to a streaking Dante Wright who, after making the catch in stride, took it the full 75-yards for a quick CSU score.
For Hill, this was the longest completion of his career, beating his old record of a 60-yard reception back in 2016.
It was clear after the first series of plays the offense was in tune and firing on all cylinders. Later in the first quarter, Hill once again broke his longest career throw. After a check down by Hill, Marvin Kinsey Jr. was able to break through the defense for a 77-yard touchdown, bringing CSU up 14-3.
The entire receiving core was hot for CSU as two receivers were able to find the end zone. They were led by freshman Dante Wright, who picked up 111 yards on seven receptions and the lone touchdown. Sophomore receiver E.J. Scott was able to notch his first career touchdown after a 10-yard reception from Hill. Scott finished the game with four receptions for 111 yards and the sole touchdown.
Hill finished the game after the third quarter completing 25/32 through the air with 367 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions. After the electric start, Hill and the offense kept up the pressure throughout the game, never giving Western Illinois a chance to recoup.
Marvin Kinsey Jr. finished with 13 carries for 89 yards on the ground and had two catches through the air for 91 yards and two touchdowns.
Also finding the end zone twice was senior running back Kinsey Jr. who had a great game through the air and on the ground.
A notable starter for CSU was sophomore LG Joctavis Phillips, who replaced freshman Nouredin Nouili and held his own among the starters.
The entire offensive line made a statement by only giving up one sack throughout the entire game.
Overall, besides a few mistakes, Hill led another successful outing in week two after going up against a tough Pac-12 opponent in the University of Colorado. The offense looks to continue this success going into Arkansas next weekend.
Defense Holds Strong in Blowout
By Nick Baker
After allowing a loud 51 points scored by the Buffaloes, the Rams defense didn’t just wish to tighten up against Western Illinois; it was a must. The team definitely showed up, en route to a 38-13 blowout. In a blowout, it is certain that all three teams work well, but my focus in this outing was the defense.
In a game that had no spread, the Rams certainly felt confident in a win. They avoided a potential trap game and went out and performed, shielding their fans from the shame that would come from losing back to back games, one against a rival and the other against a measly FCS team.
After not reaching the quarterback once in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, the defensive line showed up big time with seven sacks. Ellison Hubbard led the charge with 2.5, Toby McBride followed with two, Jan-Phillip Bombek had 1.5 and Keevan Bailey had one as well. This pressure resulted in many errant throws and quick drives for Western Illinois, suffocating their offensive production.
In the running game, Western Illinois averaged just 2.3 yards a carry, a poor rushing performance. Outside of an outlier of a 42-yard run by Kendon Walker, CSU’s run defense held strong and forced the Leathernecks to go to an inefficient passing game. With just 64-yards on the ground, the Rams had a light outperformance. If the 42-yard run is omitted, the defense surrendered just 22-yards on the ground.
A lone fumble forced by Bombek was the only turnover for CSU in the game. The Rams sit at an atrocious negative four in the turnover battle on the season.
After a good showing, a true test comes next week against the SEC opponent Arkansas.