“Byes are probably the winningest team in sports,” CSU head coach Jim McElwain deadpanned last week. “I don’t think they have ever lost.”
Despite making light of heading into the bye week, McElwain certainly hopes his team accomplished what it needed to during the time off. The bye week came at the opportune moment, with the Rams sitting at 2-1. Their home-opener win against UC-Davis in week three helped to soothe the stinging loss to Boise State in week two.
Now, the Rams are refreshed and ready to head northeast to face the Boston College Eagles. The largely overlooked FBS team has been fighting for attention this year, taking down No. 9 USC two weeks ago, and demolishing Maine 40-10 last week. Facing the third-ranked rushing offense in the nation, CSU had a lot of work to do to prepare. Here’s a quick summary of what the Rams were up to during the off-week.
Biggest bye-week takeaways:
McElwain believes his team should be 3-0 right now, the loss to Boise an unfortunate thorn in his side.
Walking out of Alumni Stadium this Saturday, he expects his team to be 3-1. In order to do that, the team started watching Boston College game film last week.
They saw the Eagles hold to defeat USC 37-31 and then dominate Maine 40-10. They watched quarterback Tyler Murphy run for nearly 100 yards in each of those games as well as score four touchdowns; three on the ground and one through the air.
“They have a lot of explosive players, their quarterback is a play-maker, he’s fast and athletic,” defensive end Joe Kawulok said. “They like to run, so we really focused on that a lot, just stopping the run.”
Kawulok says the defense has a better understanding of their assignments this year, leading to less botched coverage, even with the dual-threat quarterbacks. The front seven and the secondary also had to work on communication this week.
“If the communication is off just a little, he will score,” safety Trent Matthews said of containing Murphy. “We have to be 100 percent, as a matter-of-fact, 110 percent to make sure everyone knows where they are going.”
The Rams will work more on specific game-planning as the week progresses, but for now, they are working to be back in game-mode.
Offensive lineman Ty Sambrailo is back in Saturday’s lineup. The left tackle was injured in the first quarter of CSU’s victory against Colorado in week one. Although the O-line was quick to heal, the leadership of the lone-senior on the line will be huge when facing an FBS opponent.
“Getting Ty back is big, he’s a huge leader,” center Fred Zerblis said. “It helps us with our calls honestly, because he sees the safety rotation really well. He can protect Garrett’s back side and that’s big for us.”
Tight end Kivon Cartwright and linebacker Kevin Davis are still questionable, and most likely will not see the field Saturday. However, special teams standout Jake Schlager will return after not playing yet this season.
Collegian Sports Reporter Micky Rastrelli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @c_rasta5.