(Video by Travis Green CTV 11 Sports)
Colorado State got an unfriendly reminder that No. 25 Boise State is not your average Mountain West football team. The Broncos (5-1, 2-0 MW) handed the Rams (2-4, 0-2 MW) a 41-10 loss Saturday at Hughes Stadium.
The Broncos lived up to their reputation for trickery, scoring the first points of the game on a gadget play. Wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes had the Rams fooled with what initially looked like a bubble screen. The receiver instead threw it himself to a wide open Thomas Sperbeck for a 53-yard touchdown.
A fumble by CSU running back Dalyn Dawkins then set Boise up in the red-zone on its next drive. The CSU defense bowed its neck and was able to force the field goal.
Despite having only thrown one pass in two drives, Nick Stevens was replaced at quarterback after the second series by Coleman Key.
Key went 5-for-19 for 56 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions. Stevens was put back in the game in the third quarter and finished with 60 passing yards, completing eight of 10 passes. Star receiver Rashard Higgins caught three passes for 42 yards.
CSU head coach Mike Bobo on the Rams’ offensive struggles against Boise State:
Boise running back Jeremy McNichols continued to build on an amazing freshman season with a 56-yard touchdown burst to put the Broncos up 17-0. He finished the game with 104 yards and two touchdowns, and another 77 yards through the air.
CSU finally found some success in the running game. Jasen Oden Jr. kept the chains moving while running out of the I-formation to set the Rams up in scoring position. They eventually got on the board when Key connected with Joe Hansley for a 13-yard touchdown. Oden led the Rams in rushing with 52 yards.
Boise responded in no time though, going up 24-7 on an 85-yard reception by Sperbeck.
The Rams got down to Boise’s 3-yard line, but elected to play it safe after getting stuffed and opted for the field goal. The Broncos added on another field goal of its own as the half expired, sending the Rams into the break down 27-10.
CSU showed some signs of life early in the second half. An interception by Nick Januska set them up with good field position, but that momentum lasted exactly two minutes before Key threw it right back to Boise’s Darian Thompson.
Boise tacked another touchdown on in the third quarter, but the pace slowed considerably in the second half. The Broncos took their foot off of the pedal in the fourth quarter, removing starting quarterback Brett Rypien. The freshman torched the Rams all evening, completing 22 of 35 passes passes for a career-high 339 yards and a touchdown, and also rushing for a touchdown as well.
The loss puts the Rams at 0-2 in conference play but their schedule lightens up a bit in the coming weeks. CSU hosts in-state rival Air Force next week, and then have a week off before traveling to Laramie for the Border War at Wyoming. The Falcons and Cowboys will be a slight step down in competition from the Broncos, and from last week’s matchup against the Aggies.
CSU plays Air Force Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Hughes Stadium.
Collegian Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @emccarthy22.