The Colorado State Rams (3-5, 1-3 Mountain West) dropped a tough 41-17 loss Saturday to the San Diego State Aztecs (6-3, 5-0 MW), reaching a new low point in the season.
Despite suffering another frustrating loss, the team still seems to have plenty of fight left moving forward.
Down but not out
“There’s a lot of fight left in this team, we’re not giving up by any means. We are kind of frustrated right now because we know we can do better but we have plenty of fight left,” senior offensive lineman Sam Carlson said.
Another senior leader on the team, wide-out Joe Hansley, backed Carlson up on that.
“We’ve got plenty to play for still,” Hansley said. “We’ve still got a bowl game to play for and we can win out, there’s a lot of fight in the team and I have a lot of confidence in my teammates to show up Monday ready to play.”
The Rams would need to win at least three of their four remaining games to become bowl eligible.
Turnovers, turnovers, turnovers
One of the Rams’ biggest faults on Saturday was not being able to get out of their own way. The Rams struggled with turnover issues and missed on opportunities to score once again this week.
“We might be the worst turnover ratio in the country, and you’re going to be 3-5, that’s what your going to be if you’re the worst turnover ratio in the country and that’s what we are,” head coach Mike Bobo said.
The first year head coach, clearly frustrated after the disappointing loss, sarcastically offered up a strategy to avoid them moving forward.
“Maybe we will take a knee three times and punt and see if we won’t turn the ball over and win a ball game … I’ve never had this many turnovers in my life,” Bobo said.
One key turnover came with the score tied late in the second quarter when the Rams were driving as the first half was winding down. Quarterback Nick Stevens’ pass was picked off and SDSU was able to capitalize on a 54-yard field goal to take the lead 13-10 as the half ended.
“We at least had a shot to score a touchdown or a field goal at the very least, don’t give them any points and so that was huge and that was a mistake on my part, but I can’t be thinking about that. I’ve just got to go out there and rip it,” Stevens said.
Explosive plays going the wrong ways
Along with the turnovers, the Rams also had an issue with both creating and defending explosive plays. Bobo has made it clear all year that the Rams need to generate more big plays, while on the other end they give up far too many. Saturday was no different.
One of these big plays came in the form of a 64-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter, the dagger for the game.
“It was an opening outside, and there was a great block outside as well,” running back Donnel Pumphrey said. “I had to make one guy miss, and I was able to do that.”
The Rams couldn’t match the consistency of big plays from SDSU, but they were able to make a few nice plays throughout the game. Star wide receiver Rashard Higgins had a quality game with five receptions for 75 yards, including a 35-yard touchdown strike.
“He’s hard to cover, he’s big, he’s fast and on his touchdown he did a good job of high pointing the ball in double coverage and not a lot of guys can do that, he’s a special player on the field and exciting to watch,” Hansley said. “He’s explosive and that’s what we need, maybe give him some more chances to have some explosive plays.”
Collegian Sports Reporter Geoff Huebner can be reached by email at email@example.com and on Twitter @Huebnermedia93.