The Collegian Sports Desk weighs in on the Rams’ first Mountain West matchup, the Chuckie Keeton-less Utah State Aggies:
Score: 20-13 Utah State
Prediction: For the third straight year, the Rams will face Utah State without its star quarterback Chuckie Keeton. What did football fans do to deserve this? Without him to keep things entertaining, expect an ugly one. CSU’s offense struggled to move the ball against Minnesota and Colorado, and the Aggies might be better than both of those teams. The running game has been the most consistent part of the Rams’ offense lately, but it’s unlikely to be as successful against this Aggies defense. It’s going be be a game of inches, and I bet Utah State does just enough on its own turf to pull out the W.
Score: 17-14 Utah State
Prediction: Despite facing Minnesota’s vaunted defense in Week 2, this will be the best unit CSU will likely face all season. The Aggies are fast, physical and will run a lot of different fronts at CSU. The Rams will likely be down starting tackle Zack Golditch, and could be without starting guard Fred Zerblis and fullback Nu’uvali Fa’apito. The Aggies’ offense has been abysmal through three games, but I think they’ll have enough success to put a few points on the board. Expect to see a bare-knuckle street fight game Saturday, but the homefield advantage will provide just enough of an edge for the Aggies to knock off the Rams.
Score: 24-20 Colorado State
Prediction: Utah State’s 10-game home winning streak will come to an end on Saturday when the Rams travel to Utah to take on the Aggies. The Rams offense has too much talent to not put up big numbers and the defense should be able to handle the struggling Utah State offense. USU is averaging 14.3 points per game and the sturdy defense of the Rams is ranked highly in all of college football. The Rams are in the top tiers for yards allowed (44th), scoring (64th), third-down conversions (17th) and red zone defense (49th). Look for the Rams to continue to show growth in their victory over the Aggies.
Score: 20-14 Colorado State
Prediction: Man, oh man. If you love nitty-gritty, defensive football games, this is one for you, folks. Nick Stevens will be looking at another Minnesota-like defense this week, as Utah State has always boasted one of the best defenses in the Mountain West, year in and year out. Expect the Rams to be running the football a lot more to try and take pressure off their young quarterback. Dalyn Dawkins and Jason Oden Jr. will have a busy day trying to move the football behind a banged up offensive line. The key to this game is the Colorado State defense going up against a young backup quarterback. The Rams should have a lot of success against sophomore Kent Myers as he fills in for injured Chuckie Keeton. The veteran secondary led by Kevin Pierre-Louis, Trent Mathews, and DeAndre Elliott will be hungry and will cause some turnovers, which will end up being the difference in CSU’s win.
Collegian Sports Desk can be reached by email at email@example.com and on Twitter @RMCollegianSpts.