Collegian sports editor Chad Deustchman and Utah Statesman sports content manager Logan Jones share words about the Colorado State homecoming game against Utah State.
Chad Deutschman: Having lost both Mountain West games thus far, how much emphasis has Utah State put on this game against CSU?
Logan Jones: This is essentially a must-win game if the Aggies and their fans want to consider this season successful. The goal for this program in a rebuilding year is a bowl game, and a loss at CSU makes bowl eligibility extremely difficult. Coach Wells isn’t realistically on any kind of hot seat yet, but another loss early in the season would certainly raise some eyebrows. This game is USU’s chance to correct its current trajectory.
CD: Five games into the season, CSU is still trying to find an identity. One bright spot has been freshman quarterback Collin Hill. How do you think the Utah State secondary will hold up against a talented young quarterback?
LJ: Utah State’s secondary sports the unique (and frustrating) ability to force turnovers and impose its will like the veteran unit they ought to be in one quarter, and totally forget how to football in the next. Dallin Leavitt’s absence hurts, but the defense should still cause the freshman QB some problems Saturday. The front seven has done its part in helping out the back end, generating pressure and forcing several ill-advised throws — the problem is by the start of the fourth quarter, the whole defense is exhausted from being on the field far too much.
CD: Who are some of the players on Utah State that CSU fans should look for? Who are the impact players on both sides of the ball?
LJ: Week one I would’ve told you to watch for hard-hitting safety Dallin Leavitt and harder-hitting running back Devante Mays, but with both of them out with ankle and knee injuries, the list of impact players is a bit more unpredictable. Presumed starting quarterback Kent Myers has to play better than his poor outing at Boise State. Defensive back Jontrell Rocquemore is developing into a nice addition the the secondary in Leavitt’s absence, and Brock Carmen has stepped into the vacant “somehow this dude gets 11 tackles per game” role left by the departed Vigil brothers.
CD: Kent Myers is a dual-threat QB. CSU struggled to contain Wyoming’s Josh Allen. How effective do you think Myers will be against a CSU defense that has a lot to prove?
LJ: Myers has made some boneheaded decisions this season, but he’s still a sound short-distance passer and does usually have a big 30-yard gain in him every game. Myers has to know this game is a put up or shut up game for him — if he can’t get the offense rolling, it may be time to explore other options. I expect he will be effective enough on the ground to open up the passing game a bit, and for the Aggies to finally take a step forward in mending their red zone woes.
CD: Your prediction? Will Utah State continue their recent success over CSU, or will the Rams catch the Aggies by surprise?
LJ: Coach Wells will get his guys up for this game. That locker room believed it was going to beat Air Force at home — and probably should have — and then managed to not get blown out in Boise. Utah State’s offense should finally make an appearance in order to help out what has actually been a solid defensive front all year. The Rams pose a solid threat to the mistake-prone Aggie offense, but I think this is the game Kent Myers snaps out of his slump. Utah State 24, Colorado State 17.
Collegian guest contributor Logan Jones can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org