The CSU football team officially clinched its fourth consecutive losing season on Saturday in a 45-31 loss to Wyoming
While disappointments have been seen all over the field throughout the 2012 campaign, there are building blocks on the team that can be used and developed in the future of the program.
Sophomore linebacker Aaron Davis tallied 13 tackles on the day and junior cornerback Shaq Bell added five tackles and a sack.
Individual effort was seen from multiple Rams, but the problem was that the entire unit did not perform consistently throughout the game against the Wyoming offense.
“It was the little things. We were missing tackles, not running our feet and they’d get extra yardage and get a first down,” Bell said. “I give them credit, they got good things off what we did negative.”
On offense, the Rams were able to work in some younger players, and CSU coach Jim McElwain even elected to give freshman quarterback Conner Smith the start over sophomore Garrett Grayson and senior M.J. McPeek.
Smith completed 7-of-15 passes for 195 yards with one touchdown and one interception before McElwain decided to put Grayson in the game at the beginning of the third quarter.
Grayson played the entire third quarter for the Rams, but after throwing for 61 yards, and one interception, McElwain elected to put Smith back in at quarterback for the rest of the game.
“We were able to get both quarterbacks in the game, and that’s kind of what we wanted to do,” CSU coach Jim McElwain said. “(Wyoming) threw a couple of things at us that Conner was kinda not quite seeing, so I thought him sitting on the bench there, kind of seeing, taking a look (was effective). And it showed when he came back in he did some good things for us, so that’s all part of learning.”
Smith threw for 131 yards one touchdown and no interceptions in the fourth quarter alone.
The success of Smith and the Rams’ offense came largely because of the success of freshman running back Donnell Alexander, who rushed for 114 yards and one touchdown in place of junior running back Chris Nwoke.
Nwoke was held out of the game despite his effort last week against Hawai’i when he rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown, but fumbled the ball twice.
“I was pretty surprised,” Alexander said of McElwain’s decision to give him the start. “At the end of the day, it’s always about going out there and competing with one another. Me and Chris going out there and competing with each other, me and Tommey (Morris). It’s always a competition with each other.”
It’s a competition that might have just gotten bigger now that the Rams have three games remaining in the season and have lost seven of their last eight games.