Pope: Colorado State running game now a ‘monster’

Keegan Pope

Keegan Pope
Keegan Pope

The Colorado State dynamic rushing duo has become a three-headed monster. Mountain West defenses beware.

After Colorado State’s 31-17 victory over Colorado, all the buzz was about junior running backs Dee Hart and Treyous Jarrells – for good reason. The duo combined for 266 yards and three touchdowns in the Rams’ victory.

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But Saturday afternoon, converted safety Jasen Oden threw his hat in the ring, rushing for 68 yards and two touchdowns on just six carries. A potent Colorado State rushing attack just became lethal.

Each member of the trio brings a similar skill set to CSU offense while also providing unique aspects that the others don’t.

Hart, a transfer from Alabama, brims with a level of confidence that has not only rubbed off on his fellow backfield mates, but on the entire team. Along with a quick burst through the hole and outstanding vision, Hart has the innate ability to catch anything that comes near him, something the Rams didn’t have on a consistent basis last year from any of their backs.

Jarrells, who arrived at Colorado State via Grossmont Junior College in El Cajon, California, is the Rams’ “do-it-all” back. “Sosa” as his teammates call him, uses his diminutive 5’7 frame to hide behind Colorado State’s offensive line before using an elite-level first-step to surprise defenders and get to the second level. While head coach Jim McElwain pointed out Jarrells’ and Hart’s pension for trying to “hit a home run” each time they touch the ball, both have shown great field vision and patience while waiting for their blocks to set up.

And then there’s Oden, a junior from Buffalo, New York who was one of CSU’s best defensive backs last season before being moved to tailback after the departures of Kapri Bibbs and Donnell Alexander. While he filled in admirably during the spring, many expected him to see little to no playing time at running back once Hart and Jarrells arrived. And after touching the ball just five times in the team’s first two games, it looked like that expectation would become a reality.

But not if the guy they call “JO” had anything to say about it.

Looking to cement a Rams victory early in the fourth quarter, McElwain turned to his 215-pound bruiser to put the final nail in the Aggies’ coffin. And that’s just what he did when he bulldozed in for a one-yard touchdown run to put CSU up 35-7. And later, with the game firmly in hand, Oden showed impressive vision and a surprising burst of speed while outrunning everyone on the field for a 50-yard touchdown.

So what exactly does all that mean? It means that if you’re a Colorado State opponent this season, you should be afraid, be very afraid.

Along with the passing tandem of quarterback Garrett Grayson and Rashard Higgins, who have connected 19 times for 306 yards and three touchdowns in just three games, Colorado State has one of the best rushing attacks in the Mountain West. Between the three, Hart, Jarrells and Oden bring every dimension of an elite running back to the table. The Rams now have the ability to run inside, outside and get their backs involved in the passing game which will make life that much easier for Grayson and his receiving corps.

The bottom line is this: The Colorado State is offense was already scary – now they have a monster.

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The Pope has spoken.

Collegian Sports Keegan Pope can be reached at kpope@collegian.com and on Twitter @kpopecollegian.