Notes & Quotes: Colorado State vs. No. 25 Boise State

Emmett McCarthy

(Highlights by Eric Wolf CTV 11 Sports

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It’s tricky

While there is no official stat to prove it, Boise State leads the nation in trickery. The first scoring play of the game came when the Broncos appeared to run a bubble screen for Williams-Rhodes, but he instead threw it to Sperbeck for a 53-yard touchdown. Colorado State has been burned by gadget plays in the past – Utah’s first touchdown against in the 2014 Las Vegas Bowl was set up by a trick passing play.

“Hollywood” extends streak

Rashard Higgins has caught a pass in every game he has played in for CSU. After hauling in three passes for 42 yards against Boise State, the junior receiver’s streak of games with a catch now extends to 31.

That’s a lot of yards

Boise State put up 597 yards of total offense against CSU, more than double the Rams’ 256.

Quarterback confusion

Starting quarterback Nick Stevens only had one passing attempt before he was taken out of the game and replaced by redshirt freshman Coleman Key. Bobo explained after that the plan had been to put Key in on the second drive all along. Key went 5-for-19 with one touchdown and two interceptions. Stevens re-entered the game in the third quarter and finished went 8-for-10 for 60 yards. Key has now played in all but one game this season (Bobo stuck with Stevens the whole way against Colorado in the Showdown).

“We both need to play with more consistency at the quarterback position,” Stevens said after the game. “We both need to have good games.”

CSU head coach Mike Bobo discusses the quarterback change:

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About those fumbles…

Dalyn Dawkins coughed the ball up for the third time in the five games he has played this season. Last week, an untimely fumble in the fourth quarter cost CSU its chance of a comeback against Utah State. Against Boise State, a fumble on CSU’s second drive set up a Broncos’ field goal. Dawkins is the team’s most thrilling rusher and can be exciting to watch in the open field, but none of that will matter if he continues to struggle with holding onto the ball.

Power running

One of the positives for CSU in the blowout loss was the success had in the power running game, even though it wasn’t enough against the Mountain West powerhouse. The Rams lined up in the I-formation on almost every play of their first scoring drive. Jasen Oden Jr. isn’t the fastest running back, but he excels at picking up extra yards after contact. Combine that with Nu’uvali Fa’apito’s brilliant run blocking, and the Rams may have found a formula they can lean on in the future when they play schools not named Boise State.

Cory James climbs CSU record books

Defensive coordinated toyed with the idea of moving Cory James to the middle, making him the “Mike” linebacker in CSU’s new 4-3 defense. But he has since moved the team’s best pass rusher to where he belongs: lined up on the outside, sometimes with his hand on the ground.

Early in the third quarter, James beat recorded the 23rd sack of his career, moving him to fourth all-time at CSU in career sacks. He moved past Adrian Ross (22.5), who went on to play in the NFL after his CSU career. Ross spent five years with the Cincinnati Bengals from 1998-2003.

Family matters

Boise State safety Darian Thompson intercepted CSU quarterback Coleman Key in the third quarter, but that was not Thompson’s highlight of the week. Earlier in the week, Thompson became a father.

“Had a baby girl this week, missed practice, gets back there with his team. … What an awesome week for him,” Boise State head coach Bryan Harsin said.

Quote of the day

Rashard Higgins: “It’s frustrating. We all have to hang in there. We’re not used to losing. We have to bounce back and show what we’re capable of.”

Collegian Sports Editor Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @emccarthy22.