Rams look to turn season around starting with rival Air Force

Geoff Huebner

Colorado State (2-4, 0-2 Mountain West) suffered a 41-10 blowout loss at home against Boise State (5-1, 2-0 MW), giving the team its fourth loss on the season – more than the Rams had all of last year.

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How they respond to the loss could very well define their season. 

“The team needs a win, that’s what we need,” Bobo said. “The way that’s going to happen is to talk less and work more.”

This Saturday’s homecoming game at Hughes Stadium against the Air Force Falcons (3-2, 2-0 MW) provides the Rams with an opportunity to get their first conference win for the third week in a row.

A victory would be a huge boost for the Rams, where as a loss would drop them to 0-3 in conference play and could prove to be insurmountable for the team’s conference goals.

If it’s any reassurance to CSU football fans, the coaches and players of the Rams fully believe the team has what it takes to learn from their growing pains and turn their season around.

“First year (starting quarterback) with a new system, there’s growing pains,” Bobo said. “More growing pains than I would like, and I’m sure more than our fan base would like but that’s part of it. We will get it right.”

Bobo wants it to be this week that his team gets it right, but he knows it will be no easy task.

“The last nine years they’ve won eight out of nine so they’ve had the upper hand and we’ve got to have a great week of practice and a great week of preparation,” Bobo said.

Air Force’s triple-option offense is clicking coming into Saturday’s contest. The Falcons have 1,604 rushing yards and 16 rushing touchdowns as a team in five games this season.

The Rams know they will have to be disciplined to prevent the Falcons from doing what they do well.

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“We have to be very disciplined with Air Force, they are a very disciplined team running their option so that’s how you beat (them),” junior linebacker Kevin Davis said.

Davis himself has been wreaking havoc in the backfield on opposing teams this year. The six-foot-three, 240-pound defensive machine leads the Mountain West with 9 tackles for a loss this season, ranking 26th in the FBS.

He credits his ability to get stops in the backfield to his hard work in practice and to his team.

“I think it’s the work that the scouts put in during the week,” Davis said. “We get a lot of those looks in practice, so just recognizing formations and try to play downhill.”

Bobo also recognizes the importance of discipline and defensive keys against Air Force.

“They’re going to be a team that we’re going to have to play assignment football against on both sides of the ball,” Bobo said. “We’re going to have to execute very well. We are not going to get many possessions offensively and they are going to test you as a defense.”

If the Rams are going to come out of the contest with a win, they will need their quarterbacks to be more consistent.

Senior tight end Kivon Cartwright is sure his quarterbacks have what it takes to get the job done.

“I know that (Nick Stevens) knows exactly what’s going on,” Cartwright said. “I know that he’s going to make the right checks or right calls … and I know what to expect out of him, and same thing with Coleman (Key). Both guys come in and command the huddle.”

The young quarterbacks need help from their playmakers though. Bobo has made it clear plenty of times this season that too much blame is placed on the two men under center.

“You would like for everything to be going smoothly at all positions, but it’s not and sometimes when the quarterback position is a little bit unsettling, that’s what we all want to talk about, but there’s a lot more issues than just the quarterback,” Bobo said.

If the Rams’ can channel Cartwright’s mentality, they will have a great chance to pull out their first conference win on Saturday.

“Last week we upped the intensity and everybody came to work,” Cartwright said. “This week we’ve just got to take it up another notch. Everybody’s got to come to work, it’s not about what happened, it’s about what we’re going to do about it.”

Collegian Football Reporter Geoff Huebner can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Huebnermedia93.