The good, the bad and the ugly: CSU humbled 41-10 by Boise State

Keegan Pope

(Keegan Pope/Collegian)

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There was not a lot for anyone around the Colorado State football program to be excited about after the Rams’ 41-10 loss to No. 25 Boise State Saturday night at Hughes Stadium. The Broncos flexed their collective muscles from the opening kick, taking a 17-0 lead midway through the first quarter, and they never looked back. The Rams (2-4, 0-2 Mountain West) head into a crucial home matchup with Air Force next Saturday, but before that it is time to take a look at the good, the bad and the ugly from Saturday night.

The good

Special teams

Boise State lineman Tyler Horn, center, celebrates with teammates after recovering a fumble during Saturday's game. (Abbie Parr/Collegian)
Boise State lineman Tyler Horn, center, celebrates with teammates after recovering a fumble during Saturday’s game. (Abbie Parr/Collegian)

This was really the lone bright spot for CSU. Punter Hayden Hunt averaged 44 yards per punt, and at least did his part to make it more difficult for Boise State to drive down the field and score. Kicker Wyatt Bryan connected on his only field goal of the game, a 20-yarder late in the second quarter. Other than a long punt return by Boise State’s Donte Deayon that was called back for holding, CSU’s coverage units did a good job of limiting any explosive plays in the return game.

The bad

Just about everything else

It seemed that everything that could go wrong for CSU did so, and then some. On the second drive of the game, CSU running back Dalyn Dawkins was hit and fumbled, and Boise State took over at the CSU 10-yard line. Though the Rams held the Broncos to just a field goal, it didn’t get much better from there. The Rams were down 17-0 before they knew what hit them. The offense managed just 256 yards, finished 5 of 17 on third down and didn’t score a point in the entire second half. On the defensive side, CSU gave up a season-high 41 points, 597 total yards and lost the turnover battle for the fifth time this year.

The ugly

CSU fans leaving early

No one can blame CSU fans for wanting to get a head start on the traffic leaving Hughes Stadium. But it wasn’t as if fans started leaving during the fourth quarter, there was a line to get out before halftime even started. At that point, CSU was trailing 27-10, and it looked bleak. But leaving before the second half kickoff is just a bad look. In addition, only 26,117 people showed up to Hughes Saturday night, just about 1,500 more than for CSU’s game against FCS Savannah State.

CSU’s quarterback dilemma

Neither of CSU’s two quarterbacks – Nick Stevens and Coleman Key – played particularly well Saturday night. Key finished the night 5 of 19 for 56 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He led the Rams’ lone touchdown drive, but forced the ball into coverage on multiple occasions when his checkdown routes were open. Stevens finished a modest 8 of 10 for 60 yards, but most of that came in the fourth quarter when the game was in hand. No matter who is under center, CSU’s offense is struggling mightily to move the ball, albeit against one of the best defenses in the country. At some point, you have to wonder if Mike Bobo will continue to shuffle them in and out of the game, or if he’ll decide on one and stick with it.

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The skinny:

CSU has faced more adversity through the first six weeks of this season than it did all of last season, including the consecutive losses to end the season. In its losses to Colorado, Minnesota and even Utah State to an extent, CSU had chances to win and squandered them. But Saturday night, the Rams were outmatched from the start. They will have a chance to regroup at home next week against Air Force in what should be a sellout at Hughes, but as head coach Mike Bobo pointed out after the game, they have a lot of things to figure out before then.

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