Colorado State starting quarterback remains mystery

Chad Deutschman

Colorado State still doesn’t know who their quarterback is.

The farewell Hughes Stadium campaign began with a 23-14 Colorado State win over University of Texas-San Antonio (1-1) and created even more controversy surrounding the team’s quarterbacks.

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CSU (1-1) came into the game with a lot of unanswered questions, the most important being not knowing who the starting quarterback will be.

Senior Faton Bauta got the start under center and quickly led the Rams to a field goal on the opening drive of the game.

Bauta played the entire first half, helping the team to a 20-14 lead at half.

The real fun, however, came at the 12:41 mark of the fourth quarter.

Bauta and the offense struggled to move the ball to start the second half, and after throwing three straight incompletions, two of which missed badly, the boo birds greeted the offense as they walked off the field. 

True freshman Collin Hill then entered the game for the team’s next offensive possession, much to the delight of the fans.

Head coach Mike Bobo said after the game that the decision to play Hill came due to the fact the team could not move the ball.

“I was not real reluctant when we could not complete a pass,” Bobo said about the decision to play Hill. “We thought that if we were struggling throwing the ball we would give him an opportunity. He didn’t play great either but he had two big completions.”

By playing Hill, there is now no chance of the freshman redshirting the 2016 season.

“You wold like to redshirt a young guy,” Bobo said. “But (through) spring, we felt he had a really good chance to be a really good player, so we get him ready to play. All along I was saying it would be a three-quarterback race and it was.”

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Barring any unforeseen circumstances, Hill could potentially receive a medical redshirt.

The first pass Hill threw went for 11 yards and a first down to sophomore Olabisi Johnson. Hill would go on to finish the game 2-6 for 26 yards.

Once Hill entered the game, there was the sense that the team was now his; that there was no going back once you throw the true freshman into the fire, but that was not the case.

Hill went on to start every drive for the remainder of the game, but Bauta came in for situational plays, utilizing his legs to help the offense move.

Bauta finished the game 6-17 for 82 yards, while also adding 4 carries for 39 yards.

“(Collin) is gonna compete this week, and give us the best opportunity to win,” Bobo said. “I still believe Faton will play, and gave us an opportunity to win with his running…he got some huge yards running the ball, which was big for our offense. That last drive the completion by Collin and then the 6-7 yard run by Faton put us in field goal range and Wyatt (Bryan) was able to make the kick.”

The Colorado State quarterback play has been extremely ineffective thus far. Now with two games to look back upon, the position group has combined to go 14 of 43 passing for 171 yards. Completing about 30 percent of their passes, the CSU quarterback competition, or lack there of, is in dire need of someone to separate themselves from the pack.

In Saturday’s win over UTSA, the poor quarterback play from Faton Bauta and Collin Hill was bailed out by an impressive performance on the ground, as the team ran for 220 yards, 193 of which came in the first half. Between Bauta and Hill, there were only three completions for CSU in the second half. 

Last season’s starter Nick Stevens was the only quarterback in the race to not receive playing time against UTSA after struggling in week-one. Stevens is still in the race, according to Bobo.

“Nick has to compete,” Bobo said. “He has to improve and show he can hit his targets. That is where they all stand. We do not have a starting quarterback right now.”

It could be Hill, it could be Bauta, or it could be Stevens. The team doesn’t know, the quarterbacks don’t know, Bobo doesn’t know. The race goes on.

When Colorado State takes on the University of Northern Colorado Sept. 17, it is very likely that the first player to go under center will not be the last.

Collegian sports editor Chad Deutschman can be reached by email at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @ChadDeutschman