The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

The Student News Site of Colorado State University

The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Print Edition
Letter to the editor submissions
Have a strong opinion about something happening on campus or in Fort Collins? Want to respond to an article written on The Collegian? Write a Letter to the Editor by following the guidelines here.
Follow Us on Twitter
Why Online Education is a Game-Changer for Nurses
September 25, 2023

Online education has revolutionized the way nurses acquire knowledge and skills by providing them with a flexible and accessible learning...

CSU defense taking pride in its early success

Colorado State Defensive Lineman Jakob Buys celebrates a sank during the first quarter of action against the Colorado Buffalos during the Rocky Mountain Showdown at Mile High Stadium. (Elliott Jerge | Collegian)

Contrary to popular opinion entering the 2017 football season, Colorado State’s defense, not offense, has put the Rams in a position to win each of the team’s two games this season.

It is difficult to criticize the offense’s performance when looking at statistics, as the Rams have averaged more than 30 points per game. However, considering that 58 of the total 61 points came in CSU’s week one victory over Oregon State, that average is noticeably skewed.


Meanwhile, the defense has allowed 22 points per game without demonstrating the extreme spectrum shifts that the offense has. In 2016, that average would rank second among Mountain West defenses.

For a unit that was overlooked coming into the season, the defense’s success is something to take pride in.

“Going into this year, everyone was talking about our high-powered offense and how great they were going to be,” senior defensive lineman Jakob Buys said. “We had a decision to make: either we step up with them and be a complete team, or we just let the offense dominate games. So we stepped up. We’ve been pushing our offense; our offense is pushing us.”

But the competition between the two units did not just start at the beginning of the year. Throughout fall camp, head coach Mike Bobo praised the defense for its success against the offense. Though there still plenty of questions to answered, the improvement was evident prior to the season opener.

Senior linebacker and defensive captain for a third consecutive week, Evan Colorito attributes some of the defense’s success to engaging in competition with the offense from the onset of camp.

“I think it started as soon as camp started,” Colorito said. “I think that’s what got us to the point where we’re at now with our defense being much better than we were last year. The competition starting in late July and carrying through August…It’s really nice to have everyone competing, realizing how important it is to have such a strong defense.”

Naturally, competition between the two units is a positive thing. When one side of the ball performs better than the other during a game, they are able to carry that momentum over into practice. This enhanced competition allows each unit to better themselves, something Bobo recognizes as vital to the team’s growth.

Mike Bobo on the sidelines
Colorado State head coach Mike Bobo on the sidelines during the Rocky Mountain Showdown on Sept. 1, 2017 (Jack Stakebaum | Collegian).

“Quite frankly (the defense) has taken it to the offense on a number of occasions, fall camp and through the first couple weeks of practice once the season started,” Bobo said. “It’s good. It’s good because we compete regularly, even when we’re in season…It’s back and forth for offense and defense. That’s only going to make us better. I love that competition between the offense and defense.”

Arguably the most impressive part of the defense’s success is something that cannot be seen by the final score. In both games, the defense struggled to find a rhythm early before settling in during the second half.  


Against Oregon State in week 1, they gave up 39-yard and 75-yard scoring plays in the first half, before nearly pitching a shutout during the second 30 minutes of play. 

The next week against Colorado, Phillip Lindsay broke free for a 45-yard touchdown in the first quarter and totalled 17 points early in the first half. Both games seemed as if they would feature the same shaky defense from the Rams that they demonstrated throughout 2016.

However, their ability to fight back after slow starts shows the resiliency that these Rams have on defense. Rather than folding under the pressure, CSU locked down in both games. They allowed seven second half points to Oregon State and shutout Colorado during the second half of the Rocky Mountain Showdown.

The defense’s ability to dominate opposing offenses after struggling to start a game has been one of the biggest takeaways for Bobo.

“The guys did what we asked as coaches,” Bobo said in regards to the loss to Colorado. “They were ready to play, they played extremely hard, they played together. For us to start off a little bit shaky, but find our grove and continue to play together and play hard for each other and be opportunistic on defense was a good sign.”

The Rams will look to build on their defensive momentum with the team’s annual Ag Day game against Abilene Christian on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 1:30 p.m.

Collegian sports editor Colin Barnard can be reached by email at or on Twitter @ColinBarnard_.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Hey, thanks for visiting!
We’d like to ask you to please disable your ad blocker when looking at our site — advertising revenue directly supports our student journalists and allows us to bring you more content like this.

Comments (0)

When commenting on The Collegian’s website, please be respectful of others and their viewpoints. The Collegian reviews all comments and reserves the right to reject comments from the website. Comments including any of the following will not be accepted. 1. No language attacking a protected group, including slurs or other profane language directed at a person’s race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social class, age, physical or mental disability, ethnicity or nationality. 2. No factually inaccurate information, including misleading statements or incorrect data. 3. No abusive language or harassment of Collegian writers, editors or other commenters. 4. No threatening language that includes but is not limited to language inciting violence against an individual or group of people. 5. No links.
All The Rocky Mountain Collegian Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *