Beaulieu: CSU fans need to savor any improvement left in this year’s team

Mack Beaulieu

After an up-and-down game in a scary win for Colorado State football against San Jose State, Rams’ fans should take some satisfaction in a win while realizing that this season is now preparing for next season.

Aside from just getting a win, CSU’s improvement showed most in the defensive front and running game against the Spartans. Things started to go downhill fast in the second half and what we saw on the field, along with the fact that Coach Mike Bobo is not going anywhere, makes it seem like the Rams are building for next year.

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The success the team had in the run game was by far its best of the year and came against a team who had a surprisingly stout defense, 50th in the nation, coming into the game. Senior Izzy Matthews led a rushing attack that looked the part of a pro-style offense as the Rams spread the ball around to their other backs as well as redshirt junior Brendan Fulton.

The improvement bodes well for the season going forward, but also next year when Matthews has graduated. The Rams will have to find an effective and balanced game plan or someone will have to step up into being the primary ball carrier. Regardless, it seemed like the Rams were creating more holes with their young offensive line and being more creative with their play calling.

The passing game was unusually quiet as redshirt senior K.J. Carta Samuels threw for only 162 yards, despite having four touchdowns. Carta-Samuels had not been very effective in the first half, but the run game was clicking and the Rams were winning big. Shortly into the third quarter, this season’s strange quarterback question continued.

Carta-Samuels was once again pulled from the game while his team had the lead, in order for Colin Hill to lead two three-and-outs. The signal-caller threw a pick on his first play back in the game. The switch is something Bobo has done in every game so far this season and it is hard to see the logic at this point. Bobo is constantly juggling not wanting to throw away the current season while getting his future quarterback in order.

The Rams’ defense went on to lose any strong play it showed in the first half for most of the third quarter, signaling that all was not cured by a bye-week. The Rams began to be beat over the top and down the middle of the field in the passing game and the pass rush they generated in the first half disappeared as well.

Even against an 0-4 team, the six sacks and stingy run defense in the first half are strong indicators for growth for a team that only had two sacks in its first five games.

Bobo has been very clear, especially since the loss to Illinois State University, that there is competition at every position.

Hill has two years left, while Carta-Samuels is on the verge of graduation and Bobo has little to worry about this year besides being better next year. Bobo has an $8 million buyout that will be activated if he is fired this season and CSU has plenty of other reasons, like his health and the teams inexperience, to not think it is time to pull the trigger.

The Rams came out with a win on Saturday and with five of the next six teams being over .500, it is likely to be one of the last this year. What was once a palpable excitement in the locker room has turned into distaste for the year, with the concluding game inching closer.

At this point, fans should take solace in the small improvements that CSU showed for three of four quarters against the Spartans because for the time being, that is all the coaching staff has to look forward to as well.

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Mack Beaulieu is a reporter for the Collegian and can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Macknz_James