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Rams dominate on both sides of ball in first victory of season

Most Colorado State football fans had never heard of Western Illinois University before this week, but Saturday’s game was an important one for CSU football. Last season, the Rams suffered a shocking 35-19 home loss to Illinois State University, who plays in the same conference as WIU. 

Well, this time, Collin Hill and the Rams were determined to not have a repeat performance against another Missouri Valley Football Conference opponent. On the Rams’ first play, Hill let it fly for a 75 yard touchdown, connecting with speedy freshman receiver Dante Wright, setting off the cannon just 10 seconds into the game. 

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“That play was pretty great; you couldn’t really chalk it up any better than that,” Hill said. “Coach said he wanted to take a shot, we had good pass protection and Dante made a good play.”

The Rams dominated the game on both sides of the ball. In the first half, the offense racked up 440 total yards, with Hill throwing for 351 yards. Wright hauled in five receptions for 103 yards with a score and running back Marvin Kinsey had 11 carries for 76 yards and two receptions for 91 yards and two touchdowns.

Dante Wright (22) stretches out to catch a pass from Collin Hill (15) during Colorado State's first home game, against Western Illinois. CSU defeats WIU 38-13.
Dante Wright (22) stretches out to catch a pass from Collin Hill (15) during Colorado State’s first home game against Western Illinois. CSU defeats WIU 38-13. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

Head Coach Mike Bobo has been impressed with Hill’s performance through the first two games of the season.

“I think he’s playing extremely well,” Bobo said. “He’s confident and he [has] to play confident for us to be successful. We’ve got some weapons offensively at different positions.”

Hill would finish the game going 25/32 for 367 yards and four TDs, while Wright added a carry for a 33 yard touchdown in the third quarter.

On the defensive side of the ball, CSU held the Leathernecks to just 215 total yards and allowed just 64 rushing yards on 28 attempts in the game.

The only thing that stuck out was that CSU fumbled the ball three times in the first half, with WIU recovering two of them.

Last week, the talk was about the defense and how they were unable to generate turnovers and get the offense back onto the field. This week, the defense was able to get their first turnover of the season.

Defensive end Jan-Phillip Bombek was able to sack WIU quarterback Connor Sampson and caused a fumble. 

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CSU's Mascot Cam The Ram leads the CSU football team on to the field for the CSU home opener against Western Illinois University
Colorado State University’s mascot, Cam the Ram, leads the CSU football team onto the field for the CSU home opener against Western Illinois University. CSU wins 38-13. (Devin Cornelius | Collegian)

“I thought it was a great day to be a Ram today,” Bobo said. “Any time you can go out and handle your business and get a win, that’s always an awesome feeling. I thought our boys played extremely hard. I thought the defense was excellent today, … constantly harassing the quarterback, tight coverage.”

The Rams were able to walk away with a 38-13 win over WIU, but there are still adjustments that need to be made before the team takes on the University of Arkansas next week. CSU lost the turnover battle again but was able to get a win because they outmatched WIU at every position. 

They won’t have that advantage next Saturday. The Rams also missed all three field goal attempts in the contest. Granted, the second miss was a 61 yard attempt at the end of the first half (the NFL record is 63 yards).  

To be successful against Arkansas, the Rams will need to take better care of the football and take advantage of the stops that the defense provides them with. Both sides of the ball are playing well, but have yet to have a complete game.

Junior Guerrero can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on twitter @juniorg45.

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About the Contributor
Devin Cornelius
Devin Cornelius, Digital Managing Editor
Devin Cornelius is the digital managing editor for The Collegian. He is a fifth-year computer science major from Austin, Texas. He moved to Colorado State University and started working for The Collegian in 2017 as a photographer. His passion for photography began in high school, so finding a photography job in college was one of his top priorities. He primarily takes sports photos, volleyball being his favorite to shoot. Having been on The Collegian staff for 4 1/2 years, he's watched the paper evolve from a daily to a weekly paper, and being involved in this transition is interesting and exciting. Although Cornelius is a computer science major, his time at The Collegian has been the most fulfilling experience in his college career — he has loved every second. From working 12-hour days to taking photos in Las Vegas for the Mountain West Conference, he cannot think of a better place to work. Working as a photographer for The Collegian pushed him outside of his comfort zone, taking him places that he never expected and making him the photographer he is today. As the digital managing editor, Cornelius oversees the photos, graphics and social media of The Collegian along with other small tech things. Working on the editorial staff with Katrina Leibee and Serena Bettis has been super fun and extremely rewarding, and together they have been pushing The Collegian toward being an alt-weekly. Outside of The Collegian, he enjoys playing volleyball, rugby, tumbling and a variety of video games. When in Austin, you can find him out on the lake, wake surfing, wake boarding and tubing. You can expect that Cornelius and the rest of The Collegian staff will do their best to provide you with interesting and exciting content.

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