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CSU football hosts San Diego State for Homecoming game

player runs with the ball
Patrick O’Brien looks for a receiver Sept. 21. The Rams lost to Toledo 41-35 but kept it a close game. (Ryan Schmidt | Collegian)

Homecoming week is special for not only the players but the students as well. Families will join in on the festivities throughout the week leading up to Saturday, with the game being the cherry on top.

After an extremely close battle against Utah State that resulted in a loss, the Rams look to bounce back in a big way in front of their home fans. Picking up a victory in front of the Rams faithful might be the spark this team needs to get them over the hump.

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“It’s a pivotal game for us, just being transparent and honest; … we need something good to happen,” Head Coach Mike Bobo said. “These guys are working extremely hard, they’re playing hard and we feel like if we could get over the hump, we can start putting something together.”

The Rams consistently find themselves in close battles with the opposing teams week after week. Unfortunately, they’ve come up short on multiple occasions throughout this season. They have what it takes to play with anyone on their schedule, and the next step is to put it all together and pick up wins.

Heading into Saturday, San Diego State carries a 3-1 record on the season. Their only loss came two weeks ago when they suffered a 23-17 loss to Utah State at home. Not only are the Aztecs having a great start to the season, but they’ll look to spoil Homecoming for the Rams.

The Aztecs are a reasonably balanced football team. They like to run the ball early and get into manageable situations that they can convert through the air. They average about 20 points a game and around 350 total yards of offense per game.

They have a good running game and have become more comfortable running a new offense this season with each game they’ve played. Slowing down running back Juwan Washington will be key for the Rams, as they’ve struggled to stop the run.

player runs with the ball
Dante Wright (22) and Warren Jackson (9) during the fourth quarter Sept. 21. The Rams lost to Toledo 41-35 but kept it a close game. (Ryan Schmidt | Collegian)

On the flip side of the ball, the Aztecs present a stingy and physical defense that allows only 11.8 points per game. 

“It’s going to be a very, very physical football game,” Bobo said. “Any time you play San Diego State, it’s going to be physical.” 

The Rams will have to be on their A game in order to be victorious. They will need to establish the run game early in order to gain control and keep the offense from being one dimensional. This might be a tough task considering starting running back Marvin Kinsey Jr. looks to be in the dog house.

After some ball security issues on Saturday against Utah State, Kinsey will likely see a dramatic dip in snaps. This means that the next man up is Denver native Marcus McElroy. McElroy is a 218-pound bruiser that will need to prove something to the coaching staff in order to gain their trust.

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“He had a great practice today,” Bobo said. “He needed to show us that he wanted to be the man, and I thought he ran hard. I think he (had) a great mindset this week, and he knows that he’s going to get an opportunity.”

The Rams need to find a way to play a clean football game. Penalties can kill drives, but turnovers will lose the team games. They finally had success last week as they were able to generate four turnovers against Utah State. If they can stay within themselves and play a sound football game, the Rams can be victorious and pick up a much needed win.

Kickoff is scheduled for 8:00 p.m. MT and will be televised on ESPN2.

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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