CSU football looks to rebound against MTSU in home opener

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Collegian | Falyn Sebastian

Kaden Porter, Staff Reporter

After week one of Colorado State University’s football season ended in a 51-7 loss to the University of Michigan, the Rams are looking to rebound at Canvas Stadium this Saturday against Middle Tennessee State University.

Colorado State wasn’t expected to upset the ranked Michigan team, so opening the season 0-1 isn’t a cause for concern. The game served as a nice source of income — CSU received $1.8 million to travel to Ann Arbor, Michigan, as well as an opportunity to experiment with an overhauled roster against an elite opponent.

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However, the new and highly anticipated air raid offense wasn’t able to find its rhythm as quarterback Clay Millen faced constant pressure and was sacked seven times in his first collegiate start. That shouldn’t be the case on Sept. 10 in the Rams’ home opener against a beatable MTSU squad.

“On the other side of the ball, one aspect of CSU’s defense to watch is how they’ll perform against the run. A week after giving up 234 rushing yards to Michigan’s bruising run attack, they’ll face an MTSU offense that recorded just 12 net rushing yards against James Madison.”

The Blue Raiders were also blown out on the road in their season opener, losing 44-7 to James Madison University, a former Football Championship Subdivision team playing in their first Football Bowl Subdivision game. 

James Madison was led by none other than former CSU quarterback Todd Centeio, who threw for 287 yards and rushed for 110 yards against MTSU. He also threw six touchdowns without being intercepted once, a performance Millen will aim to live up to this weekend.

MTSU’s defense allowed Centeio and the Dukes a total of 287 passing yards and 261 rushing yards, an indication the Rams’ offense may have a shot at a high-scoring rebound game. Millen, who had 137 passing yards, a touchdown and an interception against Michigan, will look to impress in his first home performance. 

On the other side of the ball, one aspect of CSU’s defense to watch is how they’ll perform against the run. A week after giving up 234 rushing yards to Michigan’s bruising run attack, they’ll face an MTSU offense that recorded just 12 net rushing yards against James Madison.

In the first-ever matchup between the two teams, CSU holds the betting edge with most sports books favoring the Rams over the Blue Raiders by around 10 points. The game is expected to be well attended, as fans will pour in to watch the first home game of new head coach Jay Norvell’s era.

The game is slated to kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday. Early weather forecasts expect the day to be cool, cloudy and possibly rainy.

“You could see a little bit of everything,” Norvell said at the team’s weekly press conference. “That’s the way we like to play. … This ought to be an entertaining game.”

Reach Kaden Porter at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @kqporter5.