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1 week at a time: Rams football seeks victory against SDSU

Dante+Wright+%2822%29+gets+hit+by+a+defender+after+making+a+reception+during+Colorado+State+Universitys+game+against+San+Diego+State+University+Oct.+5%2C+2019.+CSU+fell+to+SDSU+24-10.+
Collegian | Devin Cornelius
Dante Wright (22) gets hit by a defender after making a reception during Colorado State University’s game against San Diego State University Oct. 5, 2019. CSU fell to SDSU 24-10.

A lot of eyes are on Colorado State football as they gear up for their final three-game stretch of the season.

Six wins is the goal for the team, but despite that elephant in the room, coach Jay Norvell said the team is focused on taking each game one at a time.

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“Everybody’s going to look at our schedule and say if we do this, then we can do that,” Norvell said. “And really none of that matters to us. To us, we’re in a one-game playoff where we get an opportunity to play a very, very good San Diego State team.”

Offense

The Rams offense struggled mightily against Wyoming in the Border War. The offense led by redshirt freshman Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi has been very up and down. On one hand, Fowler-Nicolosi leads all Football Bowl Subdivision freshmen in touchdown passes; on the other hand, he also leads them all in interceptions. 

“Brayden, he’s young, and especially me and Jacob (Gardner) being older, being able to play a lot of games, we know that there’s going to be valleys when you’re going through a season,” CSU offensive lineman Oliver Jervis said. “And just making sure he has the confidence to know that we trust him, we love him and that we’ve seen what he can do.”

While Fowler-Nicolosi has had his ups and downs, he has a good chance to bounce back this week against San Diego State.

The Aztecs have had a rough season, capped off by a 32-24 overtime loss against Utah State. SDSU sits 1-4 in Mountain West play.

SDSU has struggled this season, but sophomore linebacker Zyrus Fiaseu has seen a breakout campaign. Notching four sacks in his past two weeks and 10.5 tackles-for-loss on the season, he has been a game-wrecker for the Aztecs.

“It’s not a matter of just planning for an individual; it’s just planning for their entire defense,” Jervis said. “We have to just be prepared like they’re going to give us their best effort. We see how disruptive they are, so we just have to trust each other as an offensive line.”

Watch: The third-quarter offense

The Rams offense has struggled coming out of the half this season. While they’re projected to win this week according to ESPN, having a good third quarter will go a long way to making that prediction a reality. 

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“We haven’t played well in the third quarter (the) last two weeks,” Norvell said. “We responded in the fourth this last week, but in the third, we did not.”

Defense

The Rams run defense will once again be tested against SDSU. 

The Aztecs are looking to run, and quarterback Jalen Mayden leads their rushing game. The Rams struggled last week against Wyoming QB Andrew Peasley, who had 49 yards on the ground.

Although Peasley torched the Rams on the ground, cornerback Dom Jones intercepted Peasley, which was just Peasley’s fourth interception of the season.

“When we’re not playing the way that we’re capable of playing, it really comes down to fundamentals and taking on blocks and shedding blocks playing with leverage and tackling clean,” Norvell said.

Mayden, on the other hand, has been turnover-prone, throwing seven interceptions to just nine touchdowns. The Rams will once again look to create turnovers, something they have been extremely successful at this season. 

While it’s been a tough 0-3 stretch for the Rams, they will be back home on Saturday. The Rams are 2-2 at home, and their defense has had its moments in front of the fans in Canvas Stadium.

“It’s definitely really nice to be able to play at home in front of our fans (and) really put on a show,” defensive lineman Matt Thomas said. “It’s exciting, but like coach (Freddie) Banks said today, we’re just looking at San Diego State — this is our playoff game right here.”

Watch: The linebackers

Once again, linebackers Chase Wilson and Justin Sanchez will be under fire taking on a lethal SDSU running game. Both Wilson and Sanchez buckled down and had good games against Wyoming and will be asked to do that once again this weekend.

Reach Damon Cook at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @dwcook2001.

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About the Contributors
Damon Cook, Sports Editor
Damon Cook is the 2023-24 sports editor for the The Collegian and has been at the paper since August 2022. He started doing coverage on volleyball and club sports before moving onto the women's basketball beat. He is in his third year and is completing his degree with a major in journalism and media communication and a minor in sports management. As The Collegian's sports editor, Cook reports on CSU sports and helps manage the sports desk and content throughout the week. After having a year to learn and improve, Cook will now get to be part of a new age under the sports desk. The desk moved on from all but one other person and will now enter into a new era. Damon started school as a construction management major looking to go in a completely different direction than journalism. After taking the year off during the COVID-19 pandemic, he quickly realized that construction wasn't for him. With sports and writing as passions, he finally decided to chase his dreams, with The Collegian helping him achieve that. He is most excited to bring the best and most in-depth sports coverage that The Collegian can provide.
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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