One game can define a season. For the Rams, that game is Saturday. One game, 60 minutes of football, for what could be the Mountain West Conference title.
The Horned frogs can clinch with a win against the Rams, and will no doubt be looking to sew up the proverbial package that would be a Mountain West title. With a win at TCU, the Rams would hold the tiebreaker over the Horned Frogs and, barring a meltdown in the last two games of the season, the Rams could bring the title home to Fort Collins. This is the closest thing to the MWC title game that we may ever see.
Regardless of the MWC title on the line, this would secure a spot in a bowl game, a winning season and a return to prominence that CSU has earned in Sonny Lubick's tenure here. Not to mention a win over a nationally ranked team, and a prestigious program at that, in TCU.
The keys to success are nothing new. A healthy dose of Kyle Bell, the Rams defense that showed up in the second half against New Mexico and a mistake-free Justin Holland. So, if the Rams can play like they did in the second half against New Mexico, they can't be beat. I've said it all year, and the stats don't lie, when Kyle Bell carries the ball at least twenty times, the Rams are undefeated. And once again, Holland was flawless, growing more as a quarterback with every throw. You can't say enough about his play as of late.
And how about that defense? Holding Dontrell Moore to 18 yards in the second half, not allowing New Mexico to get past their own 41-yard line and forcing turnovers left and right? That defense needs to show up in Fort Worth, and for all 60 minutes. They will face a two-headed monster in the TCU rushing attack as Robert Merrill and Aaron Brown head up the Frogs' ground game. Both backs are above 500 yards on the season, at 694 and 521 yards respectively. The Rams' secondary gets stronger every game, as Robert Herbert has established himself as one of the MWC's premier cornerbacks. Darryl Williams has been consistent, if not brilliant at times. With safeties Travis Garcia and Miles Kochevar striking fear over the middle, this defense is formidable. They have shown that they can stand tall when it counts, and make plays when plays need to be made.
If the Rams come out with the tenacity and killer instinct that we have seen throughout the season, and can play a mistake free game of football, they have a great chance to win this game. TCU is a team however that will take advantage of a slow start, or early mistakes. So careful play and sticking to the game plan will be keys to winning this game.
Sixty minutes of football – one game to define a season. This is how the West will be won.