CSUâ€™s football season, up to this point, could be called inconsistent.
Early on, the Rams struggled both offensively and defensively, failing to score a touchdown until Week 3.
In a Week 4 win over Idaho, freshman quarterback Pete Thomas thrived passing the ball. His efforts earned him conference recognition, only to be completely shut down a week later against then-No. 5 TCU.
While the offense failed to move the ball, the defense kept TCU to just six first-half points before the flood gates opened in the third and fourth quarters of a 27-0 defeat.
CSU entered last Saturdayâ€™s game against Air Force ranked dead last nationally in rushing offense but surprisingly got a huge day from senior running back Leonard Mason. Despite Masonâ€™s effort, the defense could not produce, as it surrendered 49 points to the Falcons.
CSU coach Steve Fairchild has said all year that he believes his team is talented and capable of winning games, but there is a gap between preparation and execution.
â€œSo far itâ€™s not good enough,â€ Fairchild said. â€œWeâ€™re not able to translate enough consistent play out there on the practice field on to the game field on a Saturday to get enough things going right.â€
Fairchild said he told his team, especially the seniors, to forget about the first six games of the season and challenged them to prove what they can do with what is left.
The good news for the Rams is that their next opponent, UNLV, is another struggling team â€“â€“ their lone win coming against winless New Mexico.
Thomas, like his coach, feels there is only one solution to the offensive inconsistency.
â€œPractice and practice and just working hard during the week and it should come together on Saturday,â€ Thomas said.
Defensive coordinator Larry Kerr continues to stress playing fundamentally sound defense as a key to success.
â€œIf you donâ€™t play fast as a defense, if youâ€™re sitting around waiting for things to happen, then youâ€™re not going to do anything,â€ Kerr said. â€œThat has really been the emphasis.â€
In order for the Rams to have a better second half of the season, playing consistent football will need to be a priority.
â€œWe look at every week as a chance to put together a game where we play more consistently in all three phases,â€ Fairchild said. â€œWeâ€™re continuing to try to improve and be the type of football team that I know we can be.â€
Aside from Utah, CSU has played the two best teams in the Mountain West Conference, and the teams remaining on its schedule have a combined 11-21 record.
Football beat reporter Cris Tiller can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.