All right itâ€™s official, I jumped the gun last week.
I was tricked into believing this CSU football team had changed after a thrilling double-overtime win against Utah State University, but Saturdayâ€™s game proved the Rams are their own worst enemy.
Theyâ€™re just inconsistent.
Weâ€™ve complained about CSUâ€™s inability to stretch the field and this week it finally happened.
After weeks of almost no downfield passing, quarterback Pete Thomas finally connected on vertical routes, most notably to Lou Greenwood to the tune of 387 passing yards and three touchdowns.
The problem was that Thomas, in the best imitation of Michael Vick he could muster, was CSUâ€™s
leading rusher with 20 yards and an additional touchdown.
Now I know any of you that have seen Thomas scramble understand how painful it is to watch, and that if heâ€™s our leading rusherâ€¦weâ€™re in trouble.
CSUâ€™s running backs combined for just 45 yards of the teams 71 rushing yards and had no touchdowns. In fact starting running back Raymond Carter had more receiving yards (22) than rushing yards (15). To put that number into context, San Jose Stateâ€™s defense gave up an average of 215 rushing yards a game in the four games leading up to Saturday.
Last week Chris Nwoke looked to be CSUâ€™s answer for a consistent running attack, even sharing Mountain West Player of the Week honors, but he was nowhere to be found. Nwoke was, get this, fourth in rushing yards for the team with 12.
But this time around it wasnâ€™t even the offenseâ€™s fault for losing to a San Jose State team that hadnâ€™t won a non-conference game in nine years (yeah thatâ€™s right nine years). It was surprisingly the defenseâ€™s fault.
Defense had been the consistent bright spot for the team this season.
I mean they just stopped USU from getting the potential game-winning two-point conversion not once, but twice. But Saturday saw the Rams fail to make the critical stop consistently. CSU gave up a first-possession touchdown and the deciding 38-yard touchdown pass on a third and two in the fourth quarter.
San Jose State quarterback Matt Faulkner torched the Rams for 313 yards, 100 yards over his season average. The 38 points San Jose State put up on the Rams were 17 points more than the teamsâ€™ average this year. To make the defenseâ€™s letdown even more disturbing, running back Brandon Rutley averaged 5.7 yards per carry.
Why the inconsistency you might ask? Well I canâ€™t tell you for sure, but Thomas said something after the game I found alarming.
â€œWe just didnâ€™t come out with the fire and the edge that we need to and that falls on the playersâ€™ shoulders.â€
Perhaps the mystery behind the ups and downs has a simple answer: Motivation.
When a player says the team didnâ€™t have the â€œfireâ€ to go out and get a win at home, especially when every win is so valuable, there should be some red flags. Whether itâ€™s coaching or something else, the Rams need to find that fire because theyâ€™re running out of winnable games.
As I sat there stunned that we had lost what was in my mind a guaranteed victory, I came to the realization that this team canâ€™t be trusted.
Saturday was the polar opposite of the way I felt in Logan. The euphoria and excitement of overtime was turned to bitter feelings of resentment and disgust. I honestly believed CSU had turned the corner and was ready to return to a bowl, but now I feel lower than ever.
Until this team develops some sort of consistency, we canâ€™t be expected to hope for great things from them.
Sports Editor Cris Tiller can be reached at email@example.com.