If you told me going into the game this past weekend that BYU quarterback John Beck would only throw for 168 yards, I would have told you that CSU won. And if you told me that one team ran for 30 yards, and the other run for 274, I would have told you Kyle Bell would have been the player of the game, and CSU again, came out of Provo victorious. Right? Wrong.
John Beck only threw for 168 yards because BYU's running game once again was brought back from the dead against CSU. For the second year in a row, BYU, who traditionally throws about 40 passes a game and runs the ball as a change of pace, ran for more than 200 yards against the Rams. One would think after containing the run-heavy attacks of Mountain West Conference foes Air Force and Utah, that shutting down a mediocre running game would have been easy task for the Rams. Wrong again.
And driving back through wonderful Wyoming I was asking myself, what happened? After two weeks in which Kyle Bell ran over anyone and everyone in his way, why did he only get the ball nine times? And total rushing attempts? Fourteen, if you don't include Justin Holland's scrambling. In the three game home stand, Kyle Bell touched the ball at least 25 times. During that stretch? The Rams went 3-0. Enough said.
Through the first two games, we have seen the Rams struggle on the road, especially running the football, and we have also seen that when Holland has to throw more than 20 passes a game, the Rams usually don't come away with a victory. Holland's line? Thirty attempts, 22 completions for 281 yards and two touchdowns. Holland played well, but it wasn't enough. And if you told me that Holland's performance was near flawless, again, I tell you the Rams win. Wrong for a third time.
Coming out of the gate, this team did not look like a team coached by Sonny Lubick. Penalties played a huge role, never allowing CSU to establish any sort of rhythm and putting them in first and long situations, basically eliminating the rushing attack.
The defense? They played well. They forced two turnovers which should have resulted in at least ten points for BYU, maybe more. But the offensive line of BYU had its way with the front seven, and Beck had an easy time throwing the football. After the dramatics against Utah, I would have thought the defense would ride the momentum and shut down the BYU offense. Wrong.
To BYU's credit, they played extremely well, but CSU didn't show up to play in the first three quarters, and as Justin Holland said post game, "Last week it was enough, and this week it wasn't."
The Rams are coming off another road loss, however, they do return home to welcome the not-so-welcome Wyoming Cowboys, who are as desperate for a win as anyone in the MWC. Will the Rams be prepared? I think Coach Lubick will have them ready to go for the Border War. And I hope I'm right.