What’s the difference between Division-I A and Division-I AA football?
If Saturday’s game between the Colorado State Rams and the Weber State Wildcats was any indication the answer is simply: A lot.
The Rams dominated the Wildcats in every aspect of the game, piling up 275 more total yards en route to a 30-6 win. CSU held their opponent to a school-record minus-38 yards on the ground and recorded seven sacks. The Wildcats were only able to gain a total of 86 yards all day, another CSU record.
“I do believe we have a much improved defense,” said Head Coach Sonny Lubick. “We didn’t give up the big play. Their quarterback was good but he didn’t get much of a chance. ”
Lubick was also impressed by his team’s ability to play as a cohesive unit in the first game of the year.
“I really believe our players have bought in to playing for each other,” Lubick said. “We’ll see how that works out for us.”
Defensive end Jesse Nading, who has been asked about his team’s inability of stopping the run since he became a starter in 2004, was finally able to silence the critics.
“We’ve felt like we had improved and today we got that test,” said Nading. “I feel like we passed it.”
While the defense was record-setting, the offense was brilliant at times while stalling at others. After opening the game with two successful drives resulting in touchdowns, the Rams struggled to find consistency and committed two turnovers.
“We were focused but we got a stuffed a little in the third quarter,” said quarterback Caleb Hanie. “I felt like the guys responded well though.”
Running back Gartrell Johnson, who inherited the starting role after junior Kyle Bell suffered a torn ACL Wednesday, found a home in the end zone. He finished the day with three touchdowns.
The Rams’ offense suffered a blow when center Tim Walter left the game in the first quarter due to injury. Offensive guard Nick Allotta was forced to move to the center position.
“Switching from Tim to Nick didn’t affect me too much,” said Hanie. “But it felt like I got hit a lot more. They were doing their job though, that was a problem of me holding on to the ball too long.”
Hanie proved to be extremely consistent for the Rams except for a poor decision in the third quarter that led to an interception.
“I thought Caleb was a bright spot,” said Lubick. “He was showing good judgment and movement. The only thing was the interception. I thought he was pretty darned good up until that.”
While the offense could have played a little stronger through certain parts of the game, the end result couldn’t have been better for the Rams. As always however, the players were sure there is still room to improve.
“It was not a perfect game by any means,” said Nading. “We still have plenty of work to do. We got to see what we could and couldn’t do today though. We’ll take a look at film and hopefully improve on what we did today.”
The Rams next game will be against in-state rival University of Colorado. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m. at Invesco Field at Mile High Stadium.
COLORADO ST. 30, WEBER ST. 6
Weber St. 0 3 3 0 _ 6
Colorado St. 13 3 7 7 _ 30
CSU_Johnson III 4 run (kick failed), 6:48.
CSU_Johnson III 2 run (J.Smith kick), 1:27.
CSU_FG J.Smith 29, 8:27.
Web_FG Foley 42, :00.
Web_FG Foley 24, 13:01.
CSU_Johnson III 3 run (J.Smith kick), 5:20.
CSU_Hanie 6 run (J.Smith kick), 7:11.
First downs 9 24
Rushes-yards 24-(-38) 39-149
Passing 124 212
Comp-Att-Int 13-24-0 15-22-1
Return Yards 59 42
Punts-Avg. 8-40.3 2-42.5
Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-1
Penalties-Yards 7-55 2-20
Time of Possession 27:26 32:34
RUSHING_Weber St., Conway 15-14, Filipe 1-(minus 7), Pizarro 8-(minus 45). Colorado St., Ohaeri 3-39, Myers 7-38, Johnson III 18-34, Hanie 5-16, T.Walker 2-8, Farris 2-8, Da.Morton 1-8, Team 1-(minus 2).
PASSING_Weber St., Pizarro 13-24-0-124. Colorado St., Hanie 15-22-1-212.
RECEIVING_Weber St., Larsen 4-46, Mailei 2-22, Filipe 2-19, Conway 2-11, Graves 2-9, Loewen 1-17. Colorado St., Da.Morton 6-67, Sperry 4-83, J.Walker 3-34, Osborn 1-21, Roberts 1-7.