Many experts labeled this past weekend’s college football schedule “Separation Saturday” and were quick to call Sept. 16 one of the greatest days to watch college football in recent memory.
However, there was nothing great to watch if you were a fan of the CSU football team.
In fact, there was nothing to watch at all.
Unless you paid to have the game streamed onto your computer via the Internet from University of Nevada’s Web site, CSU’s 28-10 loss to the Wolf Pack was nowhere to be seen. And rightfully so.
CSU was dominated in all facets of the game. The Rams were flagged for three personal fouls, very uncharacteristic for a Sonny Lubick-coached team.
From the opening kickoff in which junior George Hill stepped out of bounds at CSU’s own five-yard-line to the team’s last offensive play of the game – junior quarterback Caleb Hanie’s second interception of the night – the Rams, not the Wolf Pack, looked like the team that was 0-2.
The top-ranked Rams defense that entered the game was picked apart by Nevada senior quarterback Jeff Rowe, evident by his 39-yard touchdown pass on third and 28 with less than a minute to play in the first half.
And for the third consecutive game, the offensive line failed to create running room for a backfield that is starting to miss Kyle Bell more and more each time it runs for no gain.
Although the team was credited with 10 points, zero of them were the product of the CSU offense.
The lone touchdown for the Rams came when freshman linebacker Sedric Petterson recovered his own blocked punt in the end zone.
Hanie never looked comfortable dropping back in the pocket; and when he tried to scramble to gain yards on the ground, he was stopped for a short gain almost every time despite leading the team in rushing yards.
Entering the game, Head Coach Sonny Lubick said there would be no letdown after his team beat its in-state rival the week before.
Letdown or not, the Wolf Pack played with more energy and intensity than the Rams and were rewarded with its first victory over CSU in the school’s history.
The Rams now have a week off to fix, among other things, their pass-blocking, run-blocking, deep passing game and tackling, before traveling to California to face Fresno State – a team that beat Nevada by more than a touchdown earlier this season.
“Separation Saturday” was less than flattering for several other teams from the Mountain West Conference as well.
Other than an impressive win by Texas Christian and a blowout victory by Utah, the MWC went winless on a day full of non-conference games, thus foreshadowing upcoming conference play to unfold much like it did last year when TCU dominated while every other team fought to stay above .500.
A loss is a loss and one game won’t make or break an entire season.
But the Rams must go back to the drawing board this week and somehow find a way to establish a stronger run game in order to operate their offense the way it was designed to work, or things could get ugly in Fresno, Calif., on Sept. 30.
Staff writer Sean Star can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.