FACTS AND FIGURES
Where: Fort Collins (pop: 148,612)
Colors: Green and gold
Record: 4-4, 2-1 Mountain West
Last game: Won 35-28 at Hawaii on Saturday
Jim McElwain, 51, is 8-12 in his second season at Colorado State. McElwain played quarterback at Eastern Washington before serving as an assistant at his alma mater from 1985-94. He came to Colorado State after serving as Alabama's offensive coordinator from 2008-11 under Nick Saban.
McElwain also has coached at Montana State, Louisville, Michigan State and Fresno State, plus spent the 2006 season on the Oakland Raiders' staff in the NFL.
Incorporating many of the facets that made McElwain's Alabama offenses so successful with the likes of Trent Richardson, Mark Ingram and Eddie Lacy, the Rams' rushing attack has been strong. Three backs have rushed for at least 295 yards, led by Kapri Bibbs' 767 yards on 127 carries. Bibbs, a junior college transfer, has scored 12 touchdowns for a ground game averaging 182 yards per game.
Quarterback Garrett Grayson has started all eight games, going 148-of-247 passing for 1,847 yards with 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.
The Rams have scored at least 27 points in every game this season, minus a 31-6 loss at No. 1 Alabama on Sept. 21. The line has allowed only nine sacks.
The Rams use a flexible scheme that allows them to switch between three- and four-man fronts with senior Shaquil Barrett operating as a hybrid defensive lineman/linebacker, called the "buck" in Colorado State's system. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Barrett has been a terror this season, racking up 7.5 sacks and 13.5 tackles for loss.
Linebackers Max Morgan (75) and Aaron Davis (71) lead the Rams in tackles, while safety Trent Matthews has three interceptions to lead the team.
Against the pass, the Rams have been vulnerable, despite Barrett's pass rushing skills. Colorado State is allowing 310.1 yards per game through the air, 118th in the nation.
Aided by an excellent showing against Colorado in their opener, the return teams are both in the top 25 nationally. Joe Hansley had a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown against the Buffaloes, and Thomas Coffman had an 84-yard kickoff return. The Rams' 13.9 yards per punt return is 17th, and their 24.7 yards per kickoff return is 21st.
Barrett has two of the three kick blocks the Rams have this season they are one of 20 teams with three or more this season.
DID YOU KNOW?
Colorado State tight ends coach Art Valero played on Boise State's 1980 Division I-AA national championship team as an offensive lineman.