The good news for the Colorado State Rams is that they are averaging as many points in the first half this season as they did for an entire game last year.
The bad news is the second half has provided diminishing returns. Colorado State, tied for 100th nationally in 2012 with 21.2 points per game, is 40th this season with 33.4 points per game. However, the Rams have scored 99 of their 267 points this season in the third or fourth quarter.
The Rams host Boise State in Fort Collins, Colo. on Saturday (6 p.m., CBS Sports Network).
"We want to play a complete game, start to finish," junior tight end Kivon Cartwright said. "We structure practice to go hard all four quarters, and we can't have any letdowns. We know we can't do that again this week."
A lack of second half production has played a key factor in two losses a 30-27 setback Sept. 7 at Tulsa, and a 34-27 home loss Oct. 12 against San Jose State. Colorado State led at halftime of both games, but had a combined 10 points in the second halves.
"We try to give them tons of different looks (in the first half)," quarterback Garrett Grayson told the Fort Collins Coloradoan. "At halftime, they get time to adjust to those things. We know they're going to switch things up and adjust to things we've shown them so we just need to go out ourselves and execute."
What has helped the Rams build up early leads has been a strong rushing attack, spearheaded by sophomore Kapri Bibbs, a junior college transfer. The 5-foot-11, 203-pound Bibbs has rushed for 767 yards and 12 touchdowns. He has 554 of those yards in four Mountain West games.
"He's strong and he's got good open field speed" Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. "He's a good player. He's sturdy. He packs a punch."
Colorado State coach Jim McElwain has employed a powerful rushing attack with multiple options, similar to what he did as Alabama's offensive coordinator from 2008 to 2011. Bibbs has teamed up with senior Chris Nwoke (327 yards) and sophomore Donnell Alexander (295), who led the Rams in rushing in 2011 and 2012, respectively, for a flexible scheme.
"We can go smash mouth, or we can run around people," Cartwright said.
The Rams won their last game, but those second-half struggles reared their head again.
Rushing out to a 35-17 halftime lead at Hawaii, the Rams totaled only 75 yards after halftime, and Hawaii was able to cut the game down to a 35-28 edge, ending the game with the ball on the CSU 45-yard line before turning it over on downs.
Though he said Hawaii "took it to us up front," McElwain said Monday the game was a step forward in that the Rams have work to do, but still walked away with a win.
"Our guys were embarrassed afterwards, from the standpoint of the way they played in the second half and that's a good sign," McElwain said.