FACTS AND FIGURES
Where: Fort Collins, Colo.
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Colors: Green and gold
Record: 2-3 overall, 0-1 Mountain West (10-3 last season; 0-4 all-time vs. Boise State)
Last game: Lost 33-18 at Utah State on Saturday
Mike Bobo, 41, is in his first season as the Rams’ head coach. It is his first head coaching job after spending the previous 15 seasons at his alma mater, Georgia, as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. He was a quarterback with the Bulldogs, winning 1998 Outback Bowl MVP honors against Wisconsin.
A balanced, pro-style system worked to great success last season, and has shown flashes of potential with a new quarterback and running back. The Rams are averaging 32 points per game, 23.8 against FBS foes. Sophomore Nick Stevens has taken a majority of the snaps after Garrett Grayson’s graduation, completing 89-of-160 passes for 1,129 yards with 10 touchdowns and five interceptions.
Senior Jasen Oden (382 yards) and sophomore Dalyn Dawkins (286), a Purdue transfer, lead the Rams’ rushing attack. Dee Hart ran for 1,275 yards last season, but he left a year early and went undrafted. Senior Treyous Jarrells had 450 yards in 2014, but quit the team after the Rams’ second game this season.
The marquee name on the offense is junior wide receiver Rashard Higgins, a Biletnikoff Award finalist last season when he had 96 catches for 1,750 yards and 17 TDs. He’s once again playing a huge role, hauling in 30 passes for 426 yards and four TDs in four games. The offensive line has allowed only seven sacks, but turnovers have hurt — only five teams have lost more than CSU’s 14.
Colorado State’s top four tacklers have between 32 and 36 tackles, all of whom are linebackers or safeties. Junior linebacker Kevin Davis is tied for the team lead with 36 stops and has a team-best 7.5 tackles for loss. Senior defensive end Martavius Foster has 3.5 of the team’s 10 sacks.
The Rams have just two interceptions this season (both by senior cornerback DeAndre Elliott) and have recovered three fumbles. They are No. 98 nationally in rush defense (193 yards per game) and 22nd in pass defense (168.6 ypg). Opponents have converted 25.7 percent of third downs, tying the Rams for the eighth stingiest defense in that department.
The Rams are in the top 10 nationally in two key special teams categories — ninth in net punting behind junior Hayden Hunt (42.0 yards per punt) and eighth in kick return average (29.8 yards per return).
Sophomore Deionte Gaines has been the primary kick returner, with a 24.7-yard per return average on nine attempts. But junior Jordon Vaden has two for 123 yards, dropping the ball at the 1 after a 99-yard return in the opener. Freshman kicker Wyatt Bryan is 6-of-10 on field goals, with one blocked.
DID YOU KNOW?
When Boise State makes its next visit to Fort Collins, the Rams will be playing in a new home. A $220 million on-campus stadium is slated to be completed in the summer of 2017, replacing Hughes Stadium, built in 1968 a few miles from campus.
Dave Southorn: 377-6420;Twitter: @IDS_Southorn