No rest for the weary.
Colorado State, coming off their season-opening loss to the Colorado Buffaloes, play today on a short week.
The Rams were beaten handily by the hands (and feet) of CU Sunday, as Connor Wood connected with Paul Richardson and many other Buffalo receivers all game long. Meanwhile, CSU’s offense was stagnant; they hit on only a few big plays while converting on a mere 2-14 third down opportunities.
To make matters worse, Colorado State was bit by the injury bug last week, and those that were hurt are key offensive players.
Donnell Alexander, the sophomore sensation at running back, broke his hand and will almost certainly be kept out today. He was listed as questionable on Wednesday’s injury report, but having to hold onto the football is a priority, meaning he’ll ride the bench.
In his stead, Chris Nwoke needs to awake, while Kapri Bibbs looks to keep his solid performance from Week One going, minus that last-minute fumble.
At wide receiver, the Rams are hurting even more. Charles Lovett, who sat last week and led the team in receptions and yards last year, is still nursing a knee.
Maybe more importantly, Joe Hansley, who was explosive on both offense and special teams last game, injured an ankle in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. He was certainly special, returning the first punt for a touchdown by a Ram since 2006, and on offense, Hansley hauled in the longest play of the day, a 40-yard bomb from Garrett Grayson.
Simply, the Rams’ offense was anywhere from terrible to bad with Alexander and Hansley and the special teams were their best in years because in large part due to Hansley; how will CSU move the ball without two of their top playmakers?
Young receivers Rashard Higgins, Jordon Vaden and many more will have to step in and step up today, there’s no time to excuse away their dropped passes with inexperience. And Thomas Coffman – who returns kicks, too – will likely be looked at many times by Grayson in the passing game.
Their opponent today, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, is also searching for offense, losing 34-7 to Bowling Green in Week One. The game was 6-0 Bowling Green at halftime, but the Falcons blew the game open in the fourth quarter by putting up three touchdowns.
McElwain said he was most disappointed about his team not finishing in the loss to CU, making playing with consistent effort throughout a priority today, especially because it could be a close contest near the end.
The game kicks off at 5 p.m. MT and can be seen on CBS Sports Network.