Colorado State's bugaboos busted them once again.
The Rams couldn't convert consistently on third down Sunday, which killed their offensive momentum and ability to sustain drives.
It was dejavu all over again for CSU, except worse.
In the Rocky Mountain Showdown, the Rams were a terrible 2-14 (14.3 percent) on third downs, they were only very bad last year with a 34 percent conversion rate.
“We left a lot of offense on the field,” CSU head coach Jim McElwain explained. “I know this, we've done some good things. We've got to get better in a lot of phases. And I didn't think we ran the ball as much as we possibly should have, as far as controlling the line of scrimmage. I'll be honest there. That's something we have to step back and evaluate a little bit. Because we were just on the edge of hitting some big runs, too. Which would have kept our defense off the field, too.”
The Rams couldn't keep drives going, having to punt seven times, turning the ball over on downs twice and turning it over on fumbles twice as well.
That just won't get it done.
McElwain kept his starting quarterback secret until game time; how did he like Garrett Grayson's play as part of that dysfunctional offense?
“He'd like to have a couple of throws back but I thought he managed it pretty well. I really did,” said McElwain. “Missed a couple plays, made a couple plays with his feet. We didn't throw the ball down the field enough, honestly. There were some seams in there we didn't take advantage of. So I thought we were kind of, everything was horizontal today. So that's something we need to look at.
“I'm not putting this loss on Garrett by any stretch of the imagination,” he finished.
“We have to make the plays,” Grayson said of his performance. “We had guys open, I was missing them, and there weren't a lot of passes that were going through. I have to be more accurate.”
The junior quarterback finished the game going 22-39 for 201 yards and two sacks, decent but not good enough numbers to win the game. Of course, many of those incompletions were due to drops, and it was evident some of Colorado State's young receivers were like deer in the headlights, as Grayson mentioned.
While the defense played decently for most of the game, keeping the team in the contest, and special teams were the best they've been in many years, the offense still lags far behind.
It didn't help when starting running back Donnell Alexander when down with a hurt hand, but, McElwain said he'll make no excuses for this loss.
“I'm disappointed,” said CSU's Coach Mac. “I thought we would win the game. I still believe in these guys and I think we're a good football team.”
Now he's got to get them to prove it, pushing his offense to produce or again lose.
The Rams again play on the road, Saturday they travel to Tulsa, Oklahoma to face the 0-1 Drillers.
"It will be a short week for us," McElwain said. "We have to jump on a plane and head to Tulsa. We have to leave early on Friday. We'll get on that plane and we will go out and play our hearts out."
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