In a Mountain West battle, the Colorado State Rams (6-5, 4-3) will travel to the west coast as they face the Fresno State Bulldogs (3-8, 2-5) Saturday night. Colorado State has won three of the last four meetings though Fresno State took a 28-7 win on the road as a 17 point favorite in the most recent matchup on October 6, 2012.
Colorado State has won three straight after knocking off New Mexico 28-21 on the road last week. Fresno State was pounded 52-10 at home by BYU for their third loss in the last four games. Kickoff from Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, California is scheduled for 9:00 pm ET and will be televised on the CBS Sports Network. Colorado State is currently favored by 10.5 points with the over/under set at 59 points in this contest.
Colorado State has put themselves in the bowl picture thanks to their recent win streak, though they weren’t exactly easy victories. The Rams led 14-7 after one quarter but trailed 21-20 entering the fourth: Izzy Matthews 1 yard scoring run and the ensuing two point conversion gave the Rams the lead they wouldn’t relinquish with 8:41 to play. Colorado State outgained New Mexico 485-326, picked up 26 first downs while allowing 20 and most importantly, forced three Lobos turnovers while not committing one of their own.
The Rams are averaging 233.6 yards per game (currently standing tied for 54th in the nation) through the air while contributing 189.8 yards per game (46th in the nation) on the ground. Colorado State is putting up an average of 29.8 points per game, which is tied for 61st in the nation in scoring offense; they currently are ranking tied for 67th in scoring defense by allowing 26.8 points per contest. Nick Stevens has completed 178 of 284 passes for 2,284 yards with 20 scores and 11 interceptions while Coleman Key is 21 of 44 for 251 yards with three touchdown passes and three interceptions. Jasen Oden is the team’s second leading rusher as he has 140 carries for 656 yards and five touchdowns while Dalyn Dawkins is next in line with 145 carries for a team high 744 yards and two scores; Izzy Matthews has contributed 363 yards and four scores on 67 carries. Seven players have double digit receptions for the Rams with Rashard Higgins leading the way with 65 receptions for 909 yards and eight scores; Joe Hansley has 23 grabs for 338 yards and five scores while Xavier Williams has 19 catches for 231 yards and two scores. Wyatt Bryan has hit 37 of 39 extra points and 13 of 18 field goals this season with a long of 44.
Fresno State was tied at 3 after one quarter against BYU but was bowled over 49-7 over the final three quarters to end up on the wrong side of a blowout. The Bulldogs were outgained nearly 2:1, 520-275, lost the first down battle 22-17 and turned the ball over three times while forcing a pair of BYU turnovers. The only stat Fresno State won was the time of possession battle as they held the ball for 32:02 to BYU’s 27:58 but that wasn’t enough for the Bulldogs to come close to competing in this one.
The Bulldogs have been mediocre offensively on the season as they are currently 108th in the nation in passing offense (178 yards) and tied for 114th in the nation in rushing (129.6 yards) per contest. Fresno State is scoring 21.5 points per game but they are tied for 119th in scoring defense as they allow 38.5 points per game. Four quarterbacks have seen action already this season; they’ve combined to complete 183 of 370 passes for 1,958 yards with 20 touchdowns against 16 interceptions while averaging 5.29 yards per attempt. It could be anyone’s guess as to who will be under center when this one kicks off. Kilton Anderson has seen the most reps as he’s 59 of 124 passing for 635 yards with two touchdowns and five picks while running for 171 yards and four touchdowns. Zack Greenlee leads the team as he has hit 74 of 156 passes for 866 yards with 13 touchdowns and six picks. The Bulldogs average a paltry 3.8 yards per carry on the season as a team; Marteze Waller leads the team with 201 carries for 808 yards and four scores; Dustin Garrison is second on the team with 50 carries for 231 yards and a score. Jamire Jordan currently holds the team lead in receptions with 42 for 488 yards and five scores while KeeSean Johnson has 34 catches for 309 yards and two scores. Da’Mari Scott (20 catches, 312 yards, 3 TD) and Josiah Blandin (20 grabs, 199 yards, 5 TD) are secondary targets while Waller has 18 catches out of the backfield. Kody Kroening has hit 27 of 29 extra points and five of seven field goal attempts this season. Jimmy Camacho hasn’t kicked an extra point this season but is 2 of 4 on field goals with a long of 44 yards.
Colorado State is 7-1 ATS in their last eight in November, 4-1 ATS in their last five conference games, 4-1 ATS in their last five overall and 6-2 ATS in their last eight against teams with a losing record. Fresno State is 2-8 ATS in their last 10 overall, 0-4 ATS in their last four against teams with a winning record and 0-6 ATS in their last six after allowing at least 450 yards.
The Bulldogs are struggling offensively this season as they can’t find a capable starter under center that has any consistency. Colorado State has some good weapons and they have the talent to be a thorn in someone’s side during bowl season. Given Fresno State’s dud performance against BYU, it’s hard to like them here, even playing at home. Give the points and take Colorado State in this contest as they win their fourth straight.