Colorado St Rams at New Mexico Lobos
University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Saturday, September 3, 2011, 6:00 pm Eastern, TV: The Mtn.
Opening Line: Colorado St -4 1/2
Current Line: Colorado St -6
Opening Total: 53
Current Total: 49 1/2
Opening Money Line: CSU -250 / New Mexico +210
Current Money Line: CSU -250 / New Mexico +210
Colorado St and New Mexico renew their rivalry to open the 2011 season in Albuquerque. These two Mountain West rivals usually play each other close. Three of the last five games in the series have been decided by field goals on the last play of the game. Colorado St won last year in Fort Collins 38-14. Colorado St has lost 11 straight road games.
Last season Colorado St finished 3-9 under coach Steve Fairchild. New Mexico finished last season 1-11 under coach Mike Locksley.
Colorado St struggled on offense last year averaging 334.8 yards and 16.5 points a game last year. The struggles could continue as Colorado St could start as many as 7 true freshmen on offense and defense. In fact, if you include redshirts 15 freshmen are listed in the two deep depth chart for the Rams. Sophomore Pete Thomas returns as the quarterback after taking every snap as a freshman. He completed 64.7% of his passes last year for 2,662 yards, 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. The leading returning rusher is sophomore Chris Nwoke who had 74 carries, 357 yards,and a touchdown last year. He also had 17 catches. Senior Raymond Carter had 65 carries, 235 yards, and 1 touchdown last year, and will be the primary back-up to Nwoke. Carter also had 15 catches and 3 touchdowns last year. Colorado St had 10 receivers with at least 15 receptions last year, but no one had more than 41 catches. Lou Greenwood, Byron Steele, Matt Yemm, Marquise Law, T.J. Borcky, and the running backs will all get significant targets.
The defense allowed 423.8 yards and 35 points a game last season. The defense is led by All Mountain West LB Michael Sisson, DT Nuku Latu, Safety Ivory Herd, and cornerback Momo Thomas. They look to improve but they have a long way to go.
New Mexico’s offense was even worse than Colorado St’s last year averaging 266 total yards a game and just under 16 points a game. New Mexico hired a new offensive coordinator in David reaves. He will keep the no huddle offense but wants to establish some semblance of a running game. The quarterback situation for the Lobos is in flux. Last season B.R. Holbrook was supposed to be the starter but was injured a couple of games into the season. The Lobos then turned to freshman Tarean Austin. He too was injured and another freshman Stump Godfrey had to break his redshirt year and play. Austin was chosen as the starter for this year mainly because he is the best runner of the 3, and the line is inexperienced. Whichever quarterback is behind center will be running for their lives most of the time. The Lobos used 4 quarterbacks last year including then senior Brad Gruner and all four combined to complete 52.6% of their passes for 1,892 yards, 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Godfrey led the team in carries with 107 and rushing touchdowns with 4. Austin had 42 carries and 1 touchdown, but didn’t play in as many games as Godfrey did. Junior Kasey Carrier is the leading rusher with 104 yards, 373 yards, and 2 touchdowns. He also had 21 catches. Wright is out for the CSU game with a minor knee injury. Senior James Wright also returns after he had 89 carries, 304 yards, and 2 touchdowns. The top two receivers return for the Lobos along with Carrier. Ty Kirk had 38 receptions, 477 yards, and 2 touchdowns last year. Lucas Reed had 33 catches, 459 yards, and 5 interceptions last year.
The New Mexico defense ranked next to last in total yards allowed with 469 yards, and dead last in points allowed with 44 a game. New Mexico moves to a 4-2-5 alignment this season in hopes of taking pressure off the defense. The defensive line is loaded with veterans but they were supposed to be the strength of the unit last year and didn’t live up to potential.
New Mexico is 0-8 against the spread in September the last 3 seasons. Something has to give though as CSU is 1-4 in their last 5 September games. The Rams are 1-9 ATS in their last 10 as a road favorite. The over is 13-3 in the Rams’ last 16 as a road favorite, and the over is 6-1 in New Mexico’s last 7 as a home dog.
Neither of these teams are very good. They both struggle on offense and on defense as well. Colorado St won three games last season against UNLV, New Mexico and Idaho. I think this game will be close and could come down to a late field goal. New Mexico is awful but Colorado St shouldn’t be a 6 point road favorite over anybody.
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