Colorado State Football: Takeaways From 51-7 Loss to #8 Michigan

·4 min read

Colorado State Football: Takeaways From Loss to #8 Michigan

It looked ugly, but there were some strong points for the Rams

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Can the Rams continue to build on their performance?

Colorado State went to the Big House and came out relatively unscathed. They were overmatched in the 51-7 loss to the top ten Wolverines, but there are some definite takeaways for this Rams squad.

The Rams defense was definitely up to the task early, but the Michigan defense wore them down as the game went on. Three early red zone stops leading to field goals and with the exception of one explosive play, really limited the Michigan offense in the first half.

The offense was understandably overwhelmed by the Michigan defense. You had a redshirt freshman quarterback making his first collegiate start and you had and offensive line making their first start together as a unit. These things will calm down as the year goes on, but they made the day frustrating at times.

Now onto to the takeaways for this Rams squad.

The offensive line needs time to gel.

This is the most obvious takeaway from the game. The OL looked lost at times because they weren’t trusting the guy next to them. That will come as the season goes on. The coaches tried to help early by calling quick plays to let the line come together, but it still wasn’t enough.

The OL also wasn’t helped by quarterback Clay Millen holding onto the ball longer than he should. Again, not a worrying concern as it was his first start, but still something to keep in mind. There were times he should’ve thrown the ball away and others he should’ve thrown it sooner. But that all comes with more experience.

The defense will be leading the charge for the early part of the season.

One could look at the box score and call this a crazy take, but it’s true. This CSU defense was doing it’s job for the first half, outside of one play. Michigan just kept leaning on the defense which lead to the box score looking the way it does.

The defense held Michigan to 3 of 10 on third downs. They held early in the red zone, including holding the Wolverines to a field goal after an interception. The defensive line was causing havoc in the backfield. The linebackers were making plays sideline to sideline. The only concern was the open receivers, but they were helped by dropped passes.

You can see the potential this CSU team has.

A late touchdown from Millen to Tory Horton kept CSU from getting shutout. Takeaway the sacks and CSU averaged 3.6 yards a carry. Which, coming from an air raid team, is respectable; especially against a Michigan defense that was top 15 last season and had to replace a number of key pieces on that side of the ball.

The defense kept the team in it early. The punting game looked bad, but that was because of the game plan. The coaches are not worried. The only ones really freaking out are the fans. This was a buy game for the Rams, earning the atheltic department $1.8 million. But there were positives for the CSU staff to take away from this game.

And now a take for the coming week:

The performance against Middle Tennessee is going to be make or break for the Rams.

Everyone wants to move on from the Addazio era and those two years have mostly been erased. But the one thing that was always troubling was the animosity directed towards Todd Centeio. And he proved why it wasn’t always deserved this week, as he dominated against Middle Tennessee to the tune of nearly 400 combined rushing and passing yards and six passing touchdowns in James Madison’s 44-7 victory.

Now that take is mostly directed at Middle Tennessee’s performance as they gave up 548 yards and only managed 119 yards themselves. If this CSU squad is what we think they are, this week will be the true test. If they can perform to a similar level as James Madison, this CSU team is on the right track. If they have a middling performance, there’s still some work to do. If they come out and lay an egg, then one can start to worry about this team.

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Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire