5 takeaways from CSU’s Rocky Mountain Showdown stomping

Steven Montez runs for a score. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA Today Sports.
Steven Montez runs for a score. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA Today Sports.

Colorado State was blown out 45-13 by the rival Colorado Buffaloes Friday night, one of the ugliest losses in recent memory.

There weren’t too many positives to take away from this one, as the Rams look worse in every, single facet compared to last year. Which shouldn’t be surprising considering they returned the lowest amount of production in the country from last year, at 35 percent.

Let’s get to the five takeaways from this loss, with Florida and Arkansas next up for the Rams.

1. Colorado State’s defensive line lacks depth and push, once again. Richard “The Lionhearted” King was injured early, and was able to return, but with him in or out of the game, it didn’t matter. The Rams couldn’t pressure Montez when he threw the ball, though, the Buffs handed it off a ton in the game as CSU didn’t seem interested in tackling. Finally, they did record three tackles for a loss, all in the second half.

2. Overall, the defense was absolutely atrocious. Here’s a stat to help prove that: CU averaged 9.5 yards per play in the first half. Here are a few more: 596 total yards, 338 through the air and 258 on the ground.

Laviska Shenault enjoyed an 89-yard touchdown early in the second half to push the game to 35-10 and basically out of reach for the Rams. The tackling on that particular play was laughably bad. There were four touchdowns by the Buffs which went 38-plus yards. Talk about explosive plays.

3. The Rams offensive line needs to work on consistency and pass-blocking. Far too often, the CU defensive linemen were in K.J. Carta-Samuels’ face, hitting him as he threw or forcing him out of the pocket and making the QB throw on the run. All night, the Rams offensive line allowed pressure; how long will it take them to improve? They seem to be a work-in-progress.

4. Coaching was conservative on offense. Down 21 points, after being backed up to their own one yard line due to a punt, they ran the ball three straight times and had to punt it back to the Buffs. Later in the half, with under one minute to go, the Rams recovered a fumble but didn’t attack deep. Instead, they ran a lot of out routes which resulted in kicking a 51-yard field goal (which was good).

In the second half, following CU’s huge, 89-yard touchdown and trailing by 25 points, CSU punted instead of going for it on 4th and 5. Down 35 points, Colorado State decided to kick a field goal from the 10 yard line instead of going for a touchdown.

5. K.J. Carta-Samuels wasn’t terrible, but after his tipped-ball interception, he seemed to lose his confidence. Carta-Samuels was eventually pulled for Collin Hill — who was injured in February with a second torn ACL in the last two years — but returned to the field Friday night.

Hill was then pulled only one drive later in favor of Carta-Samuels again. KJCS finished going 18-33 for 176 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Carta-Samuels wasn’t the reason CSU lost, but he wasn’t great, either.

Simply, there’s a ton to work on for this team with two, difficult, SEC opponents on the docket. They could start 0-4.

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