Football returned to Colorado State’s campus on Saturday, in the shadow of the stadium it will be played in when fall rolls around.
After a tough outing in Colorado State’s first two scrimmages of the spring, the Rams’ defense showed up at The Lagoon field ready to play in Colorado State’s Green and Gold Spring Game with all eyes on them.
In what looked like a game that the Rams’ offense was going to run away with early, the defense turned the tables and put some pressure on the offense through the next three quarters.
The spring struggles of Colorado State’s secondary have been documented, but despite a rocky beginning of camp, they stole the show on Saturday.
“I was really proud of the one defense,” head coach Mike Bobo said following the spring game. “Big interception from Schlager and then a big interception from Jamal Hicks when the offense had a little drive going, so it was good to see.”
The defense came up on the losing end of the contest, but the competition that hadn’t been there much throughout the spring was present on Saturday.
“The trend of the spring has been that the offense has really been putting in on the defense,” running back Izzy Matthews said. “But they really came out today, stuck their nose down, made a lot of open field tackles, saved a lot of really big plays.”
Cornerback Kevin Nutt Jr. said he was “excited” to have the attention on the defense on Saturday because it would show everyone how much they’d grown as a unit over the spring.
Following Saturday’s game, Nutt believed that the performance the defense put on did just that.
“It just shows the maturity of the team going through the spring practices,” Nutt said. “We started out rough and for us to come out and perform like we did today, it shows what we can really do. That’s what we needed to showcase and prove to everyone that we’re not bad like we’ve been doing in the past.”
Safety Jake Schlager had a similar feeling following the scrimmage.
“It speaks for itself because we did have our times where we struggled this spring and the offense flourished but we came out here and had some success, got some turnovers and troubled [quarterback] Nick [Stevens],” Schlager said. “That was awesome to see the defense come out here and make some plays. That’s what you’re really looking forward to is just the defense coming out and making plays and just continuing to progress from day one to practice 15.”
Schlager finished the day with one of the three interceptions the Rams’ first-team defense came up with on Saturday.
Despite silencing some of their critics with Saturday’s performance, Kevin Nutt Jr. still believes that there is plenty of room to improve before the Rams take on Oregon State in their brand new on-campus stadium on August 26.
“We definitely have more room for improvement,” Nutt said. “We played good today but we can play better. Especially when we play Oregon State in the new stadium.”
Featured Image Credit: Colorado State Rams.