Ag Day, “orange out” and an FCS opponent in No. 15 Illinois State.

This game was set up to be Colorado State’s from the get-go; though it was anything but that.

CSU’s offense was awful in the first half, with four punts and one score, while the defense allowed a handful of big plays and two touchdowns, trailing 14-6 at the break. The second half was quite similar as the Rams lost 35-19, being completely thrashed by the Redbirds.

“It was an embarrassment. We’re not very good right now,” head coach Mike Bobo said after the loss. “We’ve got to coach better. All that starts with me, as the head coach.”

The Rams got on the board in the first quarter when K.J. Carta-Samuels hit Olabisi Johnson for a nine-yard touchdown, although Wyatt Bryan doinked the extra point off the right upright, so CSU led 6-0. Yes, they actually led early.

But the Redbirds weren’t quitting; they completed a 30-yard pass from Brady Davis to Braxton Haley to set up James Robinson’s walk-in touchdown to take the 7-6 lead.

After being unable to move the ball on three straight drives, Illinois State managed to score, running the time down nearly perfectly as Markel Smith walked into the end zone for the 14-6 lead at halftime. The Redbirds put up 277 total yards of offense with 15 first downs in that first half.

The second half was a continuation of Illinois State’s supremacy; they took five plays to go quickly down the field 75 yards capped with a touchdown catch by Tylor Petkovich to push the lead to 21-6.

That’s when CSU finally responded as K.J. Carta-Samuels capped a drive by connecting with Nikko Hall to make it 21-13. But, the Redbirds scored on a 60-yard scamper by Markel Smith to again lead by 15 with only 9:19 to play. And James Robinson’s 57-yard run and score was the cherry on top for the Redbirds, pushing them to the winning 35-13 score. Marvin Kinsey added a touchdown for CSU but it was too little, too late.

Collin Hill, who came in during the second half to play the most he has all year, led a touchdown drive including the toss to Marvin Kinsey for the score.

For the Rams, it’s the first time they’ve lost in the orange jerseys on Ag Day, going 8-0 to start the tradition back in 2010. It’s also the first time they’ve lost to an FCS team since North Dakota State in 2012. The Rams fall to 1-4 with their first bye of the year coming next week.

“It’s a big disappointment. I really felt good about this week the way we practiced,” Bobo explained. “We’ve got to go back to square one and find our identity. We do not have an identity as a football team.”