Rams lose bowl eligibility following sloppiest performance of 2018

Collin Hill. Credit: Brian Lossness, USA TODAY Sports.
Collin Hill. Credit: Brian Lossness, USA TODAY Sports.

Unlucky seven in Reno.

The Colorado State Rams officially lost bowl eligibility Saturday night in an ugly 49-10 loss to the Nevada Wolfpack.

CSU fell to 3-7 and will not play in a bowl game for the first time in six seasons. The bowl streak-breaking outcome was inevitable early on.

The now 6-4 Wolfpack grabbed early momentum by intercepting Collin Hill on the first drive of the game. Quarterback Ty Gangi connected with Romeo Doubs a few plays later for a 20-yard touchdown to put Nevada on the board first.

From there, the Wolfpack never looked back. Things only got worse for the Rams as well.

Besides a V.J. Banks’ interception, CSU had nothing positive to build off of during the opening half. By the time the half had concluded, all hope had been lost. The Rams trailed 28-0 heading into the locker room.

The Rams struggled to put up a fight when the score was still within reach. The offense produced only 82 yards and three first downs in the opening half. After Hill’s interception, CSU punted the ball seven consecutive times to conclude the half.

So much for that “spark” Collin Hill was meant to provide when being named the starter. Hill did little to help the offense on Saturday. Overall, the Rams combined for only 264 yards. Most of which came at meaningless stages of the game. CSU mustered 70 yards in the first half.

To say the least, CSU fans had good reason to flip the TV off prematurely on Saturday night.

It is evident that the Rams have played poorly for the majority of the 2018 season. However, the Nevada game was ugly. Maybe even the ugliest we’ve seen from CSU thus far.

More often than not, the Rams have found ways to dig themselves into early holes this season. Appearing out of sync has been the result of CSU frequently playing from behind.

However, that lack of chemistry reached an all-time high against the Wolfpack.

The unideal tone was set on the very first drive. Not only because Hill threw an interception, but because the sophomore didn’t throw the ball in the general direction of any green and gold jerseys. And right into the hands of a Nevada defender, who barely needed to lift his feet.

Hill didn’t turn the ball over anymore from there. However, the seven-play, 25-yard drive in which Hill suffered the miscue was the Rams’ most productive until the fourth quarter.

To put the lack of production into perspective, CSU punted the ball away seven times, while only compiling 13 first downs. Nevada totalled 29.

CSU’s unorganization was best exemplified by looking at the penalties. They came early and extremely often. The Rams were penalized eight times for 61 yards in the first half alone.

The rare occurrences of CSU producing a big offensive play always seemed to be called back by a holding call; which could be thought symbolically as a microcosm of the team this year. Specifically, from the troublesome offensive line. 

Speaking of the offensive line, the blocking was horrible all night. Without singling out the line there though, blocking was poor everywhere. Still, Saturday night indicated the miniscule amount of progress CSU’s )-line has made since Week Zero.

Another common, forgettable theme surfaced once again in Reno: Missed tackles.

The Wolfpack effortlessly achieved everything it attempted offensively. Running by defenders without breaking stride was a big reason for the offensive outburst.

Nevada totalled 632 yards. Four of the Wolfpack’s touchdowns were on plays of 20 yards or more as well.

The Rams’ pass defense didn’t make the trip to Nevada either. A large chunk of quarterback Ty Gangi’s season-high 402 passing yards were produced via finding receivers with defenders not even in the area.

I’ll give the players credit. They remained enthusiastic and motivated for the majority of the season despite negative results. But, tonight the Rams just looked like they didn’t care anymore. 

Maybe that’s because frustrations have boiled over to the extent that the coaches have lost the team. Regardless, it’s clear that tempers are flaring, and they aren’t necessarily being controlled.

Head coach Mike Bobo received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the first quarter. The typically level-headed head coach had to be held back by his staff while furiously arguing with a referee.

Bobo arguing in the first quarter, trailing by a score of 7-0, tells you everything about where this team is at. In a state of embarrassment.