CSU opens Mountain West place with tough road challenge – Greeley Tribune

This is the second in a three-part series profiling Colorado State’s 2022 opponents. This second installment focuses on the Rams’ first four conference opponents.

After wrapping up the non-conference schedule at home at Sacramento State, Colorado State will jump into Mountain West play with a road trip to head coach Jay Norvell’s former team, Nevada.

Boise State will then play back-to-back home games against Utah State and Hawaii before wrapping up the first half of conference play.

Last season, the Rams won their first two Mountain West games before dropping their last six. They’ll be looking for the same strong start, but will hope to keep that momentum going for more than a few games.

October 7, Nevada, Reno, Nev.

The Rams ended last season with a 52-10 loss to the Wolf Pack and will look to avenge that loss when they open conference play at Nevada.

Like CSU, the Wolf Pack will open the season with a new coach as Ken Wilson takes over a team that finished 8-5 last season and 5-3 in the Mountain West. Nevada lost to Western Michigan 52-24 in the Quick Lane Bowl.

Nevada was recently picked to finish fourth among six teams in the Western Division and one player was named to the preseason all-conference team, offensive lineman Aaron Frost.

Frost is a two-time second-team all-conference selection.

Other players the Wolfpack expects to contribute this season include Toa Taua, who rushed for 732 yards and six touchdowns last season, defensive lineman Dom Peterson, who had 40 tackles and five sacks, and kicker Brandon Talton, who was 22 of 30 field goals. and 52 of 52 PATs.

The biggest hole the Wolf Pack needs to fill is at linebacker. Last year’s Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year was Carson Strong. Strong passed for 4,175 yards and 36 touchdowns last season. Quarterbacks Nate Cox and Jake Barlage both played well in Nevada’s spring game.

Speaking of this spring game, running back Wesley Kommer rushed for 98 yards and a touchdown.

CSU is 12-5 all-time against the Wolf Pack. Nevada has won the last two meetings.

Oct. 15 vs. Utah State at Canvas Stadium, 5 p.m

Of CSU’s nine losses last season, none were closer than the Rams’ 26-24 loss at the hands of the Aggies.

Utah State then went 11-3 and won the Mountain West Division with a 6-2 record. The Aggies beat San Diego State 46-13 for their first Mountain West championship and finished their season with a 24-13 victory over Oregon State in the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl.

They finished the year ranked 24th in both national polls and were picked to finish third in the Mountain West Division this season. The Aggies received three first-place votes in the preseason poll.

Offensively, Utah State Doak Walker Award watch list member Calvin Tyler Jr. Tyler will lead the team who ran for a team-high 884 yards and seven touchdowns last season.

Also returning for the Aggies is quarterback Logan Bonner, who was named to the Davey O’Brien Award watch list. Last season, Bonner set five single-season school records with 3,628 yards passing, 36 touchdown passes, four touchdown passes in six games and 2.57 touchdown passes per game.

The Aggies also feature Outland Trophy Award watch list member Alfred Edwards III on the offensive line and Ray Guy Award watch list punter Steven Kotsanli.

CSU is 39-36-2 all-time against Utah State, a streak that stretches back to 1902. The Aggies have won the last three meetings between the two teams.

Oct. 22 vs. Hawaii, TBA at Canvas Stadium

Last season’s game between the Rams and Rainbow Warriors marked the most points scored in a single game by CSU, and the teams allowed the most points in a 50-45 victory for Hawai’i with 95 points.

Hawaii went 6-7 overall and 3-5 in the Mountain West. The Rainbow Warriors were picked to finish last in the West Division this season.

Hawaii is another team with a new coach this season, but it comes with some familiarity. Timmy Chang is set to lead his alma mater after a record-breaking career with the Rainbow Warriors from 2000-2004.

The Rainbow Warriors didn’t have players named to the Mountain West all-conference team, but they do have some firepower, though it will be a battle at quarterback during summer camp after Chevan Cordeiro transferred to San Jose State.

Running back Dedrick Parson returns after rushing for 618 yards and eight touchdowns last season.

Kicker Matthew Shipley was named to Lou Groza’s watch list after hitting 18 of 21 field goals and converting all 42 of his extra point attempts. He finished the year as the team leader with 96 points.

Defensive lineman Blessman Ta’ala returns as one of the leaders on defense after just 30 tackles and one sack last season. Tight end Caleb Phillps had 17 catches for 89 yards and two touchdowns a year ago.

The Rams are 15-11 against the Air. CSU has lost the last two games in the series and their last win came in 2017.

Oct. 29 at Boise State, TBD Boise

CSU will close out the first half of Mountain West play with a matchup against a team picked to win the Mountain Division.

The Broncos received half of the first-place votes in the poll after going 7-5 overall and 5-3 in conference play last season, including a 28-19 victory over the Rams.

Boise State had four players make the preseason all-conference team, led by last season’s Lou Groza Award semifinalist Jonah Dalmas.

Dalmas hit a school record 26 field goals last season, the second most in Mountain West history. He also led the nation in goals per game (2.17) and was eighth nationally in scoring (9.7 points per game). His .929 (28-for-26) fielding percentage ranks seventh nationally, and his career .917 (33-for-36) fielding percentage is the highest among active hitters.

Defensive end Scott Matlock had 41 tackles with 8.5 tackles for loss and 7 sacks last season.

Safety JL Skinner led the Broncos in tackles (92), solo tackles (66) and fumble recoveries (three) last season. He also recorded seven tackles for loss, five pass breakups and two interceptions.

Offensive lineman John Ojukwu was a first-team all-conference honoree in 2021. He started all 12 games at left tackle for the Broncos last season and went on to start 29 straight.

The Rams are 0-11 all-time against Boise State. CSU will be looking for its first win against the Broncos when the teams meet this season.

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