Rams cope with key quar­ter­back in­jury

Orlando Sentinel - - COLLEGES - By Matt Murschel

Colorado State has set­tled into a nice rhythm, post­ing five con­sec­u­tive win­ning sea­sons.

But the Rams face a mountain of un­cer­tainty thanks to an un­ex­pected in­jury at quar­ter­back this off­sea­son and ex­pe­ri­ence is not in abun­dance at some skill po­si­tions.

The Rams are No. 101 in Or­lando Sen­tinel col­lege in­sider Matt Murschel pre­sea­son 2018 col­lege foot­ball rank­ings. Murschel ranked all 129 Foot­ball Bowl Sub­di­vi­sion teams in the coun­try. The Sen­tinel staff takes a closer look at a new team daily, count­ing back­ward from No. 129 to our pro­jected No. 1 team. Colorado

State

Mike Bobo (21-18, en­ter­ing fourth sea­son; 21-18 over­all)

7-6, 5-3 in the Mountain West Con­fer­ence; tied for sec­ond in Mountain Divi­sion

It must have felt like déjà vu for Colorado State fans, who watched the Rams fin­ish with their third con­sec­u­tive 7-6 sea­son. The team won six of its first eight games last sea­son be­fore los­ing four of its re­main­ing five. The pro­gram suf­fered its third con­sec­u­tive bowl loss un­der coach Mike Bobo. 7 5

4

QB Nick Stevens, RB Da­lyn Dawkins, WR Michael Gallup, WR Det­rich Clark, TE Dal­ton Fack­rell, OL Zach Golditch, OL Trae Mox­ley, OL Jake Ben­nett, DE Jakob Buys, DT Dar­nell Thomp­son, BUCK Evan Colorito, LB Kiel Robin­son, CB Kevin Nutt Jr.

WR Olabisi John­son, RB Izzy Matthews, FB Adam Pren­tice, OL Ni­cho Gar­cia, OL Ben Knox, LB Max McDon­ald, LB Tre Thomas, LB Josh Wat­son, S Jor­dan Fo­gal, CB An­thony Hawkins

Da­lyn Dawkins be­came the first 1,000-yard rusher for the Rams since Dee Hart in 2014 af­ter the se­nior rum­bled for 1,399 yards and 10 touch­downs. He leaves the school ranked third on the ca­reer rush­ing list with 3,185 yards. Izzy Matthews man­aged 613 yards in just 11 games last sea­son and ranks fifth in pro­gram his­tory with 26 ca­reer rush­ing touch­downs.

The Rams re­ceived some good news when safety Jor­dan Fo­gal was granted an­other year of el­i­gi­bil­ity. Fo­gal fin­ished sec­ond on the team in tack­les (71) last sea­son while record­ing two in­ter­cep­tions last sea­son.

Se­nior Nick Stevens earned first team All-Mountain West hon­ors last sea­son af­ter lead­ing the league in the ma­jor­ity of the pass­ing sta­tis­tics, in­clud­ing yards (3,799), yards per game (292.2), com­ple­tions (282) and touch­downs (29). The plan was for Collin Hill to step into the start­ing role in 2018, but the red­shirt sopho­more re-in­jured his left knee dur­ing a pickup bas­ket­ball game be­fore spring, ef­fec­tively end­ing his sea­son be­fore it even be­gan.

Yet it’s not all doom-and­gloom for the Rams, who landed Wash­ing­ton grad­u­ate trans­fer KJ Carta-Sa­muels.

Michael Gallup leaves the pro­gram af­ter putting to­gether one of the most suc­cess­ful ca­reers at Colorado State. He was a fi­nal­ist for the Bilet­nikoff Award, given to the coun­try’s best re­ceiver.

The Rams fin­ished in the bot­tom half of the con­fer­ence in to­tal de­fense af­ter al­low­ing nearly 432 yards per game.

Af­ter an ex­tended pe­riod of pros­per­ity at the quar­ter­back po­si­tion led by Nick Stevens, the Rams now face un­cer­tainty and are hunt­ing for a re­li­able quar­ter­back.

If Colorado State hopes to con­tinue its streak of con­sec­u­tive bowl ap­pear­ances, it will need sev­eral groups to come to­gether and ex­ceed ex­pec­ta­tions.

HAYNE PAL­MOUR IV/TNS

Colorado State tail­back Izzy Matthews re­turns to help lead the Rams' of­fense.

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