Colorado State needs a win Saturday to stay on track towards earning a bowl berth at the end of the season. For better insight into Utah State, who enters the game at 2-3 (0-2 MWC), Inside The Rams obtained the insight of UStateAggies.com publisher Isaac Draxler of the Utah State Scout affiliate. Kickoff is set for 8pm MST from Hughes Stadium.
1. Like the Rams, the Aggies come into this contest at 2-3. However, USU has faced tough competition thus far, with the three losses coming at the hands of USC, Air Force and Boise State. In your mind, how does this year's squad under Matt Wells compare to his teams from the past few years? Is this a bit of a rebuilding year, or can this team still compete for a Mountain West title, even with the two early Mountain Division losses?
Draxler: This team is pretty similar to past years. The Aggies have built a blueprint. The injuries of Devante Mays (RB) and Dallin Leavitt (Safety) hurt but those are deep positions for the Aggies. Matt Wells is calling plays and has been a little conservative and predictable for Aggie fans liking. The Aggies will need to win out if they want a chance at the MW title game. They absolutely can with the toughest game left against San Diego State at home. Both Air Force and Boise State are beatable this year and that is what hurts about the 2 early losses this year.
2. Aggies dual-threat quarterbacks have been a major thorn in the side of CSU defenses of late. Break down the production of Kent Myers. What are his strengths and weaknesses?
Kent has been dynamic running the ball. Especially the last few games with Devante Mays he has been the best running threat. I am sure Aggie fans would say he should run even more than he does. Kent has also had a really good deep ball in the past as well. Last game he threw a couple deep passes that were just a little too far out of bounds. The key with Kent passing the ball is his offensive line. He has had passes knocked down and hurried passes on 3rd and short for example.
3. Who are the biggest playmakers on the USU offense outside of Myers? What can CSU do defensively to slow down the Aggies?
Four guys have been the steady threats catching the ball for the Aggies. Rayshad Lewis, Ron'quavion Tarver and Andrew Rodriguez are the top wide receivers. Wyatt Houston is a TE that has been very solid for the Aggies.
The biggest thing the Rams could do is get pressure on Myers and get their hands up to knock down passes. The hard part is if Kent gets out he can hurt you with his feet.
4. Outside of the USC loss, the Aggies have done well defensively, holding opponents to an average of 18.5 points per game. What are the strengths and weaknesses of Utah State's defense? Any playmakers in particular CSU should game plan around?
Leavitt was one of the leaders of the defense before his injury against AF. Anthony Williams is a LB that will be out for the first half after a targeting call ejection against Boise. So in the first half Travis Seefeldt at Nose Guard is a guy that is a huge key for the Aggies. The guys behind him are Freshman and Sophomores so they are still improving. Jalen Davis and Daniel Gray have been really good this year at Cornerback. They have very rarely been beat this year on the outside. Bailey #8 has come in a few times and struggled at times. If Colorado State targets the right guys and runs the ball when they have a good matchup they could see some success.
5. Utah State has won 13 of its last 19 conference road games and the Aggies are 12-5 under Matt Wells following a loss (USU lost 21-10 at Boise State last week). What are your keys to an Aggies victory and a score prediction?
This is a MUST win game for Utah State. I think the key to the Aggies win is the offensive line coming out hungry. They have to replicate what Wyoming did bullying the Rams. That would open up lanes for Myers to run and throw and pick apart that Rams D.
If the Aggies can do that they should win easily 35-14