MWC Game of the Week #2: Colorado State @ Colorado | Sharapova's Thigh

The Game: Colorado State Rams @ Colorado Buffaloes
Time: Sunday September 6th @ 5 PM MT
Location: Folsom Field In Boulder, Colorado
Line: (CU favored @ -10 1/2)

Ah the history.... This rivalry dates back to 1893, one of the oldest rivalries in the nation. This will be the 81st meeting of these two in-state rivals. There was a 23-year lapse starting after the game in 1958. Currently the head-to-head record stands at CU 59, CSU 19, and there's been two ties.

Those statistics alone make it look like a CU warm-up game, but during the Sonny Lubick (previous head coach) era at CSU, the Rams turned it into a great rivalary in which the people of Colorado get very pumped up for this game, better known in-state as the "Rocky Mountain Showdown".

This is for bragging rights for the next 364 days (plus or minus a few). No matter how dominant one of these teams seems to be before the game, usually both play all-out and make it a close game.

How they match up this year:

CSU has the most experienced offensive line in the nation with a combined 125 starts under their belt. That is promising for new quarterback Grant Stucker, a fifth-year senior who head coach Steve Fairchild just named the starter in the last couple of weeks. That was soon after Fairchild had this to say after the Rams had intra-squad scrimmage:
"This was the absolute worst practice in my 30 years of coaching that I've seen at quarterback," Fairchild said afterward to reporters, who were allowed to attend a practice that was closed to the public. "They had no idea what they were doing, and on the rare occasion when they did do the right thing, they couldn't hit what they were throwing at. So we've got a tremendous problem at quarterback."
Link(The Coloradoan)

Stucker will have a decent pair of receivers to aim for. Seniors Dion Morton and Rashaun Greer(pictured top left) combined for almost 2,000 yards receiving in 2008. However, they will be facing a Buffaloes pass defense that was ranked #1 in the Big 12 last year.

CU's quarterback Cody Hawkins(pictured right) is the son of head coach Dan Hawkins. He has a lot on his shoulders after his dad proclaimed that they would win 10 games this year at last year's post-season banquet. However, he may end up splitting time with Sophomore Tyler Hansen. They have yet to name a starter for the game to try and throw off CSU's defense preparation. Offensive coordinator Eric Kiesau recently said that they may have one or the other play the whole game, but were willing to change it up depending on what CSU shows them on defense.

Kiesau also said that the Buffaloes weren't particularly a spread offense, and are more liking to be mostly running out of a two-back set. Their primary back is Darrell Scott, the most anticipated recruit last year in the Big 12. He had a disappointing first season, only rushing for 343 yards and one touchdown. They expect big things out of Scott this year though, and he may have a great game against a CSU defensive line that allowed over 190 yards/game on the ground last season.

CSU lost star running back and current San Diego Charger Gartrell Johnson, who set a bowl record for all-purpose yards in 2008 (375). They will be going with a high-motor guy in John Mosure as the starter, with a change-of-pace back in Alex Square and Junior College transfer Leonard Mason as backups . CU is apparently starting an all-new defensive line, but they have a solid linebacker corps that includes two returning starters that combined for 215 tackles in '08. CSU will have to establish the run game early to keep those linebackers guessing, so Stucker can get some good passes off.

I see a see-saw game and several costly turnovers by the eventual loser. This game should be close, but the one who wins the defensive line and turnover battles shall prevail. CU is just more athletic than CSU and should take care of business at home.

Prediction: CU 27- CSU 14.

(Disclaimer: I attended Colorado State University and it was very hard to put CU ahead of CSU in this dog-fight of a rivalry. I just feel this isn't CSU's year, hopefully I'm wrong. This info is not intended to be used to pick teams for wagering)

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