Game day is just three short days away so now it is time to start previewing. I couldn't think of a better way to kick it all off than sitting down with someone who knows the Rams a little better than we do. Mountain West Connection, the SBNation blog covering all things in the Mountain West conference, answered a few of our questions about the upcoming game.
The Ralphie Report (TRR): The Rams overachieved a year ago, winning a bowl game in Steve Fairchild's first year. What are the realistic expectations for the program this year as the Rams once again try to replace the quarterback position, stars at running back and tight end and improvise on what is a relatively unproven front seven.?
Mountain West Connection (MWC): Reasonable? Well five wins is a real possibility, because the Rams should go 2-2 in non-conference with games against Colorado, Nevada, Weber State, and Idaho. Then home conference games against San Diego State and Wyoming are at home and with new coaches should be a win, and that fifth win might come against New Mexico on the road. Getting more then that could be tough with the road conference schedule not an easy path.
The Rams do have the most experienced offensive line in the country with 129 starts combined across the line, and this will help protect QB Grant Stucker, who was recently named the starter. Stucker is a senior but has rarely played and really got the nod because of injuries to the other quarterbacks. Do not be surprised if Klay Kubiak, who is still suffering from a shoulder injury, makes an appearance this season and possibly takes over the starting job.
Replacing the production from the tight end spot will not come from the tight end spot, but rather the receiver position. Rashaun Greer was named to the preseason All-MWC and had over 1,110 yards, and if the quarterback play is decent, he should improve off of those numbers. He will need to increase his touchdown production, though, as he only had three last year, and should be the second best receiver in the league behind UNLV's Ryan Wolfe.
Running Back is another concern as the Rams lost Gartrell Johnson to the NFL draft, and the primary backup in Kyle Bell. The new replacement will be John Mosure who is a junior but did play in ten games last year. Mosure also is a threat out in the passing game and should be productive due to the experience on the offensive line.
read the rest of the Q&A after the jump...
TRR: Give us a rundown on the Rams new quarterback Grant Stucker? What should we expect to see from him come Sunday and do Rams fans believe he can lead them to a road victory the first week of the season?
MWC: Well, Grant Stucker has little to no experience and really got the job by staying healthy during fall camp. Last year he appeared in three games but threw only five passes. The good news is that he is a senior, is being protected by an experienced offensive line, and has a first team all-league receiver in Rashaun Greer. The Ram fans should be pessimistically optimistic because the past few games have been close and came down to the wire. Stucker is nothing special he has just average overall quarterback skills and the only thing he has exceled at this fall is not turning over the ball. It is not out of the question for him to lead the Rams over the Buffs, but it is unlikely.
TRR: We know about the receivers being strong, an offensive line that is full of experience and a decent secondary. The question marks are at quarterback, the front defensive seven and running back. Talk about the front seven and running back, what do you expect from the positions and should their be concern? Also, any concern over a true freshman punter?
MWC: Really a punter question? A true frosh punter is a concern because the game is on the road, so the Rams hope he just does not shank one or do something stupid. The running game is a concern because the two main contributors are gone and the replacement John Mosure was not hyped that much out of high school but did get some light interest from Michigan State, Miami (FL), and Boston College. He has been stuck behind some good backs which limited his playing time, however, the Rams have done a good job in evaluating running back talent. Trying not to sound to repetitive but if the offensive line does anything then the running game should be fine. The defensive front may only return two starters with the best being sophomore LB Mychal Sisson, who had 105 tackles last year, but five of the seven are upperclassmen and have seen the field at Colorado State. So, even though the starting experience is not there this group has seen playing time and the drop off should be minimal.
TRR: What are Rams fans' feelings about playing the game in Boulder this season and do they actually think in 2020 they will be playing the game at Hughes Stadium?
MWC: The preference would be to play in Denver because the game seems bigger when played at Invesco. However, the switch angered Ram fans because it wasn't monetarily based, but administration based since the Buffs promise their fans at least six home games and a game in Denver would have been only five for Colorado. Also, playing the game there allows for more Rams fans to attend with a larger ticket allotment. It seems unlikely that the 2020 game will be played in Fort Collins, because the money is too big for either school to want the game at their home stadium the Rams will not give that up.
TRR: Give us a player or two on each side of the ball that Buffs fans should know about for the game Saturday.
MWC: Greer is the main weapon on offense and is a stud receiver who had over 1,100 yards and averaged over 17 yards per catch as the deep threat. Defensively the main star is Sophomore Mychal Sisson who will have to move from the strongside to the weakside. Last year he lead the team with 105 tackles as a freshman, but the reason for the move is due to the suspension of Brewer. Safety Klint Kubiak is intriguing because he is a solid player, but missed six games due to injury last year.
Prediction time - Colorado wins if.... They are able to get create pressure on the quarterback who is making their first start and then to create turnovers.
Colorado State wins if... The offense controls the time of possession and does not turn the ball over in the redzone.
Final Score:Colorado 28 CSU 24