Las Vegas Bowl Preview: Colorado State Versus Utah


The Colorado State Rams will look to complete one of the most successful seasons in their long football history when they face the Utah Utes in the Las Vegas Bowl on Saturday afternoon. With a win, the Rams would finish 11-2 and leave the program in great shape for whoever the new coach is.

The game can be seen on ABC at 1:30 Mountain Time on Saturday afternoon.

Saturday will be the first time the Rams take the field without Jim McElwain who left a couple of weeks ago to take be the Head Coach at the University of Florida. It’s hard to tell if McElwain’s absence will have an impact one way or the other on Saturday, but the Rams are saying all the right things heading into the contest.

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It’s very early in the bowl season but the game between the Rams and the Utes is one of the more attractive matchups. It features one of the country’s best offenses facing off with one of the nation’s top defenses.

The Rams are led by quarterback Garrett Grayson who has had a spectacular senior season and owns nearly every passing record at the school. Grayson’s favorite target is Rashard Higgins who was a finalist for the Fred Biletnikoff Award which is given to the nation’s best receiver. When the Rams are not throwing the ball around, they can run the football as well. Dee Hart had over 1,200 yards and is a physical runner.

The Utes defense will be the best unit the Rams have faced this season and have one of college football’s best pass rushes. They average almost five sacks a game and if the Rams are going to move the football, then their offensive line will have to play their best game of the season. The Rams must account for Utes defensive end, Nate Orchard on every play. Orchard averages more than a sack a game on his own and could make Grayson’s life miserable if given the chance.

On offense, the Utes feature a running game that is extremely physical. Denovtee Booker is tough to bring down and will be a challenge for the Rams who have been suspect versus the run at times this season. The Rams will need a big game from linebacker, Max Morgan if they are going to be successful on Saturday.

The Rams will also have to be at their best on special teams as the Utes rank as one of the best teams in the nation in that area.

On paper the Utes are probably the better football team and there’s no doubt that the Rams would be in a better spot if McElwain was still on the sideline, but he’s not. The game is the classic great offense versus a great defense and history says the great defense almost always wins but it’s been a magical season for the Rams, and maybe there’s one more rabbit in the hat.

Prediction: The Rams find a way and Jared Roberts kicks a late field goal to give them a 23-20 win.