Colorado State Rams Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

Colorado State Rams Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the Colorado State season with what you need to know and keys to the season.

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Colorado State Rams Preview
Head Coach: Jay Norvell, 1st year at Colorado State
6th year overall, 33-26. 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 3-9, Conference: 2-6
Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Colorado State Top 10 Players | Colorado State Schedule

Colorado State Rams Preview 2022

Colorado State made a power play.

It didn’t just go after a head coach from anywhere to try rebooting the program, it stayed in its own conference as it pried Jay Norvell away from Nevada.

It was a statement that Colorado State expected to be better, and it might have shown just how it thinks of itself – and where the facilities are – in the Mountain West pecking order.

This is a program that has no reason to be a non-factor in the Mountain West. It has the interest to improve, the support is there for a winner, and now the production has to come after four awful seasons coming off of three mediocre ones.

Colorado State should be a player in the Mountain West title chase every year. It should be one of those teams that gives Power Five teams a fight and becomes a national talking point at times.

That’s what the program is trying to get with Norvell. In this first season, at the very least, it’s going to be interesting because …

Colorado State Rams Preview 2022: Offense

If you don’t recognize any of the Colorado State offensive players, you’re not alone. The Rams not only got Norvell, but they got the high-powered style of passing game along with a TON of transfers coming in to change things up right away.

The offense wasn’t awful last season – it finished fifth in the conference in yards – but it was a grind to score and the passing game wasn’t dangerous enough. That’s about to change if this all works.

It starts with the new starting quarterback as Clay Millen goes from being the likely heir apparent to the Nevada No. 1 job to being the Colorado State main man.

Also coming over from the Wolf Pack is WR Tory Horton – he has the upside to become a major factor right away – along with speedy Melquan Stovall. Those two combined for 108 catches and over 1,300 yards last season.

They’ll work Dante Wright and Ty McCullouch – the two top Ram wide receivers from last year. However, there’s no way to adequately replace the nation’s top tight end, Trey McBride. Redshirt freshman Tanner Arkin will give it a try.

The running game won’t be totally forgotten about, but the offense will mostly be about winging it around. The backs will crank out big yards in open spaces, and that’s where the fast A’Jon Vivens and Nevada transfer Avery Morrow should shine. But …

Can the line adapt in a hurry? Again, welcome to the transfer portal with four of the projected five starters coming in from other spots. There’s size, there are two Nevada transfers who know what they’re doing, and there’s a decent left tackle from last year’s line in Brian Crespo-Jaquez.

Colorado State Rams Preview 2022: Defense

The Colorado State defense didn’t raid the Nevada cabinets like the offensive side did, but there are plenty of new parts to throw into the mix.

The D was among the best in the nation at getting into the backfield, but it didn’t translate into enough production allowing 377 yards and 28 points per game. Losing pass rushing terror Scott Patchan hurts, but there are enough veterans back to go along with the new guys to expect a quick bump.

There’s no replacing Patchan, but returning end Mohamed Kamara is a strong pass rusher with a hybrid style and terrific quickness. CJ Onyechi is a good veteran from Rutgers on the other side, and there’s decent experience and size in the interior.

The secondary is getting the new guys. S Angel King comes in from Nevada and the corners – D’Andre Greeley (JUCO), Chigozie Anusiem (Cal), and Greg Laday (Northern Colorado) – will rotate in around a few safeties left over from last year’s D.

The linebacking corps in the 4-2-5 is one of the few areas that’s set with Colorado State Rams from 2021. Cam’Ron Carter led the team with 100 tackles and Daquan Jackson was third on the team with 84. They’re 230-pound guys who know what they’re doing.

Keys To The Season | Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Colorado State Top 10 Players | Colorado State Schedule

Colorado State Rams: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats NEXT

Colorado State Rams: Keys To The Season, Top Game, Top Transfer, Fun Stats

Colorado State Rams: Key To The 2022 Offense

Get the timing of the passing game going.

All offenses require good timing – duh – but this one takes a bit to click. It’s not all going to blow up right away.

The Nevada version of what’s coming to Colorado State had a pro-caliber triggerman in Carson Strong and a deep group of receivers that kept making big things happen.

Coming up with passing yards wasn’t an issue for Colorado State last year, but there weren’t enough big things happening and controlling games was a problem.

Colorado State Rams: Key To The 2022 Defense

Come up with more takeaways.

Colorado State had a few moments with big plays thanks to the great pass rush, but even with all of the pressure and all the opportunities, the D only forced 14 turnovers and eight of them came in three games – two of them wins. That means there was just one turnover or none in nine of the games, and that has to change.

This isn’t going to be a rock of a defense right away, and the offense will need a while to get everything right. Last year’s Nevada defense came up with 27 takeaways – that’s what the Rams will be looking for.

Colorado State Rams: Key Player To The 2022 Season

QB Clay Millen, RFr.
It was about to be his time at Nevada, but the 6-3, 200-pounder followed the coaching staff and the high-powered offense over to Colorado State.

He brings more of a running element than Carson Strong provided for the Wolf Pack attack last year, and he’s got the high-powered accurate arm to be good right away. Fine in spring ball, the faster he’s great, the quicker the rebuilding will be.

Colorado State Rams: Key Transfer

WR Tory Horton, Jr.
Take your pick of any one of a gajillion transfers coming in to find sports to play right away. Clay Millen might be the most important transfer, and Melquan Stovall will make an impact, but the best of the Nevada guys might just be Horton, a 6-2, 175-pound speedster who’s dangerous with the ball in his hands scoring ten times in two years.

Colorado State Key Game To The 2022 Season

Utah State, Oct. 8
The cheeky Mountain West opener at Nevada will be emotional for all parts, and if there’s any dream of taking the Mountain Division a win at Boise State is a must. However, beating the defending Mountain West champ would be a huge moment.

Utah State will be dangerous, the offense will be fun, and this should be one of the most entertaining games of the Mountain West season if the attacks are doing what they’re supposed to. At the very least, this will be the game that shows just how far the program has come under the new catchings staff.

Colorado State Rams: 2021 Fun Stats

– Opponent 1st Quarter Scoring: 58 – 2nd Quarter Scoring: 119
– Red Zone TDs: Opponents 25-of-42 (60%) – Colorado State 21-of-49 (43%)
– Penalties: Colorado State 85 for 822 yards – Opponents 69 for 585 yards

O, D BreakdownSeason Prediction, What Will Happen
Colorado State Top 10 Players | Colorado State Schedule

Colorado State Rams Season Prediction, What Will Happen NEXT

Colorado State Rams Season Prediction, What Will Happen

Really, so how much better will Colorado State really be right away under the new regime and all the new parts?

Yeah, Jay Norvell and the staff were able to take the parts that were in place and build around them, but outside of linebacker, there isn’t any one area that’s a sure thing to be anything special without a lot of work.

And that’s the big question. Is this really a tweak or is Colorado State more of an overhaul that’s going to take a year or so to get everything working?

Set The Colorado State Rams Regular Season Win Total At … 6

It’s a wee bit debatable, but around four of the nine wins – probably more – could’ve gone the other way had the team been more consistent and more explosive offensively, and both of those things should be fixed.

Unless something crazy happens, forget about the opener at Michigan, and going to Washington State and Boise State are going to be problems.

The road game at Nevada will be fun, and going to San Jose State and Air Force are dangerous. However, Sacramento State, Middle Tennessee, and New Mexico should provide the base of three wins to work off of.

Throw in a possible home win over Hawaii and another win in somewhere – Wyoming is likely – and the Rams should be right in the mix for six wins and a bowl game. It might be tough to get to seven, but all the changes should be enough for a +3 win differential from last year.

Offense, Defense BreakdownKeys To The Season
Colorado State Top 10 Players | Colorado State Schedule

2022 College Football Schedules: All 131 Teams

Story originally appeared on College Football News