(Sports Network) - Making their home debut last weekend, the Rams find themselves spinning out of control during what has become a 12-game slide -- third-longest in the nation behind only Western Kentucky (23) and Eastern Michigan (15). The last win for CSU took place against another member of the Western Athletic Conference, the Nevada Wolf Pack about this time last year (35-20).
Colorado State is the lowest-scoring team in the nation at the moment, putting up just 6.3 ppg, after losing a 31-10 decision to Miami-Ohio last weekend. The setback followed defeats against both Colorado and Nevada in which the Rams managed to put up a combined nine points, while being outscored by 66 on the road.
As for the Vandals, they took on another member of the Mountain West Conference last weekend and did so rather convincingly with a 30-7 romp over UNLV at home in the Kibbie Dome. The win was the second in three tries this season for Idaho, which defeated North Dakota in the opener (45-0) but then bowed to sixth-ranked Nebraska in Lincoln (38-17).
CSU, which is the last team in the Football Bowl Subdivision to play a game in its home stadium in 2010, was taken down in a 31-29 decision in the meeting last year with the Vandals and as a result now finds itself tied at 3-3 in the all-time series.
Deonte Jackson ran for a mere 21 yards on 11 carries over the weekend for the Vandals, but when it counted most he came up big with a pair of rushing touchdowns in the victory over UNLV. Nathan Enderle converted 15-of-27 passes for 210 yards and a score as well for an offense that averaged a solid five yards per snap at home as it scored on four of its six opportunities inside the red zone. Kicker Trey Farquhar also played a crucial role with his three successful field goals, the first coming from a distance of 50 yards as he was named the WAC Special Teams Player of the Week. Farquhar has now made good on 5-of-7 field goal attempts this season, hitting two of the three tries from 40 yards and beyond, which means Enderle and the offense have something to lean on when they can't quite complete their mission. With an average of 228 ypg through the air, Enderle is still a weapon for the Vandals, despite the fact that he has been picked off seven times already.
Senior defensive end Aaron Lavarias said it was the best defensive effort he had seen since getting to Idaho, referring to the blowout win over UNLV last weekend. Lavarias, who was named the WAC Defensive Player of the Week, made three of his four tackles behind the line of scrimmage and forced a fumble in the event. Idaho defenders totaled six sacks as they kept the Rebels offense from ever finding a rhythm, permitting the visitors just 11 first downs and 187 yards of total offense. Lavarias is one of three players on the team with at least two sacks so far this year, while Robert Siavii heads the list of tackles for loss with 5.5 already. More importantly, Siavii has made several heavy-hitting plays that have resulted in three forced fumbles, the team totaling six forced fumbles compared to just two for the opposition over three games. Making an early play for WAC Defensive Player of the Year honors, Shiloh Keo is third on the team in tackles with 17 and also has three interceptions, one forced fumble and one recovery.
Little, if anything, has gone right for head coach Steve Fairchild and his Colorado State squad this season. Kicker Ben DeLine served up a 25-yard field goal in the first quarter against Miami-Ohio last weekend, but that was the end of the good news for a squad that stumbled its way to a 21-point loss on the road in Oxford. Quarterback Pete Thomas did deliver a touchdown pass to Matt Yemm, but that came with less than 90 seconds to play in the fourth quarter, so it matters little that the signal-caller converted 26-of-40 passes for 305 yards because he was also picked off twice and sacked three times. Because of those sacks, CSU was left with a measly one net rushing yard on 21 attempts and that's why the program is second-to-last in the NCAA in rushing with a mere 42.7 ypg at this stage. Thomas has managed to generate 231.7 ypg for the passing attack, but still the squad's overall pass efficiency rating is 112.58 and that is 99th in the country entering play this week.
Against the RedHawks, CSU was able to come up with five sacks and dropped Miami for a loss of 87 yards in the rushing department, still the visitors were fighting an uphill battle and suffered the three-touchdown loss. Rickey Brewer and Alex Williams did all they could to keep the Rams competitive with 12 and nine tackles, respectively. Brewer and Williams both logged sacks and combined for 4.5 tackles for loss, the team coming up with a staggering 12 TFLs and still couldn't force a single turnover. At this point, Colorado State is not only last in the Mountain West Conference in turnover margin, it is second-to-last in the NCAA with a minus-2.3 turnover per outing, but that's just one of the many reasons why the squad is still winless. The scoring defense has been touched for 35.3 ppg, seventh in the MWC and 105th nationally, with the secondary having a hard time stopping opponents from exploiting them through the air with a pass efficiency defense rating of 170.07 (115th in the country).
Enderle's stats may not be groundbreaking at the moment, but the fact that he's had plenty of experience under center with the Vandals is more than enough reason to go with the visitors in this battle.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Idaho 31, Colorado State 13
Saturday, September 25, 4:00 p.m. (et).
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