Behind enemy lines … ever heard the expression?
Study to defeat. Know them better than they know themselves. Infiltrate and conquer.
Who am I kidding? I am a writer (in a very loose definition of the word) who gets the weekly privilege of visiting with those in the know regarding Arkansas’ next football victim (also a very loose definition of the word).
This week I was pleased to visit with Kelly Lyell from the Coloradoan. Lyell covers everything athletic within the friendly realm of Fort Collins.
We spent a little time reminiscing about Colorado State’s comeback upset while hosting Arkansas last season, our thoughts on this weekend’s game in Fayetteville and which Bronco would make a better coach McGrath in a “Wildcats” reboot — John Elway or Tim Tebow? [Elway has his own Nintendo game… I’m just saying.]
With that said, here are the high points:
HitThatLine: Colorado State was on the receiving end of a loss versus your tough in-state foe Colorado to open the season. In week two, the Rams made short-work of Western Illinois on the turf of Canvas Stadium. How do you see the Razorbacks comparing to those two teams?
Kelly Lyell: I don’t think Arkansas is as good as Colorado, but the Razorbacks are probably a lot closer to that level than they are to the level of Western Illinois, which is an FCS program.
HTL: Last season Arkansas was up 27–9 with 2:48 left in the third quarter. The Rams made a great comeback scoring the go-ahead and winning touchdown with eight-seconds left in the game.
Do you feel Colorado State can put up late game points in a hurry in the same fashion as they accomplished in the 2018 meeting?
KL: Other than that game, one of Colorado State’s biggest problems under Mike Bobo has been the ability to finish games. The Rams often start fast but frequently play with less energy and stumble in the second half.
That was the case in each of their first two games this season, too, so I do not expect the Rams to be able to mount a big comeback if they ball behind like that again.
HTL: The Rams have received praise for their development of wide receivers.
How big of an impact do you believe your corps of wideouts this year will have as the team travels to Fayetteville and for the remainder of the season?
KL: Receivers remain the strength of Colorado State’s offense, and they have a far better quarterback running the show this year in a healthy and confident Collin Hill than they did last year when they were playing a grad transfer using a watered-down version of Mike Bobo’s offense.
Warren Jackson has the potential to be as good, or better, than the receivers CSU has sent to the NFL in recent years (Rashard Higgins with the Cleveland Browns, Michael Gallup with the Dallas Cowboys, Preston Williams with the Miami Dolphins, and Bisi Johnson with the Minnesota Vikings).
They have another great young receiver in Dante Wright (who has scored four touchdowns in two games as a true freshman) playing along with others who could develop into something special.
CSU will not have Auburn transfer Nate Craig-Myers for this game, but expect him to be available for the rest of the season.
He had to sit out a full calendar year from his last game at Auburn, which was September 15, 2018.
HTL: Why will Colorado State win this Saturday?
KL: If the Rams win it will because their defense stepped up and created a couple of turnovers more than their offense committed, or, perhaps, they made a couple stops.
Their offense can trade scores with just about anyone, but the defense has not been able to play at the same level.
And turnovers have been a huge problem through two games, with the Rams at minus-5 for the season.
HTL: Why will Arkansas win this non-conference match-up at home?
KL: CSU’s defense, as I mentioned above, is not very good, so Arkansas should be able to move the ball and put up some points.
If Arkansas’ defense can get one or two more stops or turnovers than CSU’s defense, the Razorbacks will win.
HTL: Score prediction?
KL: Arkansas 28, CSU 21.
HTL: Bonus Question: Pick a favorite – Canvas Stadium or Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium?
KL: Canvas Stadium, where the field is also named in honor of Sonny Lubick, by a longshot. Hughes was a great venue for many, many years for CSU, but it never made sense to have a stadium 3-4 miles from campus, up against the foothills.
It made for great tailgating, with everyone essentially a part of the same pregame party, but otherwise it left a lot to be desired as it aged.
We would like to once again thank Lyell for his time, and we wish his team the best of luck this Saturday as Arkansas hosts Colorado State at 3 p.m. You can watch the game on the SEC Network and listen to at HitThatLine.com.
Find me on ‘Twitter’: @petermorganwps