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Colorado State (6-5) at Utah State (6-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 23, 3:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Romney Stadium (25,513) -- Logan, Utah. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: CSU 3-2, USU 2-2. Away Record: CSU 3-2, USU 4-2. Neutral Record: CSU 0-1, USU 0-0. Conference Record: CSU 4-2, USU 5-1. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 36-31-2.
GAME NOTES: The Colorado State Rams shoot for the win that will make them bowl eligible as they clash with the Utah State Aggies in Mountain West Conference play at Romney Stadium this weekend.
Sitting behind both USU and Boise State in the standings in the Mountain Division of the MWC, Colorado State has rattled off two straight victories and four in the last five games. Last weekend, the team scored a season-high 66 points in a 24-point victory over New Mexico in Albuquerque.
As for the Aggies, they enjoyed their second bye week in the last month, planning for how they intended to extend their current win streak to four games. Already eligible to take part in the postseason, Utah State is coming off a 28-24 victory against UNLV on the road Nov. 9. The team has one more regular-season date on the calendar, a battle with Wyoming at home at the end of the month.
Last season, USU posted a 31-19 win over the Rams, but still the team trails in the all-time series by a 36-31-2 margin.
It was the Kapri Bibbs show once again for the Rams as the running back not only picked up 291 yards on 38 carries, he also scored a staggering six touchdowns in the lopsided win over New Mexico as CSU inched closer to becoming bowl eligible. Bibbs who tied the Mountain West record for rushing touchdowns in a game, has now posted five straight games with at least three rushing TDs and six such outings in the last seven for CSU.
Quarterback Garrett Grayson helped to balance the offensive attack as he completed 20-of-28 passes for 302 yards and three more touchdowns as the team finished with 649 yards of offense, the third-highest total in program history.
Bibbs, who was named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week for the second week in a row, is currently eighth in the nation in rushing with 130.8 ypg and has scored a total of 25 rushing touchdowns which is by far the most of any running back in the country.
When Bibbs is not taking top billing on the CSU offense, Grayson is grabbing some of the spotlight with his 63.1 percent passing accuracy and 18 touchdowns against only eight interceptions. Despite having only 22 receptions, Kivon Cartwright has made the most of his opportunities by landing in the end zone a team-best six times.
Considering how devastating Grayson and Bibbs can be when they are hitting on all cylinders, it has to be tough for the offense to watch the CSU defense surrender 298.4 ypg through the air and 450.5 ypg overall to the competition. But don't blame Shaquil Barrett for those lapses because he is leading the team with 18.0 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks, not to mention two blocked kicks.
After Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton when down with a season-ending injury last month it appeared the rest of the schedule would be lost to inexperience, but that just hasn't been the case. In fact, Darrell Garretson has stepped in and provided the program with the stability it needed, converting 64.5 percent of his passes for 928 yards and six touchdowns.
Travis Reynolds stands as the most productive receiver for Garretson with his 49 receptions for 818 yards and four TDs. However, there's a total of 12 players who have at least one touchdown catch to their credit this season, so there are plenty of options down field.
Helping to balance the scales on offense is running back Joey DeMartino who has turned his 125 rushing attempts into 785 yards and 10 touchdowns. The team as a whole has produced close to 200 ypg on the ground, leading to 17 TDs, compared to only eight touchdowns for the competition.
While the offense have leveled off a bit for the Aggies, the defense continues to draw the attention of opponents who are coming to grips with the fact that Utah State is again one of the best units in the nation that nobody really knows about. Through 10 games, the group ranks 17th in the country with just 19.4 ppg allowed, with the 348.2 ypg being surrendered taking the group to 20th place in the nation this week.
Individually, Kyler Fackrell leads the way with 10.0 TFL and four sacks on 66 stops, while Nevin Lawson spearheads a pass defense with his four picks and 17 passes defended.
Bibbs and Grayson have been crushing the competition of late, but they really haven't met up with a defense as tough as Utah State. With that being said, as long as the Aggies can handle the action at the line of scrimmage and slow down the progress of Bibbs, the hosts will have a solid shot at coming out on top.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 31, Colorado State 24
11/20 10:39:17 ET
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