Q&A with Colorado State Rams defeated writer Kevin Lytle | Soccer
Wyoming haven’t won a football game in six weeks and is 0-4 in the West Mountain.
Colorado State wasted their Mountain Division lead with jaw-dropping clock handling in a loss to Utah State and followed that up by spitting out a 13-0 home lead against Boise State.
Craig Bohl and Steve Addazio could really use a Border War victory when UW hosts CSU in the 113th meeting between the Rivals on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium (1:30 p.m., CBS Sports Network).
The Casper Star-Tribune sat down with Kevin Lytle, the CSU editor-in-chief for the Fort Collins Coloradoan, to get his thoughts on the Rams as they seek their second straight win over the Cowboys:
Ryan Thorburn: The Rams have had an eventful season like their Border War rivals with embarrassing home losses, impressive road wins and the costly Keystone Cops fire drill at the end of the Utah State game. What is the team’s state of mind after losing a double-digit lead in the 28-19 home loss to Boise State last week?
Kevin Lytle: The team are certainly frustrated after squandering what they rightly saw as a golden opportunity over the past two weeks. The Rams could be in pole position in the Mountain Division. Instead, they’re not only out of the title race, but also far from bowl eligibility. I think the team are happy that this is Wyoming Week, an easy-to-use game to move on instead of dwelling on the last two losses.
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RT: How much support does sophomore head coach Steve Addazio, who went 44-44 in seven seasons at Boston College, have within the administration and fan base after winning four of his first 12 games at CSU?
KL: Steve Addazio definitely lives in a sticky situation with the fan base, not entirely his fault. It was not a very popular rental, which he cannot control. But he also sparked frustration over some of the game’s management issues (most notably the loss of Utah State), his refusal to hire a special teams coach, and some of his public comments. His support seems solid from athletic director Joe Parker, who has been very strongly defending him publicly in a podcast this week.
RT: UW head coach Craig Bohl noted that two-threat quarterback Todd Centeio has really improved as a passer and tight end Trey McBride is one of the best players in the country. How do you see the game between the CSU offense and the Cowboys defense going?
KL: Todd Centeio probably has a good argument as Mountain West’s most improved player. He’s gone from 39% completion percentage (albeit in a small sample) to an accurate passer (61% this season) who is also a big threat with his legs. He had great success last week escaping the pocket to damage Boise State and that has been an important additional facet for CSU’s offense. Trey McBride is a star in his own right, he does everything like a tight end. This will be interesting as Addazio enjoys the ground game and was upset by the failure of the traditional ground attack last week. The Rams will try to use it frequently, but for me the play on this side of the ball will be decided by whether CSU can be effective in the passing game and convert to the red zone.
RT: Quarterback Levi Williams, who scored the winning touchdown in the 2019 Border War and struggled in last year’s UW loss to Fort Collins, will make his second start of the season. Do you think the Rams’ strong defensive front can stop UW’s running game and get Williams beaten?
KL: Maybe that’s what decides the game. CSU surrendered 240 yards (7.1 yards per carry) on the ground in a season opener loss to South Dakota State. Since then, the Rams have been stellar against the run, including some eye-catching performances (28 yards for Toledo, 54 for Iowa, for example). Boise State had a little more success last week and Wyoming still seems to be able to run at least some on CSU. The way Williams behaves in the air could decide that. The top seven in CSU are excellent and when the Rams have pressure on the passer they are tough to beat, but the secondary is vulnerable. Boise State kept Hank Bachmeier pretty clean last week and that was the difference.
RT: The Cowboys, who are on a four-game losing streak after a 4-0 start, take the opportunity to reclaim the Bronze Boot as motivation this week. How important is this year’s game to the Rams and Addazio, who is literally limping in War Memorial Stadium with his own leg injury?
KL: It’s really important for CSU, Addazio and his standing with the fans. If the Rams lose to Wyoming after the previous two weeks of disappointment, there will be anger and frustration on the part of the supporters. Win and keep the Boot for the second year in a row? It relieves a lot of pain. Remember that a large part of Mike Bobo’s dismissal was due to his inability to beat his rivals.
Follow UW beat writer Ryan Thorburn on Twitter @By_RyanThorburn