Newly ranked Utah State takes on Colorado State
No. 23 Utah State is too well-mannered to come out say it.
But the Aggies and their supporters must be thinking it.
College football playoff committee, what took you so long?
Utah State finally made it into the Top 25 in the CFP rankings this week, and all it took was a nine-game winning streak, a third consecutive 600-yard game and a team that ranks in the top 10 in 16 FBS statistical categories while playing in a conference that traditionally shows well in the bowl season.
It seemed about time.
The Aggies (9-1, 6-0 in the Mountain West Mountain division) will travel to play the Colorado State Rams (2-4, 3-7) on Saturday. A victory will set up a winner-take-all game for the division title at Boise State next week, provided the Broncos get past New Mexico on Friday night.
Lest the Aggies put the cart before the Bronco, Colorado State has won the previous two games between the two, and the Aggies have not won in Fort Collins since 2012.
"In the past, they have been a challenge for us, and we are not going to look past them," junior tight end Dax Raymond said.
Utah State's numbers are staggering.
The Aggies enter the Colorado State game as the highest scoring team in the FBS at 51.3 points a game, ahead of Oklahoma, Alabama, Houston and Clemson. If you blink, you might miss a point or six. The Aggies have 23 scoring drives of less than one minute, tops in the nation.
Utah State is coming off its most prolific game in school history when they broke multiple school records in 62-24 victory over San Jose State last week.
The Aggies gained a school-record 804 yards total offense against the Spartans, the third highest total in any FBS game this season, while setting school season records with 513 points and 68 touchdowns.
The 804 yards broke a school record that stood for ... three weeks. The Aggies had 704 yards in a 61-19 victory over New Mexico on Oct. 27 and followed that with 601 years total offense against Hawaii in a 56-17 victory on. Nov. 3.
If it has taken the public and the pollsters this long to notice, it does not seem to bother the craftsman of the Aggies' success, coach Matt Wells, who is in his sixth season.
"We have our own expectations internally, and I've always said they're higher than anybody else can put on us," Wells said.
"The outside world didn't put very high expectations on us. You don't really use that as an emotional motivation because at some point, that's going to wear off and your habits, your discipline, are going to going to kick in. So much of that is developed in the offseason and then quite frankly, those predictions come out in July, so it doesn't really matter."
Quarterback Jordan Love and running back Darwin Thompson are the influential players on offense. Love threw for a career-high 491 yards and five touchdowns in three quarters against San Jose State and has completed 202-of-303 passes for 2,676 yards and 24 touchdowns this season. He has three interceptions. He is No. 10 in the FBS in passing efficiency with a 164.4 rating.
"That calmness you see when he's in the pocket, that's how he is 24/7," Raymond said. "I don't think I've ever seen him anxious, angry, happy or sad. He's just mellow, perfect, which is what you need from a QB."
Thompson has rushed for 842 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 7.8 yards per carry, and he had a double-triple against San Jose State -- 140 yards rushing and 115 yards receiving, with three touchdowns total. Wide receiver Ron'quavion Tarver has a team-best 50 receptions for 531 yards and six touchdowns.
Despite the series history, Colorado State does not appear capable of putting up much resistance if recent play is the guide. The Rams have lost three in a row while giving up 56, 34 and 49 points, beginning with a 56-28 loss at Boise State on Oct. 19.
Colorado State has given up an average of 463.9 yards a game, ranked. No. 114 of the 129 FBS teams. Nevada rolled up 636 yards in total offense, 404 passing, in a 49-10 victory against them last Saturday.
"We have our last home game against one of the best teams in the country, but at the end of the day we have to get these guys ready to fight," Colorado State coach Mike Bobo told reporters.
"I have to do a better job of calling plays, and we have to do a better job of stopping people defensively."
The Rams have utilized two quarterbacks this season, redshirt sophomore Collin Hill redshirt senior K.J. Carta-Samuels. Hill, used as a reserve in the early season, has thrown for 519 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions while starting the previous two games.