C.J.’s Endpoints: Boise Blues

C.J. Onyechi - C.J.'s Endpoints - RamNation.comEach week Colorado State defensive end C.J. Onyechi will share his viewpoints on the team’s performance, as well as the upcoming week.  Learn more here on how to contribute to RamNation’s NIL fund for C.J. and future student athlete partners.

CSU lost to Boise State 49-10. Coach Norvell said the team is just a little undermanned right now to compete with a good Boise State team. In your opinion, what went wrong Saturday night? 

Like coach said, we are undermanned more than a team should be during this part of the season from the players who quit. We have guys taking 50-60 snaps a game, not including special teams, so sometimes that lack of depth can be an issue. But, we have some guys recovering from injuries who should be back this week, so I am confident we will bounce back. Also, I don’t think we made the most of our takeaway opportunities that could’ve changed the game drastically.

Boise State freshman quarterback Taylen Green showed why he took over the reins from Hank Bachmeier midway through the season. He competed 24 of 30 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns. He was not sacked. You mentioned last week shutting down their QB run game was a big emphasis in game prep. He did not run much (3 carries for 17 yards), but what made him so tough to stop?

I do have to give him credit. He is a very dynamic player, and the way they schemed us offensively allowed him to make the throws he wanted. Based on film he wasn’t the most accurate thrower and coming into the game only had a couple hundred yards passing for the season. They schemed us fairly well and it was tougher since we were on the field for a long period of time. He definitely played his best game.

The defense gave up 514 total yards – 209 on the ground. Your unit had been stout against the run for the most part this year. As you have watched film of the game, what were some of the defensive breakdowns that led to Boise’s success on the ground?

Their run plan was to run outside zone and give their RBs the freedom to cut it up, and that exactly what they did. They found holes in our defense and kept attacking. We have to do a better job communicating on the sideline so that we can address the mistakes and have a new plan going forward.

Boise State had 30 first downs compared to just 6 for CSU in the game, and the Broncos had the ball 15 minutes more than the Rams. Defense was on the field a lot – how did that contribute to the defensive breakdown?

Like I said earlier, a lot of our guys are taking crazy amounts of snaps, and that can weigh on your body over the course of a game. Even though the offense is getting better weekly, the defense must do a better job getting the ball to them with good field position. Our offense was in backed up positions for most of the game, and that drastically drops our chances of scoring a touchdown on a drive, which in turn makes it harder for us on defense.

What was coach Norvell’s message to the team after the game?

Coach Norvell tells us he loves us after every game no matter the outcome. He then told us that we have to play better and I 100% agree. He told us we played with effort and we fought until the end, but if we don’t play well, effort and toughness won’t be enough to beat good, seasoned teams like Boise State. At the beginning of this week he said we still have a lot in front of us and he doesn’t want us to give up hope. We have rivalry games left that we said as a team were our goals to win, so we’ve got to keep fighting.

What were your thoughts on playing on blue turf?

It was a cool experience, but was a little underwhelming. It was just a regular field. They definitely had rowdy fans and cool gameday experience, but nothing we hadn’t seen before.

The Rams now travel to San Jose State this weekend, which will be the first (and only) time you have had back-to-back road games this season. How does that impact you as an athlete, and as a student?

It’s tough for sure, but that’s what we all signed up for. This past weekend we got back home around 1 a.m., and this week we probably won’t be back until 3-4 a.m. It can get time consuming in regards to school work, but as long as you are practicing time management, you can balance being a student and athlete. But I love away games too, because it gives us chances to see other parts of the country, and it’s always fun being the away opponent at another team’s stadium. It makes it feel like it’s your team against the world.

The team is now 2-2 with San Jose State, who is tied atop the West division standings, up next. As you watch film of the Spartans, what are your early impressions?  

They are a good, sound team. They have a good QB and running back that seem to be their keys to success on offense. They remind me of Boise in those regards. They also have a very stout defensive line. One thing you can see on film is that their offensive line is the weak link of their offense. D-line is going to have to play a great game and take advantage of their O-line for us to win.

What are your three keys to beating the Spartans on the road?

  1. Out-hit them
  2. Win the special teams battle
  3. Stop the run game


About our student athlete

Christian “C.J.” Onyechi is a fifth-year senior from New Jersey who starts at defensive end for the Rams. He is studying Communication & Technology (in the in the Journalism and Media Communications department). You can read all of his “C.J.’s Endpoints” features here

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