NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl: 5 Colorado State Players to Watch
1. WR Rashard Higgins
No, Higgins wasn’t nearly as prolific in 2015 as he was in his Biletnikoff finalist sophomore season. Yes, he’ll still be the most feared player—on either side of the ball—in the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Higgins has caught a team-high 66 balls for 933 yards and eight touchdowns, and his ability to stretch the field will be a huge concern for a Nevada secondary that starts three underclassmen.
2. QB Nick Stevens
All things considered, such as playing as a first-time starter for a new staff and replacing one of the best CSU quarterbacks ever, Stevens has performed relatively well. He’s thrown for 21 touchdowns and 2,369 yards to earn Second Team All-Mountain West, but he’s also been picked off a dozen times. While consistency has eluded Stevens, head coach Mike Bobo hopes he can use this postseason game as a launching point to 2016.
3. LB Kevin Davis
While LB Cory James was the only Ram defender to earn All-Mountain West honors, it was Davis who posted the best numbers for the D. As one of the headliners of an active corps of linebackers, he leads the team with 95 tackles and 14 stops for minus yards. And at 6-3 and 240 pounds, Davis has the size and the strength to stand up the assertive, north-south Wolf Pack ground game.
4. RG Fred Zerblis
Zerblis is the cover boy of a Colorado State O-line that, despite yielding just 14 sacks, didn’t get quite as much recognition as it deserved this season. The 6-3, 295-pound Georgian has started 25 games over the past two seasons, including all 12 at right guard this fall. Zerblis has played in more snaps than any other Ram, and his ability to protect the pocket will be especially valuable against the feisty Pack pass rush.
5. RB Dalyn Dawkins
The Rams average 4.8 yards a carry. The Wolf Pack allows 4.8 yards a carry. There’s an opportunity here for Dawkins to complement the Colorado State passing attack with his quickness and versatility out of the backfield. The Purdue transfer, who sat out last year due to NCAA rules, has rushed for 805 yards on 156 carries, and is a dangerous receiver. Dawkins and 220-pound Jasen Oden bring a lightning-thunder element to the CSU running game.