Colorado State is shaking up its offense in a major way for Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Showdown.
Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi, who replaced Clay Millen late in the third quarter against Washington State, will get the start at QB against the Buffs Week 2. Jay Norvell announced the news during his weekly press conference Monday afternoon. It was first reported by Kevin Lytle of the Fort Collins Coloradoan.
Although his FBS experience is limited to this point, Fowler-Nicolosi has already proven that he’s capable of leading CSU to victory in a hostile environment. After Millen was injured in the 2022 loss to Sacramento State, Fowler-Nicolosi started for CSU in Norvell’s return to Nevada and helped guide the Green & Gold to a 17-14 win over the Wolf Pack.
After a really strong fall camp, Fowler-Nicolosi was able to beat out Giles Pooler, Jackson Stratton and Jackson Brousseau for the No. 2 spot on the QB depth chart. However, he ended up seeing decent playing time against Wazzu after the offense struggled to do much of anything for the first three quarters.
Obviously the game was well decided by the time the sophomore from Aledo, Texas took the field. Even so, though, it was immediately clear that there was a different spark with Fowler-Nicolosi in the game. The offense produced 3 points and 163 total yards in the first three quarters with Millen under center. With Fowler-Nicolosi in during the fourth quarter, the Rams produced 21 points and 194 total yards in just 15 minutes.
Now given the chance to start, we’ll see if Fowler-Nicolosi can have the same type of positive impact on the offense. His decisiveness and aggressive mentality allowed CSU’s talented playmakers to get in the mix late last week, and that was definitely a welcomed sight for sore eyes. But he’ll have to be careful not to get too aggressive and potentially hurt the offense by trying to force things that aren’t there, especially in a true road environment. Both CSU QBs had bad interceptions in Week 1 and the Buffs have a generational talent at cornerback in Travis Hunter. Putting points on the board will be big, but valuing possessions and not hanging the defense out to dry will be important as well.
Fowler-Nicolosi was a bright spot on a night that was largely filled with gloom for CSU last weekend. It’s going to be very interesting to see how he performs on such a massive stage this time around.
It’s clear that the Rams have some elite weapons at the skill positions. And the offensive line, although still a work in progress, is much improved from a year ago. It’s up to the quarterback to take hold of the reins and put the team in position to capitalize.
Seasons are not defined in September. The Rams cannot afford to go into the conference slate looking like they did for the majority of Week 1 though. These next couple games are going to be really pivotal.