FACTS & STATS: Site: Hughes Stadium (30,000) — Fort Collins, Colorado.
Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Hawaii 2-4, CSU 4-0. Away Record: Hawaii 0-3,
CSU 3-1. Neutral Record: Hawaii 0-0, CSU 1-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 1-3,
CSU 4-1. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 13-9.
GAME NOTES: The hottest team in the Mountain West Conference is preparing for
yet another conquest on Saturday, as the Colorado State Rams host the Hawaii
Rainbow Warriors at Hughes Stadium.
Since taking a tumble in the conference opener against Boise State the first
week of September, the Rams have been untouchable, winning seven straight
outings. Last weekend, the team did struggle a bit against a spunky San Jose
State squad on the road, but still CSU survived with a 38-31 victory in order
to move to 4-1 in MWC play and remain in first place in the Mountain Division.
Outside of the three remaining undefeated teams in the Football Bowl
Subdivision (Florida State, Marshall and Mississippi State), Colorado State
has the longest current win streak in the nation. For just the fourth time
since 1928, the Rams have gotten off to an 8-1 start and the current win
streak is the longest since the program rattled off nine in a row back in
As for the Rainbow Warriors, the news isn’t nearly as pleasant these days. The
squad has won a total of just two games in nine chances and one of those was
against an FCS program (Northern Iowa) by a mere three points. Since earning
its first MWC victory of 2014 versus Wyoming on Oct. 11, Hawaii has been
knocked off three times, the latest defeat coming at the hands of Utah State
last Saturday night by a score of 35-14.
Thanks to a slim 35-28 win over the Warriors last season out on the island,
Colorado State leads the all-time series by a count of 13-9.
The Warriors found themselves tied with visiting USU after one period of play
last weekend, 14-14, but then the team disappeared and was never heard from
again as the Aggies scored 21 unanswered points. Diocemy Saint Juste scored on
an eight-yard run for the hosts in the first, and then quarterback Ikaika
Woolsey hooked up with Justin Vele on a one-yard TD pass.
Woolsey finished the meeting 26-of-46 for 356 yards, was sacked six times and
intercepted twice. Quinton Pedroza registered his second 100-yard receiving
game in the last four outings as he caught eight balls for 123 yards, but was
again kept out of the end zone.
The running attack for the Warriors responded with only 98 net yards on 31
carries, after a loss of 54 yards due to sacks was factored in. On the season,
Hawaii ranks 91st nationally with only 140.2 ypg on the ground.
For a team that used to thrive in the passing game, this year the Warriors
have almost as many interceptions (eight) as they do touchdowns (nine), and a
collective 49.1 percent accuracy makes it clear why the unit ranks 123rd in
the country with a passing efficiency of only 101.37.
Pedroza and Marcus Kemp might be the only bright spots on the offensive side
of the ball with their combined 91 catches for close to 1,100 yards and four
TDs, but they alone cannot turn around the fortunes of the Warriors who
continue to struggle both at home and on the mainland.
Dee Hart ran for 104 yards and four touchdowns as he helped the Rams capture a
hard-fought seven-point win over the Spartans last Saturday. Hart carried the
ball 24 times for CSU, while quarterback Garrett Grayson converted all but six
of his 28 pass attempts, leading to 290 yards and a score.
Rashard Higgins, the top receiver in the country with 142.2 ypg, was almost
right on target as he stretched eight receptions into 143 yards and a score
for the visitors. Unfortunately for the Rams, word has come that Higgins may
be unable to go against the Warriors this weekend due to a shoulder injury,
but a determination on his availability will be made later in the week.
Colorado State conquered the Spartans despite running 18 fewer plays and
coming up with just 403 yards of total offense, compared to 493 for the hosts.
However, the visitors certainly boosted their efforts on the defensive side of
the ball as they forced quarterback Joe Gray into not only two interceptions,
but also a fumble.
CSU’s defense has been rather ordinary this season, allowing 23.6 ppg to rank
45th in the country, and giving up 432.4 ypg which has the squad tabbed 88th.
While the Rams defense works out some issues, the offense continues to motor
along thanks to Grayson and Higgins. Taking the bulk of the snaps, Grayson has
completed 66.6 percent of his pass attempts for 305.1 ypg and 22 touchdowns,
against just five interceptions. Due to all of the positive results, the pass
efficiency for the team as a whole is 167.48, and that has the unit ranked
fourth in the country this week.
Even if Higgins is unable to suit up for the Rams this weekend, it might not
be the worst thing in the world for him to take some time off, especially
since Hart, an Alabama transfer, continues to provide substantial punch coming
out of the backfield.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado State 28, Hawaii 17