Colorado State quarterback Nick Stevens threw four touchdown passes and Izzy Matthews rushed for two more as the Rams ran Hawaii right out of Aloha Stadium 51-21 before a disappointed crowd of 23,386. The loss dropped the Warriors to 2-3 for the season and 0-2 in Mountain West Conference play. The Rams are 3-2 overall and 1-0 in league play.
Stevens completed 18 of 22 passes for 351 yards and no interceptions. Matthews carried the ball nine times for 95 yards. Fellow running back Dalyn Dawkins had a score of his own among his 17 carries for 130 yards. The Rams managed 610 yards in total offense.
UH quarterback Dru Brown countered by hitting 31 of 47 passes for 362 yards and two scores. Diocemy Saint Juste finished with 97 yards on 18 carries and one touchdown. It was a bad night for UH in all three phases of the game as the Rainbow Warriors were outplayed from the opening whistle to the final gun.
FOURTH QUARTER COLORADO STATE 51, HAWAII 21
Hawaii continued a drive that began late in the third and ended it with a 16-yard touchdown pass from Brown to John Ursua. Alex Trifonovich made the PAT to cut the Rams’ lead to 44-21 with 12:38 remaining. The nine-play drive went 84 yards. Neither team did much the rest of the way, as the Rams spent most of the quarter trying to run out the clock.
But with 3:37 left burly back Izzy Matthews broke off a 66-yard touchdown run that sent what few fans were remaining heading to the exit. It was his second score of the game. Wyatt Bryan hit the PAT to give Colorado State an impressive 51-21 advantage with 3:37 left in the game.
THIRD QUARTER COLORADO STATE 44, HAWAII 14
Colorado State took the opening kickoff of the second half and needed three pass plays to have a first-and-10 at the UH 27. Two of those completions from Stevens to Michael Gallup were for 24 and 26 yards. Those set up a 19-yard scoring run by Dawkins, but Bryan missed the PAT to leave the score at 37-7 with 13:04 left in the period. The four-play drive went 77 yards as Colorado State sealed the deal.
Hawaii’s opening drive of the second half was better than the first as the Rainbow Warriors moved down the field as Brown found a little rhythm. So much so, he threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to Kade Greeley, the first score of his career. Trifonovich hit the PAT to cut the Rams’ lead to 37-14 with 10:23 left in the third. The six-play drive went 75 yards.
Colorado State’s offense picked up right where it left off. The Rams needed only four plays to get into UH territory for a first down at the 40 and three more to score once more, this time on a 29-yard pass from Stevens to Gallup. Bryant added the PAT to make it 44-14 with 6:30 remaining.
Hawaii’s ensuing drive ended on downs at the Rams 32. Brown tried to force one in to John Ursua, but he was double-covered on the play as the pass fell incomplete, giving the ball back to the Rams with 3:36 left in the quarter. At this point in the game, the Rams had not been forced to punt.
That changed on the ensuing series as Hawaii finally got Colorado State off the field at the 1:36 mark.
SECOND QUARTER COLORADO STATE 31, HAWAII 7
Colorado State needed only one snap to finish off an 11-play, 54-yard scoring drive that began in the opening period. Stevens threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dalton Fackrell as Wyatt Bryan added the PAT to make it 21-0 with 14:56 left in the quarter.
Hawaii picked up its first first down of the game on its next series as the crowd let out a mock roar of approval on the pass play. Hawaii picked up the tempo and completed another big pass play from Brown to John Ursua to the Colorado State 40 as Hawaii finally got on the right side of midfield with about 13 minutes remaining in the half. From there, it got a little dicey as Hawaii faced a fourth-and-1 at the Colorado State 31. Saint Juste picked it up with a 2-yard run to the 29.
Later in the drive, the Warriors faced a third-and-10 pass play that Brown failed to convert, setting up a 47-yard field goal by Ryan Meskell. Just before he kicked it straight and true, UH called timeout, freezing its own kicker, who, on the second try, missed it short and wide right.
Colorado State went into a hurry-up offense after completing a 21-yard pass on the first snap of the Rams’ fourth series of the game. They eventually settled for a 33-yard field goal by Bryan to culminate an eight-play 54-yard drive to make it 24-0 with 6:22 left in the half.
Hawaii put together another nice drive to get into Colorado State territory with 3:27 left in the half. Facing a first-and-10 at the Rams 39, Saint Juste was flagged for a false start, putting Hawaii behind the sticks. No matter, on a third-and-10, Hawaii converted with a 38-yard pass to the 1 from Brown to Dylan Collie.
It set up the 1-yard scoring run by Sainte Juste, and Trifonovich added the PAT to make it 24-7 with 1:45 left in the half. The drive was nine plays, 87 yards.
Colorado State came out on the ensuing series and put a dagger in UH’s heart with a 76-yard pass from Stevens to Gallup to the UH 4. He was so open on the play, it was scary. On the next snap, Matthews went in easily for the score. Bryan added the PAT to make it 31-7 with 1:21 left in the half. The drive went two plays for 80 yards and lasted all of 17 seconds. It left the fans deflated as UH attempted to score one last time before the half ended.
That plan was put on hold after Keelan Ewaliko fumbled the ball out of bounds at the 5 on the ensuing kickoff. The offense put up a fight, getting the ball out to its own 36 with 46 ticks left. But the drive stalled as the half ended.
FIRST QUARTER COLORADO STATE 14, HAWAII 0
Hawaii got the ball first and returned the opening kickoff to its own 35 to no avail. A sack, two incomplete passes and a false start led to a fourth-and-17, not a good way to start against a team like the Rams.
With the punt, the Rams took over at their own 40 and promptly ran the ball three straight times for a first down to set up shop in Hawaii territory at the 49. After picking up another first down at the UH 35, Stevens threw a perfect long ball out of a run formation, but the pass was dropped, setting up second-and-10. No matter, Stevens found another wide-open receiver on third down, this time it wasn’t dropped, as Detrich Clark went untouched into the end zone for a 36-yard touchdown. Bryan hit the PAT to make it 7-0 with 10:17 left in the opening quarter. The eight-play drive went 60 yards.
Another three-and-out by the UH offense didn’t bode well, as Hawaii continued to struggle with slow starts. The punt went to the UH 39 as Colorado State took over despite a muffed punt for its second series of the game.
It didn’t take long for them to find the end zone once more on a 38-yard touchdown pass to Clark that was strikingly similar to the first touchdown pass. Bryan hit the PAT as the Rams extended their advantage to 14-0 with 6:34 left. The drive went 61 yards on six plays.
The UH offense produced another three-and-out, much to the chagrin of the fans, who were already growing restless barely 10 minutes into the game. When Hawaii was flagged for a delay on the punt and then for an illegal formation on the next punt try, there were a few scattered boos rolling through the smallish crowd.
Colorado State took over at its own 44 after another poor punt for its third series of the game. It didn’t take long for the Rams to come a-knocking once more as the UH defense continued its poor tackling on the run plays and lack of coverage on the pass calls. It took Colorado State 10 plays to set up a third-and-goal at the 2 as time ran out.
This is one of those Mountain West Conference football games that’s tough to predict who will win.
On the one hand, the Colorado State Rams are 2-2 for the season in what is their league opener, but have faced the likes of top-ranked Alabama, Colorado and Oregon State along the way. On the other, Hawaii is also 2-2, but has played a much easier schedule through the opening month of the season.
It’s one reason the Rams are a solid touchdown favorite despite this long road trip from Fort Collins to Honolulu. The air here tonight in Aloha Stadium is thick with humidity. And may be an equalizer as the game goes along.
It’s important for Hawaii not to drop to 0-2 in MWC play in order to be a viable contender in the West Division. The heartbreak of last week’s OT loss in Wyoming is forgotten. It’s time for Brown and Co. to make a statement against a quality opponent.
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