Hawai’i vs. Colorado State: Warriors Keys, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
Can the Warriors win on the mainland?
Hawaii looking for its second win
WEEK 8: Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (2-5, 1-1 MW) vs. Colorado State Rams (1-5, 1-1 MW)
WHEN: Saturday, October 22nd — 2:00 p.m. MST / 1:00 p.m. PST
WHERE: Canvas Stadium; Fort Collins, CO (36,500)
WEATHER: Clear Sky, high of 74 degrees
TV: Spectrum Sports (Hawai’i Only)
STREAMING: Team1 Sports App
RADIO: K99-FM 99.1 / ESPN 1600 AM
SERIES RECORD: This will be the 27th matchup all time between these two schools. CSU leads the series 15-11
LAST MEETING: Hawai’i won 50-45 last season in Hawai’i
ODDS: Colorado State -5
SP+ PROJECTION: Colorado State by 1.3
FEI PROJECTION: Colorado State by 7.3
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Colorado State 50.31% win probability (20.02-19.91)
Last Saturday night, the Warriors showed continued improvement on both sides of the ball and treated the home crowd to a 31-16 victory over the Nevada Wolfpack. The win was the first victory over an FBS opponent and moved the Warriors to 2-5 (1-1 in MWC play).
Offensively, it’s not exactly the Run and Shoot we’ve been spoiled with in the past yet, but the biggest applause of the night definitely came on the 48 yard touchdown pass from Brayden Schager to Zion Bowens. If there’s one thing Hawaii fans love, it’s the deep ball. Schager finished the night with 173 yards which is not eye popping numbers, but it was enough to open up the run game and give Dedrick Parson (136 yards and 3 touchdowns) and Freshman Tylan Hines (70 yards) some space to operate.
I think a turning point possibly for the season happened sometime during the Warriors 16 play 65 yard scoring drive. It almost felt as if the lightbulb turned on and the ‘Braddahhood’ had begun to click. The 1-2 punch of Parson and Hines drove the ball down the field and Schager converted a crucial 4th and 1 with his legs. Eventually, Parson punched it in from 2 yards out. The drive gave the Warriors a 28-16 lead and took up over 8 minutes in time of possession.
Following the long scoring drive, an energized and well rested Warriors defense took over and put the game away. The Wolfpack’s final three drives of the game ended with a punt, a fumble and turnover on downs. The Warriors defense only gave up a total of 15 yards in the 4th quarter. Credit needs to be given to Coach Yoro and the rest of the defensive staff. Since their worst outing of the year against New Mexico State, the defense has turned it around and played lights out in their last two games. They held the Wolfpack to just 89 yards rushing on 28 attempts.
This week the Bows hope to ride the momentum to Fort Collins as they take on the Colorado State Rams. Colorado State comes into the game 1-5 with their lone victory over Nevada. Timmy Chang’s former boss Jay Norvell has definitely felt the struggles of transition as things have not gone as smooth as some predicted during the preseason. The Rams have been without starting Quarterback Clay Millen for the last two games, but it sounds like he is trending in the direction of being available for Saturday’s game.
One key to the game will be the Warrior pass rush against the Rams offensive line. The Rams offensive line has struggled to protect the quarterback and come into the game having surrendered 29 sacks on the year. The Warriors pass rush has also had its struggles and have only gotten to the QB six times this season. If the Warriors can get after the quarterback, it will help to stall the Rams Air Raid attack. On the other hand, Clay Millen could be dangerous if given time and space to throw the ball and if he gets that opportunity, one weapon the Bows need to keep an eye on is receiver Tory Horton. Horton leads the team with 491 yards and 5 touchdowns and is a big play threat.
On the other side of the ball, Safety Jack Howell leads the Rams in tackles and also has added 3 interceptions. Defensive end Mohammed Kamara is off to a solid start with 4.5 sacks.
This week I’d like to see the Warriors take another step forward offensively. What they’ve done over the past two weeks is very encouraging. First of all, hats off to the coaches. They were self-aware enough to realize what they were running wasn’t working, checked their egos at the door and are trying to make changes to the offensive philosophy in the middle of the season which is not an easy task.
It’s not perfect and at times it isn’t pretty, but I’ve seen improvements every week. It has helped to get Zion Bowens back from injury as he is by far the Warriors best deep threat and has been playing like the No. 1 receiver we projected him to be since returning to the lineup. In the run-and-shoot, it’s important that the quarterbacks and receivers are on the same page because they have to be making the same reads on the fly. That takes a lot of repetition so I think the offense will continue to improve with time. As the quarterbacks and receivers start to get comfortable with the scheme and develop chemistry, more nuances and plays will be added and that’s when I think it will start to take off. Be patient. It will come around.
Although bombs down the field are exciting it is still important that the Bows continue to lean on Parson and the run game while the passing attack continues to develop. They should use the pass to complement the run game and keep the Rams defense honest. They need to do just enough to make the safeties, especially Howell, respect the deep ball so he can’t fly down hill and stuff the run.
The Rams come into the game a 5.5 point favorite, but that +175 moneyline is looking juicy to me. If the Warriors continue the trend of improvement as they have over the last two games, I think they have a good opportunity to pick up their first road win of the season this week. Kick-off is scheduled for 10 A.M. Hawaii time on Spectrum PPV so head to your Uncle’s house and make sure you bring the beer and poke.
As always, let’s go Bows!