We may never know who the worse team in the Mountain West Conference is because the two teams at the bottom - University of Hawaii Warriors and Wyoming Cowboys - don't play each other this year. But we do know who isn't at the bottom: the Colorado State Rams. In battle of bottom-dwelling schools, the Rams were able to pull away from the hapless Warriors 42-27 this past Saturday in a very cool Fort Collins.
Both teams were coming off byes, which hopefully were used to find some offense. At least in the running game, it seemed both squads improved in that area. Hawaii's Joey Iosefa finally appeared healthy carrying the football 22 times for 106 yards; first career 100 yard game for the sophomore back. Colorado State also had a 100 yard rusher with star running back Chris Nwoke, who has had a dismal year so far, running for 115 yards on 19 carries. Nwoke did lose the ball twice with the first one early which was returned for a touchdown by the Hawaii Warriors.
Not Schroeder's day
Maybe it was the orange uniforms the Rams wore instead of their usual green and gold that gave them the impetus to win. However, certainly it didn't hurt that another player on the field who did wear green, Warriors junior quarterback Sean Schroeder, threw critical passes to Colorado State players. They in turn ran a couple of them back for pick-six touchdowns in the fourth quarter that sealed a win in what otherwise was a very tight contest. Schroeder was also sacked four times and completed less than 50% of his passes.
Conner Smith, the Rams freshman quarterback, didn't have a particularly good day, tossing a couple interceptions and throwing for only 115 yards for the game. Turnovers abounded and the Rams made plenty of mistakes that gave Hawaii plenty of opportunities to score. But each time the Warriors would get the ball with great field position, they did little or nothing with it.
Actually, from a statistical standpoint, Hawaii outplayed Colorado State. The Warriors had a big advantage in time of possession and gained over an additional 100 yards than did the Rams plus Hawaii had nine more first downs than did Colorado State.
Under cool temperatures in the 30s - at least it was cool for Hawaii Warrior players - 16,573 fans saw both teams play hot potato with the ball, but in the end, the two late interception returns for touchdowns doomed the men of Manoa.
Streaks end & continue
Whether anything was learned from this football game will be known soon enough, but if the Rams can continue to be opportunistic, they should improve over time. The Warriors have some good things to build on but will have to eliminate the mistakes if they want to grow as a team. The Colorado State Rams had a six game losing streak heading into this contest - now the Hawaii Warriors have a five game losing streak.
Colorado State (2-6 overall, 1-3 in conference) will take their new-found ability to win on the road against the other last place team this year, the Wyoming Cowboys. Hawaii (1-6, 0-4) stays on the road and plays a very good Fresno State Bulldog team. The Warriors need to stop the agony of defeat or this season will get bleaker.
Sources - Mountain West Conference, Colorado State University, University of Hawaii
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of college football as well as Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!