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Two one-win teams square off, with nary a conference win between them. The winner will take a step out of the Mountain West basement, while the loser is back to the drawing board.
GAME: The Colorado State Rams vs. The University of Hawai'i Warriors
WHERE: Hughes Stadium, Fort Collins, CO
DATE/TIME: Saturday, Oct. 27th, 2012, 5:00 p.m. MT
RADIO COLORADO: AM 560 KLZ in Denver, KCOL 600 AM in Ft. Collins, KSIR 1010 AM in Ft. Morgan and KNZZ 1100 in Grand Junction
RADIO Hawai'i: ESPN 1420 AM
THE COACHES: Both first time head coaches Norm Chow and Jim McElwain are former offensive coordinators for successful teams, but finding little success early with the teams they have inherited. Chow, a native of Hawai'i has come home to coach the warriors, while McElwain is from Missoula, Montana and used to come to CSU to work with Sonny Lubick in the Ram's heyday.
THE SERIES: in Honolulu; Hawai’i won 41-0Last meeting: Oct. 4, 1997, in Fort Collins; CSU won, 63-0.
KEY OFFENSIVE PLAYERS:
CSU, seemingly in a major rebuilding phase, will be starting its third QB this weekend against Hawai'i. Without Garret Grayson and MJ McPeek (who will be the emergency backup), Freshman Conner Smith will start his first collegiate game this Saturday. Coach McElwain and many CSU boosters are excited about the upside of the 6 foot 5, 220 LB freshman. CSU has had a week off to heal, so perhaps RB Chris Nwoke can finally return to form, along with fellow RB Donnell Alexander. The Rams hope to take advantage of Hawai'i's third worst defense, behind Baylor (allowing 44 points a game) and the University of Colorado (allowing 42.5 points a game), which has allowed 42.3 points a game. Look to tight ends Crockett Gillmore and Kivon Cartwright, receivers Lou Greenwood, Charles Lovett and Dominique Vinson to try to get the Rams ahead.
KEY DEFENSIVE PLAYERS:
The Rams' defense has played well at times, but has been let down by the stagnant offensive unit. Against Air Force, the listless Rams let AFA score 21 points in the first quarter. DE Lanston Tanyi has 47 tackles, 6.7 a game and currently ranks 4th among all FBS defensive linemen and has 2 fumble recoveries. Freshman phenom Cory James has a CSU freshman record already, with 6.5 sacks in only week 9 of the season. LB Shaquil Barrett and Junior CB Shaq Bell have played large roles in the CSU defense, assisted by senior LB James Skelton, who has sacrificed some playing time this season. The CSU defense has improved, but has consistently been let down by the offense and special teams. For the Rams' defense to do well, the players in the other phases will definitely need to step up, otherwise the Rams are looking at their first one win season since 1988!