Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs ran for three first-half scores and Rams defense forced four turnovers as Jim McElwain's squad beat the Hawaii 35-28. The Rams scored all 35 of their points in the first half, their largest opening-half output since 2003 -- and held on in the second to help head coach Jim McElwain equal his win total from last season with five games yet to play.
Big plays ruled the day early, as Colorado State's offense got on the board first after a 70-yard run by Donnell Alexander set up Bibb's first score, a 5-yard run that put the Rams up 7-0 with 8:00 left in the first quarter. After Hawaii running back Diocemy Saint Juste returned the ensuing kickoff 78 yards to the Colorado State 18-yard line, linebacker Cory James sacked Warriors quarterback Sean Schroeder, forcing a fumble that was returned 73 yards for the touchdown by Max Morgan for a 14-0 Rams lead.
After Schroeder and the Warriors answered with a touchdown pass to receiver Chris Gant, Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson and the Rams passing game got on the board with a 20-yard score to tight end Crockett Gillmore less than a minute into the second quarter, putting the Rams up by two scores and marking Grayson's fourth-straight game with a touchdown pass.
Schroeder responded with a touchdown to Billy Ray Stutzmann, but Colorado State book-ended 10-and13-yard touchdown runs by Bibbs around a 39-yard field goal by the Warriors' Tyler Haddon to stretch the lead to 35-17 at the break. After gaining 313 yards in the first half, the Rams offense faltered in the second, compiling only 95 yards in the third and fourth quarters.
After a scoreless third, Hawaii stormed back in the fourth with 2-yard touchdown run by Schroeder plus two-point conversion with 6:45 left in the quarter. Haddon's second field goal of the game drew the Warriors to within one score with less than three minutes left in the game. But when backup quarterback Taylor Graham's Hail Mary attempt fell incomplete at time ran out, the Rams escaped with their second-straight road win. Combined with the victory over Wyoming last week in Laramie, Colorado State's win marks the first time they've won back-to-back conference road games since 2003.
Bibbs finished with 137 yards on a season-high 33 carries, with his three touchdowns taking him to 12 on the season -- tied for first in the FBS. Grayson finished 15 of 26 for 177 yards and the touchdown, while freshman Rashard Higgins led the Rams in receiving with five catches for 79 yards. Morgan totaled 15 tackles and James racked up two sacks, while DeAndre Elliot and Kevin Pierre-Louis each nabbed interceptions for the Colorado State defense.
After eight games, the Rams find themselves in the thick of bowl consideration in McElwain's second season at the helm, but they'll likely need to win three of their last five -- starting next week when they host Boise State -- to ensure a postseason bid.