The upcoming matchup in Fort Collins, Colorado this weekend features and 8-1 Colorado State Rams that will play host to the 2-7 Hawaii Warriors. Colorado State is on pace for their best season since 2002 when the Rams went 10-4. The Warriors on the other hand are attempting to end the season on a positive note after officially being eliminated from a potential bowl game birth with their 35-14 loss last week to Utah State.
Colorado State's offense has been the focus of this year's offense, riding the hot hand of quarterback Garrett Grayson and wide receiver Rashard Higgins, while also showing the ability to control the ground game thanks to running backs Dee Hart and Treyous Jarrells. Higgins is questionable to play in Saturday's game due to a shoulder injury suffered in the Ram's 38-31 win last week against San Jose State. Even if Higgins isn't in the lineup, Colorado State should be able to rely on their depth at wide receiver to give Grayson enough support to power the Rams to a victory.
Here are three reasons as to why the Rams will win over the Warriors on Saturday.
1. Garrett Grayson and the passing game - Garrett Grayson has established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the country. Grayson is averaging 305 yards per game and has thrown 22 touchdowns this year. Grayson showed his ability as a pocket passer last week while suffering from a groin injury suffered during the game.
If Higgins doesn't play in the game, wide outs Joe Hansley, Charles Lovett and Xavier Williams are all more than capable of picking up the slack. Hansley, Lovett and Williams combined on the year have 57 receptions for 853 yards and 5 touchdowns. The offense might rely on the run early, but as Grayson gets comfortable without his top pass catcher, look for the passing game to open up and have success.
2. Joey Iosefa is coming off of injury - Hawaii's top playmaker Joey Iosefa is coming off an injury suffered back in week 2. That may sound like good news for the Warriors who are looking for something positive. However, this will be a difficult game to get back into action. The Rams have a defense that fly to the ball and tackle very well.
It will take time for Iosefa to shake off the rust, and in a game where a lot of points will need to be scored, it is hard to see Iosefa as much of a difference maker. The Rams should be able to contain Iosefa early, forcing Hawaii to throw the ball in order to play catch-up.
3. The Rams are better in the turnover margin - Ball security is very important in football, and that is something that the Rams have been much better at than Hawaii this season. Though both teams are in the negative in the turnover margin, the Rams are -1 and while the Warriors sit at -5. Hawaii has 18 turnovers on the year compared to only 11 by Colorado State. Grayson has 6 games this year where he hasn't thrown an interception. If the Rams fix their fumble problem, the Rams should once again win the turnover margin.
Saturday's matchup is set for Saturday, November 8th, at 5 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on ESPNU. Tune in to see if the Rams can continue their winning ways as they attempt to get back into the Top 25 rankings for the first time since Sonny Lubick was the head coach.