COLORADO STATE VS. HAWAII
Location: Halawa, Hawaii (Aloha Stadium)
Date/Time: Saturday, September 30th at 6 p.m. (Hawaii Time)
Television: Spectrum Sports, pay-per-view on Oahu. Not televised on the mainland
Streaming: WatchStadium app (for mainland viewers)
Radio: ESPN 1420
Head-to-head: Colorado State leads the series 14-9, winning the most recent contest in 2014 by the score of 49-22.
Things to watch for: Heartbreak is the word that comes to mind when thinking about Hawaii's trip to Laramie. They outplayed the Cowboys, dominated the lauded Josh Allen, but ultimately lost because of a red zone turnover and bad special teams play. Sure, many penciled this game as a loss in the preseason, but it's hard to rest on moral victories when the win was within grasp.
No time for the Rainbow Warriors to reflect, they have plenty on their plate for this week's game. Colorado State came into the 2017 season with some whispers of a conference title and major bowl berth as goals. They absolutely destroyed Oregon State on opening day, probably should have beaten Colorado if it weren’t for several questionable calls that went against the Rams, and played Alabama closer than most teams do. Not a bad start for a team with lofty goals.
Quarterback Nick Stevens is one of the Mountain West's best, if not the best right now (Chill out, Josh Allen stans, I’m referring to current form). Running backs Dalyn Dawkins, Izzy Matthews, and Rashaad Boddie are the conference's best running back stable (although San Diego State's Rashaad Penny might count as a stable all by himself). Wide receiver Michael Gallup has 385 receiving yards on the year and will probably play on Sundays. Needless to say, this offense can put up yards and points in bunches.
Despite being under the Aloha Stadium lights, Hawaii will be the underdog in this game at +7.5 according to the Vegas line. Colorado State is coming off of a bye week. The Warrior defense played admirably in Wyoming, but this Rams offense is a different monster. Slowing down the Rams running attack is imperative for Hawaii to have any chance of pulling off the mild upset. Star linebacker Jahlani Tavai will need to stuff Izzy Matthews more than a few times.
Dru Brown was pretty good vs. Wyoming, but his interception in the red zone turned the tide of the game. If there is any glaring weakness on this Colorado State team, it's that their secondary can struggle at times. Saturday would be a good time for key players like Brown, Diocemy Saint Juste, John Ursua, and Dylan Collie to put on their capes and make plays, especially vertically in the passing game. I get the sense the defense will need some extra help this week.
Prediction: "I think Hawaii gives Wyoming a real scare, but Josh Allen makes a big play late to survive said scare."
Well, I was right about the first part. This week, I think the forecast isn't quite as close. Colorado State's offense plays power football as well as any team in the conference, and they have the elite wide receiver in Gallup to keep defenses honest. Hawaii will need to sharp on offense, but I think the Rams offense will be too much in the end. Things will begin to look up for Hawaii after this game as the schedule really begins to lighten up (enjoyable beat downs ahead), but they'll drop this one. Colorado State 35, Hawaii 24.