FACTS & STATS: Site: Hughes Stadium (32,500) -- Fort Collins, Colorado. Television: KTVD, ROOT (RM). Home Record: Hawaii 1-2, CSU 0-3. Away Record: Hawaii 0-3, CSU 0-3. Neutral Record: Hawaii 0-0, CSU 1-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 0-3, CSU 0-3. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 11-9.
GAME NOTES: A pair of teams still waiting for their first Mountain West Conference wins of the season get together in Fort Collins on Saturday, as the Colorado State Rams entertain the Hawaii Warriors at Hughes Stadium.
Both teams are coming off bye weeks so they've had plenty of time to prepare for the other and hopefully healed some from various bumps and bruises accrued during the first half of the 2012 campaign.
As it stands, Hawaii and Colorado State, along with Wyoming, are tied for last place in the conference standings with records of 0-3. Neither one of these two units has won a true road game thus far and CSU has come up empty in three home dates. The Rams opened the season with promise as they dumped in-state rival Colorado in Denver by a score of 22-17, but since then the team has fallen in six straight, which means it is tied for the second-longest skid in the nation entering this week.
Back on Oct. 13, the Rams were beaten by San Diego State at Qualcomm Stadium in a 38-14 final.
Meanwhile, the Warriors also have just one victory on the season, but in their case it came against an opponent outside of the Football Bowl Subdivision in Lamar (54-2) back on Sept. 15 at home. More recently, Hawaii clashed with New Mexico at Aloha Stadium on Oct. 13 and was dealt a 35-23 setback, which means the team has not defeated another school from the FBS since taking down Tulane (35-23) last November. Hawaii has not topped a conference foe since claiming a narrow 16-14 decision over Idaho last Oct. 29 when both programs resided in the Western Athletic Conference.
The last time these two teams clashed, Hawaii barely showed up as it suffered an ugly 63-0 loss in 1997. As a result of that defeat, the Warriors trail in the all-time series by a count of 11-9.
Under the direction of new head coach Norm Chow, the Warriors don't look anything like they have in recent years when they were the powerhouse passing squad that everyone else was trying to slow down. Instead, this year Hawaii is going with Sean Schroeder at quarterback and the transition has been a gradual one for the new signal-caller out on the island. Schroeder has managed to complete 53.8 percent of his pass attempts for 180.7 ypg and eight touchdowns, but has also tossed five interceptions.
Keeping the Warriors from being prolific in the passing game again is the fact that not a single receiver has started all six games for the program and that has probably kept those skills players from becoming familiar with their quarterback's style.
Last year Hawaii ranked 113th in the country in rushing with 95.4 ypg and to this point in 2012 the numbers aren't all that much better with 106.7 ypg to rank 108th nationally. Will Gregory has given them a spark with 75.0 ypg on the ground, but with just two rushing touchdowns he is far from a break-away threat.
Defensively, the Warriors just aren't getting the job done, allowing a whopping 42.3 ppg to rank 118th in the country. Had the team not held Lamar to only a safety, they could easily be the weakest scoring defense in all of college football. One of the more frustrating aspects of the defense is the fact that they have forced just five turnovers in six games and that translates into the squad ranking 119th in the country with a turnover margin of minus-1.67 per game.
Going up against that weak Hawaii defense is a Rams group that has a host of question marks. Colorado State likes to advertise the fact that it is second in the conference and tied for 10th in the nation in red zone scoring at 91.7 percent, but it doesn't take much research to find out that those numbers are based on just 12 trips inside the 20-yard line over the course of seven games.
The more telling stats have the Rams scoring just 15.7 ppg this season which is last in the conference and 118th in the nation. Then again, you really can't get all over a team for a stat like that, considering they are down to their third-string quarterback.
Garrett Grayson is now on the shelf for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury and M.J. McPeek is questionable for this weekend with a shoulder issue of his own. If the latter is unable to go, that leaves Conner Smith as the starting signal-caller. Smith stepped in for McPeek in the second quarter against San Diego State and proceeded to convert his first 11 pass attempts, finishing 18-of-22 for 165 yards in the losing effort.
Not only is the passing attack in a state of flux, so is the run game which is producing just 99.7 ypg and has resulted in a mere three touchdowns on 227 attempts. The offensive line hasn't done the skills players any favors obviously, and at the moment the group is giving up 3.6 sacks per game with his the most in the conference and 116th in the country.
The defense for the Rams is slightly better than that of Hawaii, but still this game could come down to a single play which might sway the outcome. Expect the Warriors to have some luck on the mainland this weekend if they can apply enough pressure in the trenches.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 24, Colorado State 17Game Date and Time
Saturday, October 27, 7:00 p.m. (et).