CSU Rams vs. Hawaii: 4 things to know, key matchups and predictions
Colorado State (3-7) vs. Hawaii (4-7)
9 p.m. Saturday, at Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex (Honolulu)
TV/Radio: Spectrum/1430 AM, 98.1 FM
Line: CSU -2.5
Weather: Cloudy, 74 degrees
What to know
Bye-bye bowl game. CSU is mathematically eliminated from bowl contention after a fourth consecutive loss (35-21 vs. Air Force). A once staunch Rams defense folded late in the year with 986 yards allowed over their previous two games. Senior Trey McBride will be among the most coveted tight ends in the upcoming draft but he’s caught just one touchdown all season. The wheels fell off in Fort Collins with no simple answer for how to fix CSU football.
Island time. CSU departed for Honolulu on Wednesday for arguably the strangest road trip in college football. Players must adjust to the 9 p.m. MST kickoff while playing in one of the nation’s smallest FBS stadiums (9,000 capacity). CSU has performed well away from home this season in dominant victories over Toledo and New Mexico. The Rams have nothing left to play for but pride over their final two games. Will that be enough to overcome the physical/mental challenge of traveling to Hawaii?
Opportunity knocks. CSU is in a great position to end its slide because Hawaii is really bad. It has lost three consecutive games. Two of their wins this season were against the same opponent: New Mexico State (home and away). Hawaii is led by second-year head coach Todd Graham, formerly at Arizona State (2012-17), and is not bowl eligible this season for the first time since 2017. The Rams are far more talented – on paper.
QB mistakes. Starting quarterback Todd Centeio has thrown multiple interceptions in consecutive games. It’s no surprise the Rams lost. CSU’s best football this season has coincided with Centeio playing within the offense as a game manager. The Rams will win this game if Centeio plays mistake-free football. CSU must also find ways to score touchdowns in the red zone. Giving McBride more opportunity near the end zone is a good place to start.
CSU defensive line vs. UH offense. The Rams rank No. 12 in the nation for average sacks per game (3.30) but that number has fallen in recent weeks. CSU’s ability to generate front-seven pressure had been the team’s strength all season. Will it flourish in Hawaii?
CSU RB David Bailey vs. UH defense. CSU’s leading rusher was mostly held in check last week with 18 carries for 51 yards. Bailey scored twice as the team’s most hardnosed runner near the goal line. But the Rams need more out of the backfield to open big-play opportunities throwing the football.
Kyle Fredrickson, sports reporter: CSU 21, UH 20
Steve Addazio needs to finish the season strong to cool his proverbial coaching hot seat this offseason. But don’t count fans all that impressed with a close victory over a lesser opponent.
Sean Keeler, sports columnist: Hawaii 23, CSU 21
Big weekend for Niko Medved’s men’s basketball program down in the Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, over in Honolulu, the Daz death spiral continues.
Scott Monserud, AME/sports editor: CSU 27, Hawaii 17
I have no idea who wins this game. I’ll go with the favorite, hoping the Rams aren’t enjoying the Island Life too much in advance of kickoff.
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