In Week 0, Hawaii came into Fort Collins and beat up Colorado State with a 43-34 win on Saturday. The final score may not reflect the horrible first half for the Rams, who were down by 30 points midway through the third quarter. A lot to take way from the first game of the season for CSU with the Rocky Mountain Showdown now less than a week away. Here’s three key factors that could come into next Friday against Colorado.
1. Ram it up defense — or lack there of
CSU looked awful on defense all night long with Hawaii taking advantage of many miscues and blown coverages. That came mostly at the hands of dual-threat Rainbow Warriors QB Cole McDonald, who torched the Rams for a total of 514 yards on offense. CSU’s safeties Jamal Hicks and Quinn Brinnon appeared to be mismatched several times throughout the game, including on a 55-yard touchdown strike on from McDonald to Cedric Byrd. Rust comes with the first game of the season, but CSU’s defense is going to have to make adjustment on the fly with Colorado, Arkansas and Florida on the schedule in the next month.
2. K.J. Carta-Samuels looked comfortable under center
The graduate transfer from Washington looked like a seasoned vet in his first real start with the Rams as he completed 34-of-50 passes for 537 yards, 5 touchdowns and one interception. He appeared confident in reading coverages down the field and found a rhythm with the receiving triple-option of Preston Williams, Olabisi Johnson, and Warren Jackson. Colorado’s secondary will be a good test for Carta-Samuel to see how well he’s able to adjust when his receivers are jammed in coverage. The early prediction is CSU’s offense with continue to evolve with their defense struggling to keep up the pace by the end of the season.
3. Scheduling disadvantage — game film vs. game experience?
The opening week game for CSU gives coach Mike Bobo an extra week to breakdown game film and make adjustments accordingly. It’s unclear which team would have the advantage going into the Rocky Mountain Showdown because of this. Colorado has a lot of tape on CSU with Bobo’s staff having very little to run with from CU. The other end is the Buffs are not at full game speed. Expect CU’s Mike MacIntyre to have the same outlook when he was faced with similar situations in past year by having the Buffs scrimmage to simulate an actual game.
The Buffs and Rams meet for the 90th time in their respective history on Friday (8/31). Colorado owns a commanding 65-22-2 series lead after winning seven of the last ten meetings.