For the first time since he was named head coach at CSU, Jim McElwain and his Rams won two games in a row after defeating the University of Hawaii 35-28 on Saturday at Aloha Stadium in Hawaii.
Running back Kapri Bibbs continued to shine for CSU with his second consecutive three touchdown performance. After posting 201 yards against Wyoming a week earlier, Bibbs rushed for 137 yards on Saturday against the Rainbow Warriors. It was the third time this season he rushed for more than 100 yards in a game.
Quarterback Garrett Grayson threw for 177 yards with one touchdown and one interception on 15-of-26 completions as CSU handed Hawaii their seventh loss in as many games this season.
“It was a heck of a win tonight for the team,” McElwain said to the media in Hawaii after the game. “Playing in Hawaii is always tough especially with the travel and we knew we’d be facing a team that played to the end.”
The Rams scored all 35 of their points in the first half and held an 18-point lead heading into the locker room. The offensive stall in the second half allowed Hawaii to climb back into the game as they posted 11 points to CSU’s zero in the fourth quarter.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Hawaii scored a touchdown aided by two pass interference calls against CSU that put the Rainbow Warriors within ten points of the Rams. The Rams were called for 12 penalties in the game for 115 yards while Hawaii had seven for 50 yards.
With 2:54 left in the game, Hawaii made it a one possession game after a 20-yard field goal made the score 35-28.
On the next possession, CSU was unable to run out the clock with under three minutes to go in the game, giving Hawaii another shot to even the score. Saturday wasn’t the first time Hawaii threatened an opposing team’s lead late in the fourth quarter. Before playing CSU, the Rainbow Warriors had outscored their last three opponents 46-12 in the fourth quarter.
“We talked to our guys during the week that this is what they do, they’re a last possession team,” McElwain said. “That’s a credit to (Hawaii head football coach Norm Chow) and the culture he’s building where his teams just don’t fall over. Their defense shut us down in the second half and they fought to the bitter end, and when you do things like that good things are going to happen for your program.”
With seven seconds left on the clock, Hawaii quarterback Taylor Graham heaved a pass into the end zone that was tipped incomplete and the Rams held on for just their second road win under McElwain, advancing them to a 4-4 record on the season and 2-1 in the Mountain West Conference.
Football Beat Reporter Katie O’Keefe can be reached at email@example.com.