Video by CTV11 Sports
No Rashard Higgins, no problem. Colorado State took care of business with a 49-22 win over Hawaii at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins on Saturday night.
The Rams improve to 9-1 overall and 5-1 in the Mountain West while the Rainbow Warriors fall to 2-8 (1-4 MW).
Elroy Masters, Charles Lovett, Steven Walker and Xavier Williams all stepped up with touchdown receptions for CSU in the absence of their star receiver. Lovett led the team with four grabs for 134 yards.
“Somebody had to step up, and I was able to do that tonight,” Lovett said. “We have got plenty of talent on this team and I am happy for the guys that stepped up tonight.”
Senior quarterback Garrett Grayson threw for 278 yards and four touchdowns despite being visibly bothered by an apparent leg injury. In doing so, he set the CSU single-season record with his 24th touchdown pass of the season before extending the record to 26 by the end of the game.
“I felt our receiving corp was going to be the strength of what we were on offense,” McElwain said. “They haven’t disappointed at all. [Elroy] Masters came in and played really well, obviously [Xavier Williams] made a couple of plays, then Charles Lovett and Joe Hansley did a fantastic job not only in the run game but in the pass game as well.”
CSU struck early with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Grayson to Masters Jr. which was set up by a 43-yard run by Dee Hart earlier in the drive. The touchdown was the first of Masters’ career.
Hawaii’s first score came when a botched handoff between Grayson and running back Treyous Jarrells was recovered by the Rams in their own end zone resulting in a safety.
A Hawaii team which normally relies on the deep pass had little success through the air and could not muster up much offense in the first half. Their only other scores in the first 30 minutes came on a pair of field goals by Tyler Hadden.
Hawaii quarterback Ikaika Woolsey went into the half with just six completions on 22 attempts for 56 yards, no touchdowns and one interception. He finished with 15 completions on 45 passing attempts for 181 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions on the night.
The Rams remained in control all game, getting it done on the ground as well. Jarrells punched in a 9-yard touchdown run to give CSU a 28-8 lead heading into the half, and Dee Hart scored in the third quarter to put them up 42-15. The duo combined for 184 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries.
“Tonight we proved just how loaded we are across the board,” Grayson said. “As long as we get them the ball in space and let them make plays, they can do that and I think they proved that tonight.”
If there was a bright spot in the game for Hawaii, it was their special teams and the return of running back Joey Iosefa. He scored a touchdown in his first game back after having not played since September 6 against Oregon State. However, Hawaii’s 4.1 yards per play was more indicative of their overall performance.
With the game essentially secured, Grayson got a head start on his bye week. Nick Stevens came on in relief early in the fourth quarter and completed three of his four passing attempts. Deron Thompson saw action at running back in the fourth quarter and rushed for 68 yards on 11 carries.
The Rams are now riding an eight game win streak heading into next week’s bye. They return the week after to play New Mexico on November 22 at 11:30 a.m. MT in Fort Collins.
Collegian Sports Reporter Emmett McCarthy can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @emccarthy22.
Photos by Eliott Foust and Abbie Parr