Colorado State snaps skid by beating Hawaii 42-27


FORT COLLINS, Colo. — For a while, Colorado State was making one mistake after another. In a 1-2 sequence near the end, DeAndre Elliott and Jasen Oden ensured that it didn’t matter.

Elliott and Oden both returned interceptions for touchdowns in the fourth quarter, and Colorado State weathered four turnovers of its own to beat Hawaii 42-27 on Saturday night.

Chris Nwoke had his first career touchdown catch and ran for another score to offset a pair of fumbles, helping Colorado State (2-6, 1-3 Mountain West) snap a six-game losing streak. Nwoke finished with 115 yards rushing, the first time this season a Rams player has gone over 100 yards.

“This was really big,” Rams linebacker Shaquil Barrett said. “We had a large losing streak and being able to turn that around and get our energy back, now we can go to the next game feeling really prepared. It’s just getting everything boosted back up and knowing that we can get another win.”

While acknowledging concern about his squad’s miscues and vowing to work on fixing the problems, Rams coach Jim McElwain said he was most encouraged by the resilience his young team showed. He said he learned long ago not to bad-mouth a win, of any sort.

“Believe me, having been on this stretch, I’m probably one of the most excited guys in the country,” McElwain said. “I really think we took a step today, and we took a step as a family. We took a step where we picked each other up and that was really exciting.”

Sean Schroeder completed 19 of 46 passes for 200 yards for Hawaii but was sacked four times and threw three interceptions.

Joey Iosefa rushed 22 times for 106 yards for the Warriors (1-6, 0-4), who lost their fifth consecutive game, remaining winless in their last seven conference games dating to last season.

Colorado State started the second half with three successive turnovers as Nwoke fumbled for the second time, Conner Smith threw a second interception and Tommey Morris also lost a fumble. But Hawaii struggled to capitalize, netting only a 26-yard field goal by Tyler Hadden following Morris’ fumble to pull within 28-24 with 6:51 left in the third quarter.

“It was awful. It was terrible. That’s what cost us the ball game,” Hawaii coach Norm Chow said of his team’s failure to take advantage of the third-quarter turnovers by the Rams.

Added Schroeder: “It’s definitely frustrating. It’s a game we should have won. It’s a game I feel like I let slip through our fingers. We had it three, four times in the red zone and you’ve got to capitalize, and we didn’t. I have to make more plays in those situations.”

Hadden kicked a 43-yard field goal later in the third to narrow the score to 28-27 after several Warriors broke through to partially block Pete Kontodiakos’ punt.

But Elliott deflated the Warriors’ comeback bid when he snared Schroeder’s pass and sprinted untouched 76 yards down the sideline for the score with 14:36 left to play.

With 1:17 left, Schroeder overshot his target, and Oden made the interception, taking it back 40 yards for a touchdown. Schroeder’s final pass was picked off in the end zone by Elliott as time expired.

Taking advantage of two Hawaii fumbles, Colorado State led 28-21 at halftime, though the Warriors got back into the game after an onside kick by the Rams backfired.

Riding a 21-point run to a two-touchdown lead, the Rams tried the onside kick, but it bounced into the arms of Hawaii’s John Lister near midfield and he took off the other way, getting to the 2-yard line before being knocked out of bounds. Four plays later, Schroeder dove into the end zone from 1-yard out for a touchdown.

Hawaii turned a Colorado State turnover into the game’s first score. Marrell Jackson punched the ball from Nwoke’s grasp and Jerrol Garcia-Williams grabbed it on the bounce and dashed 12 yards for a touchdown.

Nwoke came back to catch a 27-yard touchdown pass from Smith and ran 7 yards for another score around Chris Gant’s 8-yard scoring pass from Schroeder.

The touchdown run by Nwoke tied it 14-all and was set up when Max Morgan returned a fumble 38 yards to the Hawaii 29-yard line after Shaq Bell jarred the ball loose, following a reception by the Warriors’ Ryan Hall.

Joe Hansley broke free for a 76-yard punt return to the Hawaii 5-yard line and James Skelton ran it in on the next play.

Colorado St. 42, Hawaii 27

Hawaii 14 7 6 0 — 27

Colorado St. 7 21 0 14 — 42

First quarter

Haw—Garcia-Williams 12 fumble return (Hadden kick), 10:38.

CSU—Nwoke 27 pass from Smith (Roberts kick), 8:29.

Haw—Gant 8 pass from Schroeder (Hadden kick), 4:27.

Second quarter

CSU—Nwoke 7 run (Roberts kick), 14:09.

CSU—Skelton 5 run (Roberts kick), 12:50.

CSU—Morris 1 run (Roberts kick), 6:19.

Haw—Schroeder 1 run (Hadden kick), 5:10.

Third quarter

Haw—FG Hadden 26, 6:51.

Haw—FG Hadden 43, 4:31.

Fourth quarter

CSU—Elliott 76 interception return (Roberts kick), 14:36.

CSU—Oden 40 interception return (Roberts kick), 1:17.

A—16,573.

Haw CSU

First downs 25 16

Rushes-yards 47-193 35-176

Passing 200 115

Comp-Att-Int 19-46-3 10-17-2

Return Yards 26 196

Punts-Avg. 5-39.0 5-52.4

Fumbles-Lost 2-2 3-3

Penalties-Yards 5-31 8-114

Time of Possession 36:06 23:54

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING—Hawaii, Iosefa 22-106, Gregory 16-84, Lister 2-4, Schroeder 7-(minus 1). Colorado St., Nwoke 19-115, Morris 9-53, Skelton 3-10, Hansley 2-0, Team 2-(minus 2).

PASSING—Hawaii, Schroeder 19-46-3-200. Colorado St., Smith 10-17-2-115.

RECEIVING—Hawaii, Lister 4-58, Ostrowski 4-48, Gant 3-35, Gregory 3-10, Hall 2-26, Harding 2-11, Stutzmann 1-12. Colorado St., Hansley 3-19, Lovett 2-33, Cartwright 2-24, Nwoke 1-27, Coffman 1-7, Greenwood 1-5.