5 takeaways from CSU’s 43-34 loss to Hawaii

K.J. Carta-Samuels. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.
K.J. Carta-Samuels. Credit: Ron Chenoy, USA TODAY Sports.

The Colorado State Rams were rocked in their season-opener by Hawaii, falling behind 37-7 before eventually losing 43-34 Saturday night.

CSU’s defense didn’t show up in the first half of the contest, and by the time the offense came alive in the third quarter, it was too little, too late.

“We did not play well together in all three phases at any point in the game,” Bobo said.

After falling down by 30 points, it looked like there was no way the Rams could come back against the Rainbow Warriors. Still, CSU fought stalwartly and were able to close the gap to as little as six points late in the fourth quarter, eventually losing by nine.

While there were more downsides in the loss for the Rams, there were some positives as well. Here’s a breakdown of the five biggest takeaways from CSU’s loss to Hawaii in their first game of the 2018 season:

1. Coaching was lacking all-around. It wasn’t just that Mike Bobo was in the booth instead of on the sideline, either. The Rams came out looking lost to open their season versus Hawaii. The defense, which has gotten a lot of recognition for changing coordinators and schemes, allowed four scores on the Rainbow Warriors’ five drives in the first half. The defense looked completely unprepared to play on Saturday, but there were other coaching gaffes, too. CSU called their first timeout of the second half only 4 minutes in, they went for two while down 17 points instead of taking the extra point and pull within two scores, blowing their second timeout in the process.

“That was a dumb-ass decision by me,” Bobo said of going for the two-point conversion at that point. He went on to explain they should’ve taken the delay of game penalty and kicked the extra point.

One more low point of the coaching: 12 penalties on CSU for 120 yards on the night.

“They were better prepared than we were tonight,” Bobo said of Nick Rolovich, who came into the postgame press conference and said he loved Bobo, and his Hawaii team. “We’ve got to play more disciplined football.”

2. Preston Williams is an absolute beast. He’s unstoppable when he’s on his game, as he was all night Saturday against Hawaii. He’s big, fast, strong; he’s a perfect football player and something special with the ball in his hands. On multiple plays, he caught a pass and turned it into extra yards by stiff-arming defenders. Williams finished with 188 yards and two touchdowns in his CSU debut.

“Pardon my language, he was pissed off,” Bobo said of Williams’ 69-yard catch and run in which he threw three defenders to the ground with stiff-arms.

3. Speaking of great debuts; K.J. Carta-Samuels, welcome to Fort Collins. While he started slowly, like everyone with the Rams on this night, Carta-Samuels heated up like crazy in the second half. He ended the game with 537 passing yards — a Colorado State Rams single-game record — and five touchdowns with one interception. His 68.0 completion percentage was solid, too.

4. The Rams defense was atrocious Saturday against Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors put up 617 yards of total offense with 30 first downs. Hawaii also scored on 8-13 offensive drives in the game. One of their favorite plays on the night was the shovel-pass, slip screen, which burned Colorado State four times in the four times it was called.

5. Even with the great passing night by Carta-Samuels and Williams the highlights, one lowlight on the offense was the o-line and their inability to block well for the quarterback. On Bisi Johnson’s 58-yard touchdown catch, Carta-Samuels was crushed as he stood in there and threw it deep. Many times, Hawaii was able to get pressure on the QB with only three or four-man rushes. We had a feeling the Rams offensive line would be a weakness of the team, and that certainly played out in Week 1.

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