Currently bearing the heavy yoke of a four-game losing streak, the Hawaii Warriors may not have a better opportunity than they have this week to get back into the winning habit.
Hawaii travels to the campus of Colorado State to face a 1-6 Rams team that hasn't won since opening day against in-state rival Colorado.
“Both teams need a win very, very badly for their programs,” Hawaii head coach Norm Chow explained in his weekly press conference (UH Athletics Channel on YouTube.com) as he made an assessment of this weekend's battle with Colorado State. “But only one can win.”
Rams starting quarterback Garrett Grayson (75-of-129 for 885 yards and seven TDs) was hopeful that he could return from his previous clavicle surgery for the game against Hawaii, but he is most likely not going to be active. Also hopeful for a return against the Warriors is backup quarterback M.J. McPeek.
McPeek (43-of-76, 533 yards and four TDs) filled in for Grayson until he also went down with an injury, but may be available as the second-stringer this weekend. “We’re hopeful, as we are with all of these guys, that we can get [McPeek] back sooner than later,” head coach Jim McElwain explained (as reported by Christopher Dempsey of the Denver Post). “Hopefully we can get him in a backup role, is what we’re trying to look for, as we move forward.”
As neither Grayson nor McPeek are fully healed, the Rams announced that redshirt freshman Connor Smith (18-of-22 for 165 yards) is the confirmed starter. The third-string QB was pressed into service in the loss to San Diego State when McPeek went down with a shoulder injury.
Smith's inexperience may cause the Rams to run the ball, but their rushing attack has been averaging fewer than 100 yards a game this season. Often-injured leading rusher Chris Nwoke (62 carries for 221 yards) has most recently fallen victim to an ankle sprain, and will probably be a game-time decision by the Rams' coaching staff.
Other injuries for Colorado State include DBs Kevin Pierre-Louis and Austin Gray, as well as DLs Curtis Wilson and Zach Tiedgen. All are questionable for Saturday.
The Warriors, too, have had difficulties with injuries this season, in addition to their uneven play and a brutal travel schedule. Despite the hardships, Norm Chow is hopeful that the Warriors can make improvements to turn the balance of this year around.
“We’re making this the second half of the season,” Chow declared in his weekly press conference (UH Athletics Channel on YouTube.com) “and we need to do well, obviously, this weekend.”
Game Time: Saturday, Oct. 27, Hughes Stadium, Fort Collins, Colorado, 7pm ET; 5pm MT. Television: Root Sports