BY JAMES JOHNSON — BOULDER, Colo.,–After being one of the nation’s worst running teams in their first two contests this year, Colorado’s ground game looked unstoppable against Hawaii as the Warriors were again plagued by penalties, turnovers, and flat second-half play in their 13-31 loss Saturday.
Colorado Running Back Rodney Stewart rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns, Running Back Brian Lockridge added 111 yards as the Buffaloes ran away in the second half.
“He[Stewart]’s a good runner,” said Head Coach Greg McMackin. “What you have to do with him, is you have to stop him at the line of scrimmage because if he gets any air, or out in the open field, he’s really dangerous. That’s what our plan was. In the first half it worked, and the second–it wasn’t as good.”
Hawaii started strong, going into the locker room up 10-0 at the half. The score could have been much higher for Hawaii, but three chances in the red zone yielded just seven points in the first quarter. Quarterback Bryant Moniz threw a seven-yard pass to Kealoha Pilares, who finished with a team-high 117 yards on six receptions.
The other two first-quarter scoring chances ended with a Moniz fumbled snap on the Colorado one-yard line. Two drives later, Scott Enos missed a 20-yard field goal wide right. Enos, who kicked the game winner against Army, connected on a 31-yard attempt at the end of the first half, and on a 32-yard attempt in the third quarter.
The second half belonged to Colorado, who kept the Hawaii offense on the sidelines with an efficient running game. They finished with 252 yards on the ground.
“It’s just missed assignments, missed tackles,” said Paipai Falemalu. “When the play comes to us, we have to make it.”
“We don’t have any excuses. We just got outplayed in the second half,” said McMackin.
That view was expressed by other players and coaches who dismissed the suggestion that a long road trip and high altitude at Folsom Field played a part in the loss.
“I didn’t really feel effects from the altitude or anything like that, I felt pretty comfortable out there,” said Moniz. “We just got in a hole. Because we didn’t put up points in the beginning of t he game, it really hurt us in the end.”
Moniz finished with 330 total yards, but fumbled snaps cost the team a touchdown and also gave Colorado a safety in the third quarter.
Hawaii drops to 1-2 on the season, and faces Charleston Southern at home next week before starting their WAC schedule at home against Louisiana Tech on Oct. 2.