FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Cole McDonald led the Hawaii Warriors to their first win in Fort Collins since 1988, picking apart Colorado State's secondary in a 43-34 win over the Rams on Saturday night after nearly blowing a 30-point lead.
McDonald threw for 418 yards and three TDs, including a 55-yarder to Cedric Byrd that made it 37-7.
With his counterpart, University of Washington graduate transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels throwing for 537 yards and five touchdowns, McDonald and the Warriors had to fend off a furious Rams rally.
It included a four-play, 99-yard scoring drive and a 9-yard TD toss to Izzy Matthews that pulled CSU to 40-34 with 4:42 remaining.
The Rams didn't try an onside kick after that, and Tristin Kamaka's fair catch at the Hawaii 13 gave the Warriors the ball at their 25 thanks to a new NCAA kickoff rule.
Despite a delay of game call to start the game, the Warriors (1-0, 1-0 Mountain West) were nearly unstoppable, scoring on all but one of their first-half possessions in taking a 23-7 lead into the locker room on their way to their first win at CSU since Sept. 10, 1988.
The Rams (0-1, 0-1), coming off a third straight bowl appearance, figured to be ahead of the Warriors, coming off a 3-9 season, but missing coach Mike Bobo for much of the two weeks leading into their opener apparently took its toll in the first half.
Bobo spent 10 days in the hospital for peripheral neuropathy after experiencing numbness in his feet. He called offensive plays from the coaches' box.
Hawaii: Snapping a five-game road losing skid is just what coach Nick Rolovich needed to jump-start his program.
Colorado State: This was the last thing Bobo needed with the Rams heading into a brutal stretch that includes games against Colorado, Arkansas and Florida.
Hawaii: The Warriors host Navy (0-0) on Saturday when former Hawaii QBs Rolovich and Ken Niumatalolo square off.
Colorado State: The Rams have a short week before hosting the University of Colorado (0-0) in the Rocky Mountain Showdown at the Denver Broncos' stadium.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25
Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton
Louisville interim coach says last 2 games about players, not permanent position
Louisville interim football coach Lorenzo Ward said he is focused solely on salvaging the Cardinals' final two games rather than whether he will have the job permanently.
Which defense steps up in Week 12?
Thinking Out Loud's Marcus Spears and Greg McElroy analyze Ole Miss' and Vanderbilt's defense and who holds the advantage.
Tennessee eliminating mental errors
Head coach Jeremy Pruitt joins The Paul Finebaum Show to reflect on a big win over No. 11 Kentucky and what's ahead for the Vols.
Razorbacks, Bulldogs continuing to fight
Head coaches Chad Morris and Joe Moorhead reflect on the season so far and the expectations heading into their Week 12 contest.
No. 15 Florida still hanging on
Edgar Thompson joins SEC This Morning to talk about the Gators' comeback win over the Gamecocks.
Georgia sorting things out
Mike Griffith chats with SEC This Morning about the Bulldogs' performance against Auburn and how they are still trying to put the pieces together.