2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 1 - Colorado at Hawaii
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Sept. 3 at Hawaii 34 … Colorado 17
CFN Analysis: And Bryant Moniz can run, too? The Hawaii star only completed 20-of-33 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown, but he was a bolt of lightning when he got into the clear, finishing with 121 yards and three touchdowns on just 14 carries. The receivers weren’t exactly left out, but now it’ll be interesting to see if the Warrior attack can gear up the passing game like it’s supposed to work despite all the new starting receivers. The defense was phenomenal against the run and was dominant at getting into the backfield with seven sacks led by Paipai Falemalu, who came up with two sacks and six tackles. Next up is a winnable road trip to Washington, and the pass rush has to be just as strong while Moniz has to start bombing away like he’s supposed to.
Where was the Colorado offensive line? It was non-existent in pass protection, and while Rodney Stewart came up with 52 yards, he only averaged 2.9 yards per carry. He turned four passes for 98 yards, but it wasn’t nearly enough to overcome a lousy day from the run defense. Darragh O’Neill averaged close to 45 yards per punt and put four inside the 20, but the good field position didn’t matter. The defensive front was okay at getting into the backfield, and it was fine against the Hawaii passing game, but now it has to be far, far stronger with California coming up. The Buffs still have a long, long way to go to get back to what it was.
(AP) HONOLULU -- Bryant Moniz ran for a career-best 121 yards and three touchdowns and Hawaii beat Colorado 34-17 in the season opener for both teams Saturday night, extending the Buffaloes' road woes and spoiling the coaching debut of Jon Embree.
Moniz, who had just 102 yards rushing in 2010 while leading the nation in passing, rushed for 120 yards and two TDs in the first half alone. He also threw a 22-yard touchdown pass to Joey Iosefa in the fourth quarter to help seal the victory for the Warriors.
His scoring runs of 57 and 14 yards gave Hawaii a 17-0 halftime lead. He added a 1-yard TD in the third quarter, pushing the lead back to 17.
Meanwhile, the road losses keep mounting for the Buffaloes, who made their debut as a member of the Pac-12. It was Colorado's 18th straight loss on the road, 19 counting the 2007 Independence Bowl. Colorado hasn't won on the road since beating Texas Tech on Oct. 27, 2007.
It was a surprising performance for Moniz, who last year became just the 11th FBS quarterback to surpass 5,000 yards in a season. Moniz was 20 of 33 for 178 yards, far below his 360-yard average last year.
Moniz turned to the ground after having trouble finding his range. After completing a short swing pass to open the game, he failed to connect on his next six attempts.
But his legs were working. Moniz scrambled for a 22-yard gain in the first quarter and two plays later broke a 34-yard run, leading to a field goal. He then broke a career-long 57-yard TD run in the second quarter to put Hawaii up 10-0. Moniz faked a handoff, sidestepped a defender and sprinted untouched the rest of the way.
With 24 seconds left in the half, Moniz kept it on an option and scored on the 14-yarder.
Colorado made it interesting at the start of the fourth quarter, taking advantage of a Hawaii turnover and cutting the lead to 24-17 on Will Oliver's 34-yard field goal. Moniz fumbled as he was hit by Chidera Uzo-Diribe.
But the Buffaloes would get no closer, stymied by Hawaii's defense and trying to contain Moniz.
Colorado punted on all five of its first-half possessions. The Buffaloes finally woke up in the second half behind quarterback Tyler Hansen, who hadn't played a game since rupturing his spleen Oct. 23.
He connected with Richardson for two scores in the third quarter. One was a 21-yarder that cut the lead to 24-14. Earlier in the quarter, he caught a 6-yard pass to get Colorado on the scoreboard. The 73-yard scoring drive included a 52-yard pass play from Hansen to Stewart, who found an opening along the right sideline.
Hansen was 16 of 30 for 223 yards and two touchdowns. But he was sacked seven times and threw a late interception, ending any chance of a comeback.
Rodney Stewart had 52 yards rushing and caught four passes for 98 yards for Colorado.
Colorado (0-0) at Hawaii (0-0) Sept. 3, 10:15, ESPN2
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Here’s The Deal … The start of the 2011 season marks a fresh start for Colorado, which is debuting a rookie coach and a new conference. The newest members of the Pac-12 will be under the guidance of Jon Embree, a former tight end with the school. For a Buffaloes program that’s had just two winning seasons over the last nine years, change is a good thing. The status quo clearly wasn’t working during the Dan Hawkins experiment, forcing the administration to clean house in Boulder. Now that Boise State has left for the Mountain West, Hawaii has its set on a WAC in its final year in the league. Although the Warriors lost a plethora of graduating talent from last season’s 10-win squad, it does bring back one integral piece of the puzzle. Bryant Moniz is the next in a growing line of UH quarterbacks capable of putting up video game-like numbers in his team’s wide-open attack.
Why Colorado Might Win: When Hawaii has the ball, the Buffs will be capable of moving the line of scrimmage. While the Warriors are working on replacing all five starters from its front wall, Colorado features a veteran look along the front seven. Not only have the Warriors lost RB Alex Green to the NFL, but it’ll struggle to handle DE Will Pericak, DT Conrad Obi and LB Jon Major. Major is a terrific open-field tackler making a return from last year’s season-ending injury. Also back from the disabled list is senior QB Tyler Hansen, who has the necessary weapons to solve a questionable Hawaii secondary. WR Paul Richardson is a field-stretcher, and Ryan Deehan has a chance to be one of the league’s best pass-catching tight ends.
Why Hawaii Might Win: A trip to Hawaii is the last thing Colorado needed in its opener. Sure, it’s the Islands, but the Buffs are in dire straits in the secondary after losing two corners to the NFL. Moniz will feast on his visitors, spreading the ball around to Royce Pollard, Darius Bright and the rest of the playmaking wide receivers. If the Warriors succeed in turning the game into a track meet on a fast surface, the Buffaloes won’t have the offensive horses to keep pace. Brighter days may be ahead in Boulder, but the offense has a lot of bad habits to break before achieving a degree of consistency.
What To Watch Out For: Colorado’s ace in the hole for one more year will be 1,000-yard rusher Rodney Stewart. The undersized workhorse can do it all for the Buffs, working between the tackles or swinging out on pass patterns. More than any other player, he gives Embree hope for a fast start in his first season. Stewart’s task will be to successfully navigate an underrated Hawaii front seven. While not household names on the mainland, LB Corey Paredes and linemen Kaniela Tuipulotu and Vaughn Meatoga will make sure that running lanes become clogged in a hurry.
What Will Happen: Dating back to 2007, Colorado has dropped 18 consecutive road games. Snapping that streak of futility isn’t likely to happen at Aloha Stadium. While the Buffs are excited about the future, the present will have a familiar result. Hawaii simply has too much offense for a visitor that lacks pop. Moniz will start strong by passing for 350 yards and three touchdowns. The defense will take care of the rest, firing up the crowd and keeping Stewart from taking the game over.
CFN Prediction: Hawaii 34 … Colorado 23
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Hawaii -7 O/U: 56
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