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
Mary Hardin-Baylor wins D-III title, beating Mt. Union 24-16
Mary Hardin-Baylor won its second Division III championship in three years Friday night, beating Mount Union 24-16 in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl.
Stick leads NDSU over Jackrabbits, into FCS title game
Quarterback Easton Stick ran for 169 yards and three touchdowns and threw for another score to help North Dakota State defeat rival South Dakota State 44-21 in the FCS semifinals Friday night.
Stick's 3rd rushing TD shuts the door on SDSU
Easton Stick takes the ball himself and runs in a 28-yard touchdown for a 44-21 rout over South Dakota State to advance to the FCS National Championship game.
Christion launches a 52-yard TD to Johnson
South Dakota State's Taryn Christion leaves the pocket and lets it rip to Cade Johnson for a 52-yard touchdown.
Anderson turns on the jets for a 41-yard TD
North Dakota State's Bruce Anderson breaks a tackle and takes it to the house for a 41-yard touchdown and 35-14 lead.
Anderson hauls in 14-yard TD
QB Easton Stick finds a wide-open Bruce Anderson for a 14-yard touchdown and a 28-14 North Dakota State lead.