Coming off a bye week that allowed some stewing over a losing streak. In search of its first conference win. Dealing with injuries.
All describe the University of Hawaii football team - and its opponent today, Colorado State.
The Warriors (1-5, 0-3 Mountain West Conference) will visit Fort Collins seeking their first win in five games, and first victory overall this season against an opponent from the Bowl Subdivision.
Norm Chow will try to lead Hawaii to its first win in five games today.
"We'll see where we can go," UH coach Norm Chow said Monday in a news conference posted on the school's athletics website. "Making this the second half of the season, we need to do well. Obviously we do this weekend."
The Rams (1-6, 0-3) have not won since opening their season with a victory over Colorado, and will make Conner Smith their third starting quarterback of the season today.
Smith took over in Colorado State's loss to San Diego State on Oct. 13 after M.J. McPeek was injured - McPeek had inherited the starting job after Garrett Grayson was hurt.
"He's our starter right now," Rams coach Jim McElwain said on the team's site. "Here's your opportunity; let's take it, let's run with it."
Smith completed his first 11 passes against the Aztecs, and finished the game 18-for-22 for 165 yards. He will be facing a UH defensive line that has dealt with multiple injuries, including the loss of Jordan Pu'u-Robinson, whose finger injury was deemed season-ending earlier this week.
"We tell the kids we close ranks and keep marching," Chow said. "It's tough to take. It's tougher to take because Jordan went through so much to try to get himself eligible. And it's a finger, but I guess it's shattered. So there is no use in trying to get him back."
Pu'u-Robinson, a former standout at Baldwin High School, played for Washington State in 2011, but after waiting three games this season received an exemption from the NCAA rule that requires transfers to sit out a year.
The Warriors have lost six straight conference games dating to last season, tied for the fourth-longest such skid in school history. The Rams have lost 14 of their last 15 games overall.
"Both teams need a win very badly for their programs," Chow said. "Only one can win and the rest of us just have to keep rolling. They're as desperate as we are."