"I figured I had learned my lesson the last couple of weeks with the fumbles and balls thrown into coverage," said Hanie, who had thrown six interceptions before taking over for Justin Holland. "I was feeling really comfortable."
Hanie threw for two touchdowns and ran for a third as Colorado State ended a two-game losing streak with a 45-10 victory over Nevada-Las Vegas.
A true freshman, Hanie completed 12-of-16 passes for 211 yards and ran for 29 yards. Colorado State (4-6, 3-3 Mountain West Conference) scored 24 points in the first quarter in beating UNLV for the sixth time in seven meetings.
"Getting a big lead took the pressure off in play calling, and you can be more aggressive when you are up," Hanie said. "It helped a lot to take the pressure off of me and the receivers and backs. Especially the coaches."
Colorado State coach Sonny Lubick agreed. "The good thing is we got off to a good start. We came out and played hard."
The Rams scored on three of its four possessions and added a defensive score to lead 24-0 after one quarter. Following a 10-yard punt by Gary Cook, Hanie found Joel Dreessen alone on a post pattern for a 34-yard touchdown pass.
Colorado State used a trick play to complete a 10-play, 86-yard drive on its next possession. Hanie ran for 26 yards on the drive to set up a 34-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver David Anderson to Dustin Osborn.
"The guys were teasing me that it was kind of a "duck," but John Elway throws ducks," Anderson said. "If it's a touchdown, it doesn't matter. Osborn made the catch to make me look good."
Jeff Babcock kicked a 38-yard field goal and Brandon Cathy returned Dominique Dorsey's fumble 26 yards with 2:31 left to make it 24-0.
"We didn't play with much energy and it was one-sided early," Rebels coach John Robinson said. "Colorado State looked sharp and we didn't."
UNLV got a 22-yard field goal from Sergio Aguayo with 9:24 left in the second quarter.
Colorado State scored touchdowns on a 25-yard pass from Hanie to Kory Sperry and on Jimmy Green's 8-yard run and to lead 38-3 at halftime.
Hanie ran a quarterback draw for a 9-yard touchdown with 10:15 left in the third quarter. Shane Steichen scored UNLV lone touchdown on a 9-yard run early in the fourth quarter.
Ervin Johnson caught three passes for 21 yards to extend his streak of 40 consecutive games with a catch for UNLV (2-8, 1-5). The Rebels, losers of four straight have given up 161 points in their last three games.