HONOLULU (AP) -- Colt Brennan had a short night of work, but gave Hawaii all it needed.
Brennan threw for 416 yards and six touchdowns -- in the first half -- as No. 23 Hawaii opened its most anticipated season ever with a 63-6 win over Northern Colorado on Saturday night.
"We took care of business. That's what we wanted to do," Brennan said.
His six first-half TD tosses gave him 99 for his career, tying former high school teammate Matt Leinart of Southern California for sixth on the NCAA career list. Brennan entered the game in 10th place and quickly passed Brady Quinn, Phillip Rivers and Kliff Kingsbury.
High-powered Hawaii struck early with four scores in the first 11 minutes.
Ryan Grice-Mullen caught nine first-half passes for 130 yards for the Warriors, who were ranked in the preseason for the first time. His 26-yard TD catch gave Hawaii a 42-0 halftime lead.
Brennan, who passed up on the NFL to return for his senior season, showed no rust and looked to be in midseason form. He completed 34 of 40 passes, with at least three of his misses dropped by receivers.
"We did a great job knowing what they were going to do," Brennan said. "We just came out and executed."
He set or tied school records for completions in a quarter (19) and half (34), as well as TD passes in a quarter (4) and a half (6). Brennan's 416 passing yards also broke his own school record for a half, set last year.
"He's something special," Warriors coach June Jones said.
With the game in hand, the Warriors had their second-string offense in the game to start the second half. Backup Tyler Graunke replaced Brennan and third-string quarterback Inoke Funaki also saw action.
"We got a little ragged at the end with all the new guys in there, but I'm glad they got a chance to play," Jones said.
Freshman running back Kealoha Pilares got the scoring going by catching a dump pass from Brennan and sprinting 15 yards into the end zone, capping an 80-yard drive where Brennan threw for 71 yards and ran for 9 more.
Brennan had 263 yards passing in the first quarter alone, while Bears quarterback Dominic Breazeale finished the game with 51 yards passing and one interception.
Northern Colorado's David Woods had trouble handling the ball, fumbling twice in his first five carries. The turnovers led to two Brennan TD passes, a 30-yarder to Jason Rivers on the left sideline followed by a 5-yard dart to Davone Bess on the opposite side that gave Hawaii a 21-0 lead.
Bess, who had seven catches for 54 yards and two TDs, said No. 5 Michigan's stunning loss to Appalachian State earlier in the day was "the talk of the locker room," before the game.
"We knew this was the kind of game we couldn't go in cocky," he said.
Bess said he's noticed Brennan leading more this year, in practices and during the game.
"He pretty much took charge and led the way," he said.
The Warriors' fourth score was a 30-yard toss from Brennan to C.J. Hawthorne, who played defensive back last year.
Michael Washington put Hawaii up 49-0 early in the third quarter with an 80-yard punt return, and freshman Malcolm Lane had an equally impressive 94-yard kickoff return in the fourth quarter for a touchdown.
Lane followed a wedge of blockers through the middle and found an opening. He shed the kicker at the Bears 45 and sprinted down the right sideline for the score.
Northern Colorado, members of the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA), could not match the Warriors' size, speed and strength.
Hawaii, which didn't call a running play until the fourth quarter, had 577 yards of offense, while holding Northern Colorado to 182.
Second-year coach Scott Downing had joked that his team prepared for Hawaii by traveling to Denver to practice against the Broncos.
Backup quarterback Mike Vlahogeorge prevented the shutout on a 5-yard sneak in the fourth quarter, but Hawaii blocked the extra point attempt.
Rafael Mendoza, who was stabbed in the leg by a teammate last year, booted seven punts for a 44.7-yard average for Northern Colorado.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Colt Brennan threw six unanswered touchdown passes in the first half.
Gameball goes to... Brennan. In just a half game's worth of work, he racked up 416 yards through the air on 34-of-40 passing.
Stat of the game... 99. Brennan moved into a sixth-place tie (Matt Leinart) on the NCAA list with 99 career TD passes.