Hughes, the most successful player in modern Cup history following his exploits with Manchester United, might now be in a suit on match-days, but the passion still burns strong for the competition.
A dreadful own goal by Colchester United keeper Aidan Davison and two first Rovers goals for young striker Jemal Johnson and veteran defender Dominic Matteo completed a good day at the office for Hughes and Rovers.
Hughes, who left fit-again skipper Barry Ferguson on the sidelines, watched his Rovers ease aside a laboured challenge from the League One U's to earn a place in the last 16.
But this tie will be more famous for a goalkeeping howler by 36-year-old custodian Davison that put Rovers on the road to victory after just 20 minutes.
Davison's complete miskick - Colchester later blamed a bobbly pitch for the error - when under no pressure whatsoever from Kevin Watson's back pass, gifted Rovers the lead.
The keeper's forgettable moment served to knock the stuffing out of Colchester, previous conquerors of Mansfield, Rushden & Diamonds and Hull City on their way to round four.
The Premier League outfit took full advantage seven minutes later when the lively Johnson became an instant hit with the home fans with a fine goal.
David Thompson's right-wing cross was touched on by Morten Pedersen and Johnson pounced to fire past the bemused Davison from 12 yards.
A foul on Robbie Savage gave the midfielder the chance to try his luck with a long-range free-kick which curled just wide before, in a rare attack, Colchester's Gavin Johnson forced Brad Friedel into a smart save.
The tie was all over six minutes into the second half when a pin-point free-kick from Savage enabled Matteo to get a telling near-post touch.
Blackburn could have gone on to double their tally, Brett Emerton, Thompson and substitute Jonathan Stead all wasting chances.
With Colchester hanging on for grim death, another Rovers substitute, New Zealand defender Ryan Nelsen, had a goal disallowed for a foul.
Man of match: Jemal Johnson – Lively, quick and dangerous, Rovers may have unearthed a gem in the young American-born striker.