Arizona Vs. Hawaii: Game Preview, Kick Time, Livestream, TV & Radio Schedule
The Arizona Wildcats will kick off the 2019 college football season against the Hawaii Warriors. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for.
The season is finally here.
WEEK 0: Arizona Wildcats vs. Hawaii Warriors
WHEN: Saturday, August 24 — 7:30 PM PT/4:30 PM HT
WHERE: Aloha Stadium; Honolulu, Hawaii (50,000)
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAM: CBSSports.com. You can also get a one-week trial of FuboTV and access CBS Sports Network via streaming.
RADIO: The Hawaii broadcast can be found on ESPN Honolulu 1420 AM and 92.7 FM. The Arizona broadcast can be found in and around Tuscon on 1290 AM and 97.5 FM. The Wildcats feed can also be found on satellite radio, as well, on Sirius channel 78 and XM channel 198.
SERIES RECORD: Arizona leads the all-time series 5-0. In the last meeting on September 17, 2016, the Wildcats defeated Hawaii, 47-26, in Tuscon.
ODDS (via OddsShark): Arizona -11
2018 STAT PROFILES: link
College football is back and it feels so good.
Welcoming the season with Hawaii football has become something of a tradition in recent years and, after last year’s surprise success, the season opener against the Arizona Wildcats is hotly anticipated.
It won’t be an easy task, however. The Warriors are just 2-11 against Pac-12 opponents this decade and Kevin Sumlin’s team will be motivated to begin their own potential rebound with a strong start on the islands. Armed with one of the West’s best quarterback-running back duos and a defense laden with veterans, Arizona will be a tougher non-conference foe than much of the slate they saw en route to a 6-1 start last fall.
Here are the keys to how Hawaii can defend Pride Rock and open 2019 with a victory.
Three Keys to a Hawaii Victory
1. Win in obvious passing situations.
The Wildcats had four defenders who tallied at least three sacks in 2018, but they didn’t possess what you’d call a particularly strong pass rush. Their team sack rate was just 5.2%, which ranked 100th nationally, and that figure dropped to 3.4%, or 128th, on passing downs (defined as 2nd-and-8 or more, 3rd-and-5 or more, or 4th-and-5 or more).
This was something the Warriors struggled with at times last fall. They did finish 43rd by Passing Downs S&P+ in particular, but much of that depended on their willingness to be aggressive on fourth downs: Hawaii converted 22-of-38 fourth down attempts (58%), but their third down success rate was just 30.2% (128th). If the running game stalls like it did for much of the second half of last season, there will be a lot of pressure on Cole McDonald to keep the chains moving in less-than-ideal situations.
2. Contain J.J. Taylor.
Taylor, of course, ran for 1,434 yards last fall so this may be easier said than done. In general, though, containing the junior running back proved to be a net positive for opponents in 2018: He averaged 6.79 yards per carry in Arizona’s five wins and just 4.59 YPC in their seven losses.
Taylor also had six fumbles in the 2018 season, so while quarterback Khalil Tate may be the bigger name, Taylor is probably the one cog Hawaii will need to most disrupt.
3. Maximize scoring chances.
This was a relative strength for the Warriors last fall, as the offense finished 41st among FBS teams in averaging 4.81 points per trip inside the 40, but it’s worth nothing their effectiveness on the opponent’s side of the field took a hit in their late season slide: They reached that figure just twice in their last nine games.
Arizona, meanwhile, struggled by that same measure in allowing 5.19 points per trip, which ranked 119th nationally. Cedric Byrd, in particular, may be a focal point for exploiting that weakness as his 34 catches inside the 40 were far and away the most in the Mountain West last season, but getting back to earning six points with more consistency will be critical to Hawaii’s chances at an upset.
The Wildcats represent a pretty sound litmus test for Hawaii’s staying power in 2019. While no one expects Arizona to contend for the Pac-12 title this fall, they should be in the mix for a bowl berth and UH hasn’t beaten a Power 5 foe that finished above .500 since winning the 2006 Hawaii Bowl against Arizona State.
It should be one of the more entertaining games in the entire Mountain West non-conference schedule, but it also seems more likely that Arizona’s playmakers, especially on defense, do just enough to hold Hawaii off. Arizona 33, Hawaii 24