Hawaii vs. San Jose State: Keys To A Warriors Victory
Can Warriors get an upset?
Hawaii hosts a potent offense
It seems like every week we have been saying “this is the best team we will play for the rest of the season”. This week is no different as the defending conference champion San Jose State Spartans come to town for a late 6:30 Hawaii time kick-off. The Spartans enter the contest 1-1 with a victory coming over Southern Utah and their loss to USC.
Defensively, the Bows need to stop the run. The Spartans usually deploy a pass heavy offense but in last season’s match up they ran for 288 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tyler Nevens accounted for 152 yards and two touchdowns and Kairee Robinson added 111 yards and another score. They both return this season. Hawaii will have to try to slow down the Spartan attack in the first half without Darius Muasau who was ejected for targeting in the second half of last week’s game. The Warriors will need Penei Pavihi and Isaiah Tufaga to step up in his absence. On the season, the Bows are surrendering 192.3 yards per game on the ground. That number needs to improve if they want a shot at taking down the defending champs.
— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) September 15, 2021
Quarterback Nick Starkel lost his top two receivers from last season in Bailey Gaither and Tre Walker to the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s struggled to get going this year (54% completion, 4/3 TD/INT ratio). He will certainly look to get back on track against a defense that gave up 21/29 302 2TD to Chance Nolan last week.
WEEK 3: Hawaii Warriors (1-2) vs. San Jose State (1-1)
WHEN: Saturday, Sept. 18th, 2021 – 6:30 p.m. HST | 12:20 a.m. ET
WHERE: Honolulu, Hawaii; Clarence TC Chinga Athletics Complex
STREAMING: FuboTV — get a seven-day free trial with this link
Offensively, the Warriors need to get off to a better start. I’ve hoped for “fast” starts in the past. This week I will settle for better. This season Hawaii has been outscored 45-31 in the first quarter. Those numbers don’t seem so bad right? If you take away a 28-0 first quarter against an FCS opponent in Portland State, Hawaii is being outscored 45-3 in the first quarter. I don’t care how good you play the rest of the game, that is a tough hole for any team to climb out of.
Getting the offense moving might be easier said than done this week as the Spartans are loaded in their front seven. Returning MWC Defensive Player of the Year Cade Hall caused havoc all season and racked up 10 sacks and 12 tackles for loss while Viliami Fehoko was a disruptive force on the opposite side picking up six sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss en route to first-team all-conference honors. Behind them will be another 2020 MWC first teamer in linebacker Kyle Harmon.
Last week we saw OC Bo Graham reach into his bag of tricks. If that’s what Hawaii needs to do to get going offensively, I’m all for using one of those trick plays early in the game. It’s taken about three drives for the offense to get going and they can not afford to wait that long this week.
Hawaii needs to play with excitement and enthusiasm. Hopefully, a little passion and controlled emotion can help them get off to a better start because they looked sluggish on both sides of the ball against the Bruins and the Beavers. Unfortunately, Hawaii is the only division one school in the nation that is still not allowing fans to attend home games so they cannot rely on the fans to give them a boost. It needs to come from within…Ok before I start sounding too zen, let’s wrap this up. The conference season is upon us. Let’s go Bows!