Hawaii vs. San Diego State: Preview, TV Schedule, Odds, Prediction
Warriors hoping to upset Aztecs
Huge game in the islands
The Warriors host the 24th ranked San Diego State Aztecs (7-1) this Saturday night in Manoa. The Aztecs are coming off their first loss of the season to Fresno State last week and are looking to get back on track and solidify their top 25 ranking with a road victory. The Warriors are coming off of a 20 point loss to Utah State that could have been worse if not for some late game scores. This will be the first game where full capacity will be allowed in TC Ching Stadium and the Warriors are hoping for a sell out.
Jump on the Aztecs early…
Hawaii needs to put points on the board early and try to stay ahead of the Aztecs forcing them to throw. This is easier said than done because the Hawaii offense tends to struggle early and take a while to get in rhythm and they are facing a stingy Aztec defense. The Aztecs rank 6th in the nation against the run and 12th in the nation in scoring defense, only allowing an average of 17.5 points per game. Offensive coordinator Bo Graham will need to be at the top of his game this week. We’ve seen flashes where the offense moves the ball, but those have been few and far between and the Hawaii fanbase is growing impatient with the young and inexperienced play-caller.
If the Aztecs do have a weakness it would be at the Quarterback position. Jordon Brookshire won the starting job coming out of training camp but after suffering an injury he has struggled. He has completed only 48% of his passes this season. Lucas Johnson replaced Brookshire during the San Jose State game but has not been much better with a 58% completion percentage and a 5 to 3 touchdown to interception ratio. Both Brookshire and Johnson have the ability to move the sticks with their athleticism and solid frames so Hawaii needs to be ready for the quarterback bootleg off of play action.
WEEK 10: San Diego State (7-1) vs Hawai’i (4-5)
WHEN: Saturday, November 6, 2021 – 10:30 p.m. ET
WHERE: TC Ching Athletics Complex; Honolulu, Hawaii
STREAMING: FuboTV — get a seven-day free trial
Stop the run…
It is impressive that the Aztecs have been able to rack up seven wins with relatively poor quarterback play. A big reason why has been the power run game. Greg Bell has been the bell cow running for 666 yards and 6 touchdowns on the season but the Aztecs also get contributions from Kaegan Williams (207 yards, 2TD), Chance Bell (194 yards, 3TD) and Jordan Byrd (7.5 yards/carry, 3TD). The Aztecs power run game has been a problem for the Warriors throughout the history of the match up and the goal this week has to be to shut down the run and force Johnson to beat them through the air. Hawaii’s defense struggled last week against the Utah State Aggies fast-paced spread attack and this week’s opponents’ scheme brings new challenges.
What doesn’t change is the defense cannot afford to blow assignments and miss tackles like they did against the Aggies or this one could get ugly. Last week was uncharacteristic of the improved defense we have seen. Yes, they picked up a couple of late turnovers last week and were opportunistic, but this week the name of the game is tackling. They will not get as many opportunities to force turnovers this week because the Aztecs rely on the run game and take less risks down field so they will have to stop the Aztecs and force them to punt. A key will be to get stops on first and second down and force the Aztecs into third and long situations. The Warriors need to gang tackle and not allow the Aztec running backs to gain yards after contact.
Ride the momentum…
The Warriors need to ride the wave of momentum that the first real home crowd will bring like surfers riding winter swells on the North Shore. TC Ching Field should be sold out and fans should be ready to make some noise as it is the first home game Warrior fans can attend since the 2019 Hawaii Bowl against BYU. The noise and energy should give a boost to the Warrior defense that needs an inspired performance to stop the Aztec run game, as well as being able to encourage and jumpstart a struggling offense. All it takes is one play to get the crowd going.
Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro returned to the starting lineup last week and had a decent showing going 23/39 for 296 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. What was concerning is the Warriors only ran for 35 yards as a team last week. Dedrick Parsons has been solid in relief for an injured Dae Dae Hunter but struggled to get going on the ground.
He did lead the team in receiving yards out of the backfield but it seems like this offense does better when they are able to have a balanced attack and can establish a ground game. Ideally Dae Dae Hunter is able to return from injury this week and can help to get the Warriors run game back on track.
It is going to take a team effort to pull off an upset victory against a physical San Diego State team, but with new found energy from the home crowd I think the Bows have a chance to pull it off. They stunned a hot Fresno State team and I think they can do the same to the Aztecs if they can get ahead and force the Aztecs to throw the ball more than they’d like to. As always, let’s go Bows!