Hawaii vs. UNLV: Preview, How To Watch, Odds, More
Keys for a Warriors victory
Hawaii looking for another win
This week the Warriors travel to the 9th Island to take on the UNLV Rebels. It’s a pilgrimage that I usually make every other year to watch the Bows on the road, but due to COVID and a future Warrior fan on the way, I’m going to have to sit this one out. I’m not worried because I know the Hawaii fans will represent and I’m sure they’re all excited to be in the brand new Allegiant Stadium instead of the Sam Boyd Dust Bowl.
Show us something Bo…
All season the Warriors offensive attack has been stagnant to the point where we probably shouldn’t even call it an attack. There is no flow, direction or identity and everyone is sick of it. Yes, as fans we are unfairly comparing this offense to the Run n shoot offenses of the past, but the frustration comes from a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” mindset. In his introductory press conference Todd Graham vowed to keep the offense very similar to what helped Hawaii to a 10 win season before he was hired.
We expected to see an uptempo, four wide vertical passing attack. What we got is Norm Chow 2.0. A boring and non-effective run to set up the pass and if that doesn’t work, lets just close our eyes and point to something on the play sheet scheme. Am I being over critical again? Yes. Should Todd Graham have hired his son who has basically no coaching experience outside of working for his dad as the Offensive Coordinator of a division one program? No. That is where most of the frustration from the fans comes from. We all understand that Hawaii cannot afford to pay coaches like the power 5 teams or even other teams in our conference, but this is an all-time low. Fan forums, message boards and twitter are flooded with complaints of nepotism and that is justified based on the play selection and performance of the offense this season.
WEEK 11: Hawaii Warriors (4-6, 1-4 Mountain West) vs. UNLV Rebels (1-8, 1-4 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, November 13 — 1:00 PM PT/11:00 AM HT
WHERE: Allegiant Stadium; Las Vegas, NV
TV: Spectrum Pay-Per-View
STREAMING: For fans on the mainland, the game can only be streamed using the Team1Sports application, which is available for download on Android and Apple devices and over-the-top platforms like Roku and Amazon Fire. Please note that the game will not be available on desktops or laptops.
You can also stream the UNLV radio broadcast on LVSportsNetwork.com.
RADIO: The UNLV broadcast can be found in and around Las Vegas on ESPN 1100 AM and 100.9 FM. The Hawaii broadcast can be found on ESPN Honolulu, 1420 AM and 92.7 FM.
SERIES RECORD: Hawaii leads the all-time series, 18-12. In the last meeting on December 12, 2020, the Warriors defeated the Rebels, 38-21, in Honolulu.
LAST WEEK: UNLV won on the road against New Mexico, 31-17, while Hawaii lost at home to San Diego State, 17-10.
ODDS (as of 11/10, via Vegas Insider): Hawaii -3
SP+ PROJECTION: Hawaii by 9.4
FEI PROJECTION: UNLV by 0.8
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: UNLV 56.86% win probability
With that being said, show us something Bo. Show us you deserve this position. Show us that you’ve put in the work, watched and broke down the film and have a solid game plan to beat the Rebels. Show us some consistency in play calling for an entire game and show us improvement in the red zone. You have talented players and we’re not asking for a 400 yard passing performance or 50 points. We just want an offense that can avoid three and outs and move the ball.
Who will be the QB?
Last week’s game ended when Chevan Cordeiro took a check down in the middle of the field and time ran out before they could get another snap off. Cordeiro struggled (19-34 175 yds,1 TD,1 INT) against a tough SDSU defense. Coach Graham was visibly upset about the decision on the last play of the game and spoke about it in interviews. You don’t expect a veteran like Cordeiro to make that kind of mistake. Could that be the mistake that opens the door for Freshman Brayden Schager to get a shot?
Keep it up Defense!
This year’s defensive unit has been solid for the most part. Led by Darius Muasau and ball hawk Khoury Bethley, the defense has forced 21 turnovers this season. Considering how often they are on the field, they have played tough and kept the Warriors in most of the games this season. This week they will have to contain the Rebel’s offense led by Quarterback Cameron Friel, a Kailua High School product. The Rebels probably did not expect Friel to see the field this season, but due to injuries he was thrown into the fire and has shown improvement since.
Starting Quarterback Doug Brumfield has resumed practicing with the Rebels, but Coach Arroyo said he will not return to game action until he is 100% healthy. Last week the Rebels won their first game in the Marcus Arroyo era against New Mexico. Friel threw for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns in the victory, a large chunk of that going to receiver Kyle Williams who finished with 127 yards and a touchdown. Running back Charles Williams became the all-time career rushing leader at UNLV during the win with 74 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Bows need to continue to be aggressive and force Friel into mistakes. They have been opportunistic and I believe they continue that trend this week.
Special teams have not been so special…
Besides the improvement of place kicker Matthew Shipley, the special teams unit has struggled giving up multiple blocked punts, muffing multiple returns on the season and last week giving up a fake field goal for a touchdown. The worst part about the fake field goal last week was Hawaii was not even trying to block the kick. In fact, they had 4 guys off the line of scrimmage and still were not able to stop the SDSU holder from scoring. They weren’t lined up and if I am correct only had 10 guys on the field for that play.
Without that momentum changing score, last week would be a very different game. Coach-speak says that you need to win all three phases of the game and costly mistakes in the special teams portion has hurt the Bows this season. The Bows need to play a clean and mistake free game on special teams. They should be capitalizing and not being hurt by this phase of the game.
To be honest, I am just a frustrated fan and watching the Warriors lose two very winnable home games (SJSU and SDSU) in similar fashion put me over the edge to write this whiny article. Glass half-full, I should be happy that the defense showed up and shut down the run game of the number 22 team in the nation and that the Warriors might have the most surprising and impressive victory of the season (Fresno State). Hawaii is a three point favorite and I think they should leave Vegas with a victory. The sky is not falling, but if the Bows return home without the golden pineapple trophy it might seem like it.
Typically this is a neutral site game for the Bows as fans from Hawaii flock to Vegas for a 2-for-1 trip. Gambling and watching the Bows are two of Hawaii’s favorite pastimes. Downtown Vegas is one of my favorite places to be during the week of the game as you run into so many family members and friends who have also made the trip and the vibes are at an all time high. To my fellow fans making the trip, may the dice be hotter than the Oxtail Soup at the California Hotel. As always, let’s go Bows!