Hawaii vs. Vanderbilt: Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction

Hawaii vs. Vanderbilt: Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction

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Hawaii vs. Vanderbilt: Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction

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Hawaii vs. Vanderbilt: Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction


The first game of Hawaii’s Timmy Chang era kicks off Saturday night against the SEC’s Commodores. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for.


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Is an upset of an SEC team in the cards?

WEEK 0: Vanderbilt Commodores vs. Hawaii Warriors

WHEN: Saturday, August 27 — 4:30 p.m. HT | 8:30 p.m. MT | 10:30 p.m. ET

WHERE: Clarence T.C. Ching Complex; Honolulu, Hawaii

WEATHER: High of 88 with a low 74 and a 30% chance of rain

TV: CBS Sports Network

STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes CBSSN, by following this link.

You can stream the Hawaii radio broadcast on ESPNHonolulu.com & Sideline Hawaii app (Google | Apple)

RADIO: Hawaii games can be heard on ESPN Honolulu, 1420 AM and 92.7 FM. The game can also be found on satellite radio, on Sirius channel 134 or XM channel 190.

SERIES RECORD: This is the first ever meeting between Vanderbilt and Hawaii.

WEBSITES: Hawaii | Vanderbilt

GAME NOTES (PDF): Vanderbilt | Hawaii

ODDS: Vanderbilt +6.5

SP+ PROJECTION: Vanderbilt 30.9, Hawaii 25.5

FEI PROJECTION: Hawaii 32.4, Vanderbilt 28.8

PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Vanderbilt 45.62, Hawaii 31.65

One of the most eventful off-seasons in the history of the Hawaii football program has come to a close. It is officially game week. The Warriors will kick off the Timmy Chang era and the 2022 season against the Vanderbilt Commodores this Saturday at T.C. Ching Field on the beautiful campus of UH Manoa. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:30 PM HST and the game will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.

If you were planning on watching the game live at TC Ching, I’d grab tickets soon because they are dwindling. Coach Chang and his staff have brought optimism and excitement back to the program and the fanbase is eager to see the debut of the ‘Braddahhood’.

The Commodores are led by second year head coach Clark Lea and are coming off a 2-10 season, including an 0-8 mark in SEC play. The Commodores haven’t won a SEC game since 2019 but, to be fair, they are playing in the toughest conference in the nation. Coach Lea has become most famous for his SEC media day quote, “We know in time Vanderbilt will be the best football program in the country.” Call it optimism, call it crazy, but Coach Lea has big plans for this program and will need to get it headed in the right direction this season.

Junior quarterback Mike Wright was named the starter after beating out Ken Seals during spring ball. Last season, Wright played in ten games and threw for 1,042 yards, eight touchdowns, and six interceptions with a 53% completion percentage. He was also the team’s second-leading rusher with 376 yards and another score on the ground. He is a good athlete and showed it during the spring game when he scrambled for a 56-yard touchdown, but he has not yet shown consistency in the passing game.

Wright’s top option through the air is Will Sheppard, who is the top returning receiver after posting 43 receptions for 577 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore. 

Re’Mahn Davis will be the starting running back and returns to action after an injury sidelined him for the majority of 2021. He will share the load with Patrick Smith and Rocko Griffin. Last season in Davis’ absence, Griffin led the team in rushing with 517 yards and four touchdowns.

Defensively, the Commodores are led by their linebacker unit, which returns the team’s two top tacklers from 2021 in Anfernee Orji and Ethan Barr. Orji, who led the team with 92 tackles, missed some time during fall camp due to injury but is slated to play on Saturday. Barr racked up 85 tackles as well as 3 interceptions during the 2021 season.

Clemson transfer Kane Patterson and his younger brother Langston Patterson have added depth at the position and could also see playing time on Saturday. Up front, the Commodores lack the size of a typical SEC defensive line with only one player listed over 300 pounds on the roster. In 2021, the Commodores struggled to create pressure and finished with only nine sacks on the season, a sack rate of 2.5% that ranked 129th in the nation. They will definitely look to improve those numbers this season.

The secondary, meanwhile, is similar to Hawaii’s with a lot of “or’s” listed on the depth chart. It sounds like they will rotate through numerous players at all positions in that unit, though veteran safeties Jaylen Mahoney and Maxwell Worship should lead the way.

Hawaii Football: First Look At The Vanderbilt Commodores

Battle in the Trenches

The Commodores have been able to add some playmakers to their roster over the last two recruiting classes, but where they don’t match up against SEC opponents is in the trenches. Hawaii is not an SEC opponent, but the strength of the Warriors may be their veteran offensive line. If the Warriors can control the line of scrimmage and open up some holes for Dedrick Parson, it’ll make life easier for whoever gets the nod at quarterback.

Defensively, it will be important for the ‘Bows to shut down the run and contain Wright. The Commodores will most likely try to use the run to set up the pass. If they can stop the run on early downs and force Wright to be a pocket passer, they should have success. He’s a threat with the ball in his hands and the Warriors defense needs to keep a spy on him since he won’t hesitate to tuck it and run when given the opportunity. His long touchdown run in the spring game was not a designed quarterback run, but rather a scramble off of a pass play. 

The next playmaker…

There will be a handful of Warriors making their first start or seeing significant playing time for the first time on Saturday. We have identified Parson and wide receiver Zion Bowens as players that we think will have a breakout season, but in order for the offense to move the ball they will need others to breakout, as well. Tight end Jordan Murray has a chance to be a go-to target for the ‘Bows. He is a big athlete who should be able to threaten the seams and also be a threat in the red zone.

Coach Chang spent a lot of time in the tight ends room at Nevada, so I think he’ll be looking to take advantage of the mismatches that Murray creates. Redshirt freshman running back Tylan Hines is another player to watch as I think the coaching staff will find ways to get him touches. He has big play ability both as a runner and receiver.

Rebuilt Secondary

The Warriors secondary will feature new starters at every position. JoJo Forest, an Oregon State transfer, has locked up one of the starting corner positions and Virdell Edwards and Hugh Nelson II are the top two options on the other side. At nickelback, there is a three-man race between Arizona transfer Malik Hausman, sophomore Ty Marsh, and freshman Peter Manuma. Leonard Lee went from being kicked off the team by the previous coaching staff to earning a scholarship and the starting nod at one of the safety positions. Matagi Thompson, a true freshman, will get the start at the other safety spot. This is an unproven group, but here’s to hoping that the grind of an open competition throughout camp has helped to raise the level of play all around.

It should be close to a sell-out on Saturday night and although 9,000 fans in a makeshift on-campus stadium sounds meek in comparison to some of the SEC riches and crowds upwards of 70,000, T.C. Ching Field can get rocking and the fans are close to the field creating an intimate and exciting college football atmosphere. Let’s get rowdy and make some noise for the home team on Saturday night. The Timmy Chang era finally begins and I’m predicting a win for Hawaii. As always, let’s go ‘Bows!

Predicted final score (from Matthew Kenerly): Hawaii 35, Vanderbilt 34


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