Offense: D | Defense: D | Special Teams: B- | Meeting/Exceeding Expectations: B-
The Warriors have taken their fair share of lumps in the first half of 2022, but it may be that Timmy Chang’s first braddahhood is beginning to find its footing. After losing on a last-second field goal on the road at San Diego State in Week 6, Hawaii secured its first FBS win of the year in Week 7 against Nevada.
The offense seems to have settled its quarterback question with Brayden Schager, who had a poor four-interception performance against Western Kentucky but has completed 56% of his passes for 6.4 yards per attempt with three touchdowns and one interception in the last three weeks. That’s helped Dedrick Parson re-establish himself as one of the most reliable running backs in the Mountain West, though the return of Zion Bowens has also helped. Hawaii still ranks well into the triple digits nationally by points per drive (1.51, 110th), available yards percentage (37.1%, 109th), and drive yards per offensive play (4.76, 111th), but Ian Shoemaker’s unit has mostly beaten those averages in the last three games.
They could be a headache down the stretch if the defense can hold on to its recent gains, as well. The Warriors have been better on this side of the ball since their bye week in Week 5, but there’s still much to prove in terms of generating havoc since Hawaii currently owns a stuff rate of 15.6% (101st in FBS) and a sack rate of 2.5% (128th). Surrendering fewer chunk plays would also go a long way, too, though that is an issue stretching all the way back to 2018. That was the last time Hawaii didn’t rank last by plays allowed of 20 or more yards.
Matthew Shipley, meanwhile, has pulled double duty as the team’s punter and kicker and been solid. He’s connected on 7-of-8 field goals but has seen his yards per punt average drop slightly from last season, from 41.5 to 40.5. Kickoff specialist Kyler Halvorsen, on the other hand, has bumped his touchback rate from 55.6% to 65.5%, the second-best figure in the conference.
Head of the Class: Dedrick Parson, RB
The do-it-all running back got off to a slow start this season but has recently topped five yards per carry in three of the last four games and is currently eighth in the conference with 472 rushing yards. He’s also one of two Mountain West players to have scored ten touchdowns to this point in the season, Air Force’s Brad Roberts being the other.
One Player Deserving of More Attention: Zion Bowens, WR
After missing a month of action, it hasn’t taken Bowens much time at all to reacclimate himself as the number one option in Hawaii’s passing game. He led the team in targets against both San Diego State (11) and Nevada (six) and has already retaken the team lead with 197 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the last two weeks. If he stays healthy, he’ll make the Warriors that much better in the second half.