Utah State vs. Hawaii: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

Utah State vs. Hawaii: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

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Utah State vs. Hawaii: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction

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Utah State vs. Hawaii: Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction


The Warriors look to trip up the Aggies while Utah State hopes to get closer to bowl eligibility. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for.


Contact/Follow @MattK_FS and @MWCwire

A late night showdown on the islands.

WEEK 11: Utah State Aggies (4-5, 3-2 Mountain West) vs. Hawaii Warriors (2-8, 1-4)

WHEN: Saturday, November 12 — 6:00 PM HT/9:00 PM MT/8:00 PM PT

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

WEATHER: Scattered showers and breezy, low of 70 degrees

TV: Spectrum Pay-Per-View (Hawaii only)

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.

RADIO: The Utah State broadcast can be found on the affiliates of the Aggie Sports Network, which includes flagship 1280 AM/97.5 FM (KZNS) out of Salt Lake City. You can stream the Hawaii radio broadcast on ESPNHonolulu.com & Sideline Hawaii app (Google | Apple).

SERIES RECORD: Utah State leads the all-time series, 11-6. In the last meeting on October 30, 2021, the Aggies defeated the Warriors, 51-31, in Logan.

LAST WEEK: Utah State won at home against New Mexico, 27-10, while Hawaii lost on the road against Fresno State, 55-13.

WEBSITES: UtahStateAggies.com, the official Utah State athletics website | HawaiiAthletics.com, the official Hawaii athletics website

GAME NOTES (PDF): Utah State | Hawaii

ODDS: Utah State -10.5

SP+ PROJECTION: Utah State by 10 (72% win probability)

FEI PROJECTION: Utah State by 15.7

PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Utah State 71.17% win probability (27.72-20.02)

Week 11 of Mountain West play will wrap up late on Saturday when the Hawaii Warriors host Utah State. Neither team has had quite the season that they hoped for, but there’s still plenty on the line for both sides: Timmy Chang’s team has lost three conference games by seven or fewer points, but they could reverse those fortunes against an Aggies team looking to get a crucial road win which would bolster their bowl hopes.

Here’s how both teams could come out ahead.

Three Keys to a Utah State Victory

1. Get Cooper Legas in an early rhythm.

After a strong start to last week’s game against New Mexico, Legas ended up having his worst game of the year to date and completed under 50% of his throws. Against an anemic Hawaii pass rush that currently ranks 128th in the country with a 3.4% sack rate, however, offensive coordinator Anthony Tucker doesn’t have much reason to get gun shy this week.

It helps that Legas has tended to do most of his best work on early downs, as well. On first and second down, the junior quarterback has a 61.8% completion rate and has averaged 6.1 yards per attempt. The lone downside is that Legas has also thrown four of his five interceptions on early downs, as well, but the Warriors’ defense has allowed 76.3% of opponents’ first downs on first and second down, so the potential rewards may outweigh the risks.

2. Win the first quarter.

Putting trust in Legas could pay dividends in more ways than one. That’s because both teams have done their best work when firing on all cylinders in the first fifteen minutes: Utah State is 3-0 when leading after the first quarter while Hawaii is 2-3, but the Aggies are 1-5 when trailing while the Warriors are 0-4.

Ensuring the running back tandem of Calvin Tyler Jr. and Robert Briggs are involved early is another option. Both have averaged over five yards per carry early in games and Tyler Jr., in particular, has 257 first quarter rushing yards. That’s the second-most in the conference, which could be a boon against a Hawaii defense that’s improved since non-conference play but has still allowed 5.39 yards per carry against Mountain West opponents.

One catch? Tyler Jr.’s status for the game is up in the air after entering concussion protocol earlier this week.

3. Limit self-inflicted mistakes.

Utah State has often made things a lot harder for itself than it had to be throughout the season. Though they won by 17 points against New Mexico last week, the Aggies’ 11 penalties marked the fifth time in nine games that they racked up double-digit flags.

Despite Hawaii’s massive youth movement, they’ve done a surprisingly good job of avoid such mistakes themselves with an average of 5.4 penalties per game. If the Aggies find themselves being pushed toward an upset, there’s a very good chance it’s because they’ve continued to beat themselves.

Three Keys to a Hawaii Victory

1. Get touchdowns in the red zone.

Neither team in this matchup has done particularly well on offense inside the 20 this year since both sport red zone touchdown rates under 50%, but one clear difference between the two is that Warriors quarterback Brayden Schager has been considerably better than his Utah State counterpart, Cooper Legas.

Though he has just 23 pass attempts in the red zone, Schager has a 65.2% completion rate, four touchdowns and, most importantly, zero interceptions. If the game becomes a defensive scramble, how well the Dallas sophomore does in such situations could be a huge factor.

2. Keep the ground game on track.

Star running back Dedrick Parson got banged up in last week’s blowout against Fresno State, which explains why he was limited to just eight carries. However, that opened the door for Tylan Hines, a transfer from Air Force this past off-season, to continue a recent run of strong performances and he responded with 79 rushing yards on just 11 carries.

Hines has had double-digit carries in three of Hawaii’s last four games and given the Warriors a spark with an average of 7.6 yards per carry. In fact, only Colorado State’s Avery Morrow has more ten-yard runs in conference play to date. Against a Utah State run defense that’s allowed 31 such plays in Mountain West action, the second-most in the conference, and has allowed opponents to convert for a first down or touchdown on 89.5% of third- and fourth-down carries (130th in FBS), a healthy Parson and an explosive Hines might do serious damage.

3. Generate disruptive plays.

This key, as it has been for most of the year, is easier said than done. The Warriors have a defensive stuff rate of just 15%, which ranks 103rd in the country, though Hawaii did have a nice run of four straight games with either five or six tackles for loss before last week’s disappointment against Fresno State.

Utah State might be inclined to lean on Calvin Tyler Jr., if he’s available, and/or Robert Briggs since the Aggies offense hasn’t been anywhere near as explosive as it was in 2021. This could be a big opportunity, then, for youngsters like Ezra Evaimalo, who’s started the last two games after carving out a part-time role before that, Anthony Sagapolutele, and Tariq Jones to make waves and keep the game a low-scoring affair.

Prediction

Neither team has lit up the scoreboard in recent weeks, but Utah State should have enough of a talent advantage on offense against a rebuilding Hawaii defense to win the game in (probably) unremarkable fashion.

Utah State 27, Hawaii 17

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