Hawaii vs. San Jose State: Spartans Game Preview, How To Watch, Odds, Prediction
Spartans look to snap two game skid in regular season finale, host Rainbow Warriors on Senior Day
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Game 11: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (3-9, 2-5) @ San Jose State Spartans (6-4, 4-3)
When: Saturday, November 26th – 12:30 PT
Where: CEFCU Stadium; San Jose, CA
How to Watch: Livestream on Team1Sports App
Odds: San Jose State -15 Over/Under 57
Just like that, the College Football regular season has reached its final week. It seems like only a month ago everyone was reading preseason previews and getting excited for game one. Now it is already time for rivalry games and Senior Days. To be fair, it does feel like this is the case every year, the weeks fly by filled with equal parts Monday morning quarterbacking, and anticipation for the next matchup on the schedule. For San Jose State, it has been a topsy-turvy season, both on and off the field, and they have been trending downward in November.
Back-to-back losses have knocked the Spartans out of the conference championship race, but prior to that they did win their 6th game, which qualifies them for a bowl, something that eluded them a season ago. Their opponent this holiday weekend is not so fortunate. Hawaii brought in former star QB Timmy Chang to take the reins after the firing of Todd Graham. Chang was a popular, if not surprising choice, considering his lack of experience. He also inherited a roster in transit after a mass exodus through the transfer portal, something that occurred before his hiring. One of those to leave the program, of course, was none other than current SJSU star quarterback Chevan Cordeiro. There were others of importance as well, and it was widely known that 2022 was going to be a rebuilding year on the islands.
The first five games proved the chatter correct, as the inexperience on the field and the sideline showed. A demolition at Michigan can be forgiven, but blowout losses at home to Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky and at New Mexico State, not exactly a who’s who of major conference football, left many thinking Chang might be in over his head. The only win through September was a 10 point home win over FCS Duquesne.
Since the calendar hit October however, the turnaround has been impressive. In the last 7 games, aside from the drubbing by piping-hot Fresno State, Hawaii has dropped four one-score games, and last week upset UNLV, ending the Rebels hopes for bowl eligibility. On the surface, 2-5 during that stretch, and 3-9 overall, may not seem like much to write home about, but anyone who saw those opening games can tell how far this team has come. That has fans excited about the future. With no bowl game in the cards, this is one final time to put on the uniform for several Rainbow Warriors, and if the last month plus is any indication, they will lay it all on the field for Chang.
Looking specifically at what Hawaii has done better as of late, the running game has really kicked into gear with Dedrick Parson going over 100 yards in back to back games. QB Brayden Schager is coming off a 3 TD outing against the Rebels. Turnovers have been a major problem for the Rainbow Warriors for much of the year, as they rank near the bottom 10 in FBS football in turnover margin. With how the Spartans defense has performed as of late, Parson may find some running lanes in this one.
The UH defense has been better as well, but will never be confused with an elite unit. They have trouble creating turnovers, with only eight forced on the entire season, and allow a large number of explosive plays. Three of their last four opponents have scored a touchdown of 50 yards or longer. That’s a bad recipe against Cordeiro and Elijah Cooks. Hawaii also does not generate a lot of pressure from their front seven, with a very low number of both sacks, and tackles for loss. This should be a good matchup for an inconsistent SJSU offensive line.
For the Spartans, there is no way around it. After putting themselves in position to play in the Mountain West Conference championship game, the last month has been disappointing. A loss to Fresno State preceded lackluster efforts against struggling teams in Nevada and Colorado State. The wheels really fell off at San Diego State two weeks ago, and a predictable letdown occurred last weekend in frigid Logan, against Utah State.
The offense did their part, particularly the aforementioned duo of Cordeiro and Cooks. They connected 7 times for 125 yards and 3 TD’s. Cordeiro also hooked up with Justin Lockhart 6 times, and he threw for 257 yards in all, with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. Kariee Robinson took advantage of his weekly low total of carries, this time 12, to gain 70 yards. There should be no reason the skill players for the Spartans don’t put up big numbers again this week.
It was the other side of the ball that let San Jose State down a week ago. Blown coverages, missed tackles, and lack of aggression was much more noticeable than in other games. This is a defensive group that was ranked in the top 10 nationally in points allowed until the last two weeks. Utah State has nice players at the RB and WR position, but they should not put up 450 yards of total offense against SJSU.
The schematic matchups will always factor into how a game plays out. But this is Week 13 of the season. Things like focus and motivation tend to matter an awful lot more across all of college football. San Jose State has not looked like the same team we saw earlier in the year for quite some time now. Is that going to change this weekend? That’s the million dollar question.
The teams will be playing for the Dick Tomey Legacy Trophy. The legendary coach, who passed away in 2019, served as head coach of both schools during his career. It is also Senior Day, and 13 Spartans, including many who were key contributors of the 2020 Mountain West conference Championship team, will be honored before the game. They include Junior Fehoko, Lando Grey, Cade Hall, Kyle Harmon, Alii Matau, Nehemiah Shelton, and Noah Wright. Will their teammates be able to send them out of CEFCU Stadium as winners and keep the perfect 5-0 home record intact? Seeing how Hawaii has played lately, you have to figure you’re going to get one last peak effort from them. The Spartans of course, will have a bowl game to play, but it would be nice to take out the frustrations of the last month on a conference opponent. This is a tough one to get a read on, other than to think that both teams will get their share of points, and eventually the home team does enough to earn the W.
Prediction: San Jose State 34 Hawaii 27
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