The Rainbow Warrior foray into the PAC 12 will conclude this Saturday at Husky Stadium with a 1:30 HST kickoff. This will be the first of their 5 games on the road, and by far the highest level of competition. After wins against Arizona and Oregon State, Hawai’i will see that the Washington Huskies will be an angry bunch following their upset loss last week in a 3 hour weather delayed game that saw Cal kick the winning field goal at 1:30 in the morning. The 1-1 Huskies are a tale of two teams. They looked like a juggernaut in a blowout win against Eastern Washington, and somewhat anemic against Cal. UW QB Jacob Eason lit up EWU for over 450 yards and 4 TD’s, but against Cal managed only 162 yards, an INT and a lost fumble. There were multiple drops and overthrows as Cal’s pressure had Eason flustered and out of sync for much of the night. Hard to know which Eason will show up or if UH has the ability to apply that level of pressure. In the first 2 games, UH has not mustered much of a pass rush. Washington has 3 good running backs led by Salvon Ahmed who had 119 yards on 21 carries, and Sean McGrew and Richard Newton are also very capable. It’s fair to say that this will be the best rushing attack that UH has faced.
Hawai’i improved in some areas in its second game against Oregon State, trimming the 6 turnovers in its opener to just 2 last Saturday. Against the Beavers, the receiving star was JoJo Ward who had 10 catches for 189 yards and 4 TD’s. Cole McDonald is still battling a tendency to throw the home run ball, but that was more restrained than versus Arizona. But he did manage to go 30-52 for 421 yards with 4 TD’s with some throws absolutely excellent. Also Melquise Stovall made his receiving debut to go along with his electric return game.
The critical and more concerning element with this team is the defense. They were torched in the first half by the OSU run game led by Jemar Jefferson, who finished with 183 yards on 31 carries, and gave up 28 first half points. But after Defensive Coordinator Corey Batoon made some adjustments at the break, UH held the Beavers scoreless in the second half, allowing the Rainbow Warriors to come back and win with a late field goal by Ryan Meskel. Meskel had a rough night, missing his first three attempts, but he has been so reliable that the misses can be chalked up to an out of sorts evening, at least for now.
Hawaii will have to be functioning on all cylinders to have a chance to go 3-0 against the Pac12, and with the Huskies season suddenly on the brink, the Rainbow Warriors can expect to see UW’s best effort.
For those making their way to Seattle, you will be treated to one of the truly beautiful settings in all of college football.
By Bobby Curran | The Voice of Rainbow Warrior Football