Whenever Hawai’i plays UNLV in Las Vegas, there is something of a home game feel for the UH. ‘Bows fans show up in force, from Hawaii, California, and Vegas. The crowds are almost evenly divided between those wearing red and those in green.
The Rebels are 2-7, 0-5, and desperate for a conference win. They have been especially challenged offensively, scoring just 23.6 ppg, and giving up 34.4. They have had injuries, and QB Armani Rogers has only played in 4 games. Redshirt freshman Kenyon Oblad has been pressed into action, and he is a passer, and not the gifted runner that Rogers is. He has thrown for 1531 yards, 12 Td’s and 6 INT’s, and completes 53% of his passes. Third down has not been kind to the Rebels; they convert only 28% of their chances. RB Charles Williams is on track to gain a 1000 yards. He has already amassed 876 yards, 5.8 per rush with 7 TD’s. Randal Grimes is the leading receiver with 38 grabs at 15 yards per, and 6 TD’s.
Defensively, the Rebels 3-4 base surrenders 204 ypg rushing and 222 passing. They play hard, but have only 9 sacks, and 3 picks all year. The leading tackler is Rayshad Jackson with 71 T, 9 TFL, and 2 sacks. They are better in the back 7 than they are up front. A failure to pressure the UH QB will lead to long afternoon for the Rebels.
For Hawai’i, they come off Chevan Cordeiro’s first start of the year, which earned him offensive Player of the Week honors in the MWC. If he repeats his strategy of taking what is given it is not unreasonable to think he could better his 5 TD performance (3 pass, 2 run) from last week. He was well protected against a better front than he will see this week, and UH’s running game has been at its best in recent weeks. Cordeiro has some hungry receivers who all played well last week.
The defense continues to have its struggles, giving up 500 ypg in recent weeks, but a stop or 2 early on Saturday would be a confidence booster. A key will be jumping on the Rebels early; UH doesn’t want to give UNLV the sense that it can win this game. Play well, and the Rainbow Warriors will be bowling on Christmas Eve. A strong finish should assure UH fans that the program is in an ascendant phase.
By Bobby Curran | The Voice of Rainbow Warrior Football