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Know Your 2020 Opponents: Part 2

Welcome back to our continuing look at the 2020 University of Hawaii football schedule. In Part 2, we take a look at the season’s remaining six games- all key Mountain West contests. This is the meat of the UH schedule, and no game is a “gimme.” To make the slate even more challenging, for the first time in program history, the Rainbow Warriors will play their final two regular season games on the road. Here’s a look at Boise State, Fresno State, New Mexico, UNLV, San Jose State and San Diego State.


The road to the Mountain West championship, as usual, will go through Boise State. The Broncos have historically dominated UH, going 14-1 in their last 15 meetings – including two decisive wins over the Rainbow Warriors in 2019. Hawaii’s last seven losses to Boise have been lopsided, with losing margins of 21, 22, 36, 55, 35, 35 and 45 points. The Broncos will have to deal with the loss of safety DeAndre Pierce, who had 144 career tackles in Boise. The redshirt senior entered the transfer portal earlier this month.


Will it be a trick or treat for the Rainbow Warriors in Fresno? Last season, late-game heroics by UH backup QB Chevan Cordeiro couldn’t prevent a home loss to the Bulldogs, as Cesar Silva’s 37-yard FG as time expired lifted Fresno State to a 41-38 victory over Hawaii. All eyes will be on new head coach Kalen DeBoer, who replaced Jeff Tedford at the end of last season. Hawaii is 1-8 against the Bulldogs in their last nine meetings. Ironically, UH’s last two wins over Fresno have been on the road.


After going 35-64 in eight seasons, Bob Davie is out as New Mexico’s head coach. The new man in charge is Albuquerque native Danny Gonzales, who is also a former Lobos player and assistant coach. Gonzales spent the previous two seasons as the defensive coordinator at Arizona State. (Gonzales joined the Sun Devils program following the 2017 departure of Todd Graham.) Last season, Hawaii defeated New Mexico, 45-31, snapping a seven-game losing streak to the Lobos.

Nov. 14: UNLV

The Las Vegas Review-Journal has referred to UNLV football as “the place head coaching careers go to die.” New head coach Marcus Arroyo hopes to change that perception. The former offensive coordinator at Oregon has replaced Tony Sanchez, who went 20-40 in five seasons in Las Vegas. It seems the hiring has already paid dividends, as Rivals.com ranked UNLV’s recruiting class as the best in the Mountain West. Hawaii has won four of their last five home contests against the Rebels.


The Spartans were a mere 5-7 in 2019, but that was four games better than their 2018 campaign. This is a program on the upswing, and head coach Brent Brennan has received a three-year contract extension through the 2024 season. Last year, Hawaii escaped with a narrow 42-40 win over SJSU at Aloha Stadium. Arkansas transfer Nick Starkel is expected to take the QB reins from the graduated Josh Love. The Spartans did have the top passing offense in the league in 2019 and return all of their top receivers.


For the first time in program history, the UH football team will conclude their regular season with two straight away games. After nine seasons, the Rocky Long era at San Diego State is over. Long posted an enviable 81-38 record at SDSU and guided the Aztecs a postseason bowl appearance every year of his tenure. Brady Hoke, who has returned for his second stint as SDSU head coach, hopes to heat up the Aztec offense in 2020. “It’s going to be a little more wide open, a little more spread out,” he said. “At the same time, [we want to be] able to run the football.”

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