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Can Hawaii Tame the Wolf Pack?

The University of Hawaii football team hosts Nevada this Saturday at Aloha Stadium. The Rainbow Warriors have lost two straight games and are looking to rebound with a win against the Wolf Pack. It won’t be easy, as Nevada is 5-0 this season and are currently 7-point favorites to beat UH. As always, ESPN Honolulu will bring you all the action, starting with the “Countdown to Kickoff” pregame show (4:00 p.m.) live from Big City Diner in XXX. Kickoff is set for 6:00, with Bobby Curran and John Veneri bringing you the play by play.

Here are some notes and stats heading into Saturday’s game:

♦ Last season, Hawaii blitzed the Wolf Pack, 54-3, in the Rainbow Warriors’ conference opener in Reno. In that game, UH QB Cole McDonald passed for 312 yards and 4 TDs – three of them to receiver Cedric Byrd II. The 51-point margin is the largest in the history of the series.

♦ Overall, Nevada leads the series, 14 to 10. However, UH has an 8-6 series lead at home.

♦ Nevada was Hawaii’s very first intercollegiate opponent. The two teams squared off in Honolulu on Christmas Day 1920, and the visitors prevailed, 14-0. At the time, Nevada teams were nicknamed the Sagebrushers. The school changed the nickname to Wolf Pack two years later. Interestingly enough, there are no wolves in Nevada. School historian Amy Hunsaker noted in 2018, “The [Nevada] student population felt like wolves embodied the spirit of Nevada.”

♦ The last time Hawaii faced an undefeated Nevada team was in 2010. On Oct. 16 of that year, the 6-0 Wolf Pack fell to the Rainbow Warriors, 27-21, at Aloha Stadium. Nevada threatened to pull ahead late in the game, but Mana Silva picked off a Colin Kaepernick pass at the UH 12-yard line to preserve the victory.

♦ Nevada head coach Jay Norvell served on Todd Graham’s coaching staff at Arizona State for the 2016 season, serving as ASU’s receivers coach and passing game coordinator. Norvell became the Wolf Pack head coach in 2017.

♦ Saturday’s game will be Nevada’s first outside the state of Nevada. Besides the team’s three home games at Mackay Field in Reno, the Wolf Pack’s other two games were played in Las Vegas.

♦ Wolf Pack receiver Romeo Doubs leads the country in receiving yards per game (155.6). He has had 100+ receiving yards in all five games so far this season. In addition, QB Carson Strong leads the Mountain West Conference in passing TDs (14), passing yards (1,805), passing yards per game (361) and completions per game (30.2).

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