Christmas came early for the University of Hawaii football team, as the Rainbow Warriors’ scheduled road game this Saturday has been relocated to Aloha Stadium. Still, UH faces a stiff challenge in Spartans, who are 4-0 despite having their season disrupted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Kickoff is set for 1:00 p.m., and ESPN Honolulu will provide full game day coverage, including the “Countdown to Kickoff” pregame show (11:00 a.m.) and the game itself with Bobby Curran and John Veneri falling the action.
Here are some pregame notes for Saturday’s big matchup:
♦ Hawaii has a four-game winning streak against the Spartans. Overall, the Rainbow Warriors lead the UH-SJSU series, 22-19-1. This rivalry dates back to Dec. 11, 1936, when the Spuartans defeated Hawaii, 13-8, in Honolulu.
♦ Last season, Hawaii outlasted the Spartans in a thrilling 42-40 shootout at Aloha Stadium. QB Chevan Cordeiro had his best outing as a Rainbow Warrior, passing for 309 yards and 3 TDs while also rushing for 55 yards and 2 more TDs. RB Miles Reed contributed 125 rushing yards and 1 TD on just 17 carries.
♦ The two schools will once again compete for the Dick Tomey Legacy Trophy. The trophy honors the memory of the late Tomey, who served as the head coach at Hawaii (1977-86) and SJSU (2005-09). Tomey won a combined 88 games at the two schools. He died in May 2019.
♦ This will be San Jose State’s first game since Nov. 14. The team’s scheduled games against Fresno State (Nov. 21) and Boise State (Nov. 28) were canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Bulldogs’ and Broncos’ programs. This is the third time in program history that the Spartans have had a three-week gap between regular-season games.
♦ Spartans LB Kyle Harmon ranks No. 3 in the nation in total tackles per game (13.0). Hawaii’s own Darius Muasau isn’t far behind at No. 10 (11.3).
♦ SJSU starting QB Nick Starkel is a graduate transfer with plenty of big-game experience. The well-traveled Starkel previously started five games for Texas A&M (2017) and five at Arkansas (2019). Against New Mexico this season, Starkel threw for 467 yards and 5 TDs.
♦ TRIVIA: The Spartans football team served with the Honolulu Police Department during the early days of World War II. The team was in Honolulu to play a postseason bowl game against Hawaii when Japan forces attacked Pearl Harbor. The Spartans were stranded in Hawaii for several weeks after the attack, and players were enlisted by HPD to help improve island defenses against a possible follow-up attack. They were also used to guard military bases on the island.
# # #