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Keys to a Hawaii victory over BYU: win turnover battle and challenge secondary

Hawaii takes on BYU at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN.


The Hawaii Warriors are a huge 28.5 underdog against the BYU Cougars on Friday night, and that line seems to be on the high end; however, expect BYU to win this game. Not to sound too much of a downer, I will mention a few ways that Hawaii can possibly pull off the upset.

First it starts with Hawaii getting to the quarterback, and reports out of Provo are that Nelson is out which means true freshman Taysom Hill gets the nod. That should not make the outcome be any different, but the spread may be in doubt.

Hill is a similar player to Nelson, and if anyone saw how he drove the ball down the field against the Boise St. Broncos last week he is not someone who can be taken lightly. He is a smilar player as Nelson, but does not have the experience. Perhaps Hawaii can mix up their defensive coverage, which they do anyways, and then force some turnovers.

That is the next key: Win the turnover margin. Hawaii's defense is nothing special but they need to step it up and try to intercept hill and force Mike Alisa or Jamaal Williams to fumble the ball. That should give them short fields and not force the Hawaii offense to have to drive down 50 yards or more to just get a field goal.

In the same theme for field position, Hawaii needs to have a good night on kick and punt returns. Their offense will need to keep the ball moving, and attempt to penetrate the BYU defense. Their best bet is to challenge their secondary, since that is their weakest part of their defense. It is still an average group, but that is where quarterback Sean Schroeder could be successful by throwing the ball downfield.

Even if Hawaii wins the turnover margin, has good field position and moves the ball just ok. The main key is touchdowns and not field goals. Simply settling for 25-yard field goals is not going to get Hawaii the win on Friday night.