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San Diego State vs. Hawaii 2014 game preview: Aztecs host shorthanded Rainbow Warriors

The Aztecs host the Warriors this Saturday at 7:30 at Qualcomm Stadium.

Aztecs receiver Larry Clark during SDSU's game at Fresno State
Aztecs receiver Larry Clark during SDSU's game at Fresno State
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

San Diego State (3-3, 2-1 Mountain West) is looking to get back above .500 for the first time since the beginning of the season when it takes on Hawaii (2-4, 1-0 MW) this Saturday.

SDSU is trying to start a winning streak, something it hasn't had yet this season despite the 3-3 record. The Aztecs are 2-0 at home, while the Warriors are winless in their two road games.

Here's some story lines heading into the game:


The Warriors are tough to run the ball against, boasting the 39th-best rush defense in the country giving up around 125 yards per game. But their pass defense is much more loose, giving up around 250 yards per game.

Here's how this is tough for SDSU: the Aztecs love to run the ball, but haven't been able to pass effectively.


If Hawaii's run defense stops SDSU's potent one-two punch attack of Donnel Pumphrey and Chase Price, the Aztecs could be in for some trouble.

Seeing as Nick Bawden has proved he's definitely a freshman who still has a lot to learn, and Quinn Kaehler has struggled even when he's been at 100 percent.

However, Hawaii's offense has lacked all season except in their 38-28 win over Wyoming. And the Aztecs' scoring defense is 27th in the country, giving up a little more than 20 points per game.

To make matters worse for the Warriors, running back Joey Iosefa was suspended for three games following his drunken driving arrest over the weekend. Iosefa might not be the prime workhorse for Hawaii, but his four rushing touchdowns leads the team.


Pumphrey and Price for SDSU. If those two get going, then whoever plays quarterback for SDSU won't have to throw the ball, to the relief of some fans. Pumphrey has 11 rushing touchdowns this year, good for third in the nation. His 807 rushing yards rank 11th in the country.

Hawaii quarterback Ikaika Woolsey is inconsistent with the second-worst completion percentage among qualifying quarterbacks in the nation. But last weekend's game against Wyoming he went 8-for-9 with 173 yards and two touchdowns. If he does something like that, the Aztecs will be in for a long uphill battle that might involve throwing the ball.

SDSU kicker Donny Hageman has singlehandedly solved the Aztecs' kicking problems, going 8-for-9 on field goals so far this season. If he keeps that up, it'll put a little less stress on the game for SDSU.

Woolsey and receiver Quinton Pedroza hit it off against Wyoming, with seven of Woolsey's eight completions going to Pedroza, who also caught both touchdowns. If this is indeed a new budding chemistry for the Warriors, it should create loads of problems for the Aztecs' secondary.

Prediction: SDSU 17 Hawaii 10