Week 7: San Diego State Aztecs vs. Hawaii Warriors
When: Saturday, October 18 -- 10:30 PM EST
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
2014 Season: San Diego State (3-3, 2-1 MWC), Hawaii (2-4, 1-0 MWC)
Radio: Hawaii's ESPN affiliate 1420 AM will broadcast the game; San Diego State will broadcast the game on The Mighty 1090 and The Max 105.7 FM.
TV: CBS Sports Network
Web: Hawaiiathletics.com, GoAztrecs.com
All hail your division leading Hawaii Warriors!
Ikaika Woolsey came in to the second half of the Hawaii-Wyoming game and lead the 'Bows to a comeback victory for the first conference win since 2012, 38-28 over the 'Pokes. Even in victory, the Warriors lost another veteran to injury this season, with Taylor Graham injuring his football at the end of the first half, and has season-ending surgery monday. So now, quarterback depth is added to the list of future concerns this year. Alongside troubles at quarterback, the suspension of Joey Iosefa and Steven Lakalaka's concussion stretches the group of running backs with carries pretty thin. Everything's coming up Hawaii! The 'Bows are off to San Diego this weekend to take on the Aztecs, in hopes of adding to their West division lead. Three keys to a Warriors upset over SDSU:
Stop Donnel Pumphrey early and often
Pumphrey is emerging into a full fledged star at SDSU. The Sophomore has already topped his 2013 mark with 807 yards and 11 TDs through the first six games, taking the Aztecs to 26th in the nation in rushing. On the flip side of that coin is the Hawaii Rush Defense, which ranks in the top 40 in rush defense this year. The new 3-4 look from DC Kevin Clure has brought out the best in Kennedy Tulimasealii and TJ Taimatuia, who have combined for 11 tackles for loss and 34 tackles this year. There's no doubt Pumphrey is the biggest test so far for UH, and if they can contain him early, the 'Bows have a very good shot to stay in this game.
We need to see the same Ikaika Woolsey we saw last week
This season, Woolsey has been more Mr. Hyde than Dr. Jekyll. We've seen two sides to his play this year: the accurate, effective play during the majority of the Washington and Wyoming game, and the drive-killing, inaccurate play during the rest of the season.
With both Jeremy Higgins and Taylor Graham's seasons coming to an end due to injury, all the quarterback duties will fall on Woolsey for the rest of the year. If Woolsey can't drive the offense forward, Norm Chow will have to resort to two true freshmen with no college starts under their belt to guide this team. Which at that point, it's a crap shoot. Either Woolsey steps up and takes control of this offense, or we'll see more struggles the rest of the year.
Utiliza Diocemy Saint-Juste more in the offense
Joey Iosefa is suspended till November, and Steven Lakalaka's status is unknown with a concussion suffered against Wyoming. So with potentially both missing time against SDSU, who fills the void at RB? That would be Diocemy Saint-Juste.
The sophomore stepped in for Lakalaka last week against Wyoming, rushing for a game-high 135 yards and a score, 78 those came in the final quarter of the 'Bows 38-28 win. Saint Juste isn't as big of an RB as Iosefa or Lakalaka, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in speed around the edge and through the line.
The sophomore will get a lot more touches in Iosefa's absence, and make a significant offensive impact for UH going forward.
This game will put someone in the driver's seat in the West Division this year. Hawaii surprised several people, including myself, with their comeback win over Wyoming, but the San Diego State offense is just a little better than Wyoming (No offense 'Pokes). Not sure the 'Bows will be able to keep up even with their good front seven. San Diego State 42, Hawaii 21