Week 9: Hawaii Warriors vs. Nevada Wolfpack
When: Sunday, October 26 -- 12:00 AM EST
Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
2014 Season: Hawaii (2-5, 1-1 MWC), Nevada (4-3, 1-2 MWC)
We're past the midway point of the 2014 season, and the heat on Norm Chow's job at Hawaii continues to increase.
Last week's 20-10 loss to San Diego State brings Coach Chow's career record at UH to 6-25, a winning percentage of .194 since 2012. It's looking more and more likely that Hawaii will be in the market for a new head coach come this winter. The rest of the schedule presents only a few winnable games, and the need for an upset or two if Chow wants keep his job.
The first game with a chance of a Hawaii upset is Nevada. Three keys to a Warriors win over the Wolfpack:
Score Early and Often
Obviously, the offense has had its' share of struggles in moving the ball. Some games, Punter Scott Harding would move the ball better than the offense. QB Ikaika Woolsey has been inconsistent this season in moving the ball, but he has had several moments of greatness where he would look accurate and effective in his throws. Other times, he would show that inexperience and youth and try to make a quick decision that more likely than not is over/underthrown. It starts with Woolsey, if he's effective, the offense can score and keep up with this high-speed Wolfpack offense. If not, the 'Bows will find themselves in a whole early.
Contain Cody Fajardo
Fajardo is probably the most athletic quarterback the 'Bows will have faced so far this season, with 2,000 all purpose yards and 20 touchdowns to his name, he can hurt you through the air and on the ground. Despite giving up big numbers to Donnel Pumphrey last week vs. San Diego State, the Hawaii rush defense has played above expectations this year, and should do well in holding Fajardo to a big performance on the ground. However, the concern always falls on the secondary. The short passes seem to be given up to easily on 3rd down situations, and that has killed the Warriors on defense. If the front seven creates pressure early, they can set a tone and cause trouble for the Wolfpack offense early.
Someone needs to step up at RB
Joey Iosefa isn't walking through that locker room door until the second week of November I'm afraid.
So someone needs to step up and play very good at RB if the Warriors want any balance on offense this year. What made the Warriors so good against UW at the beginning of the season was how effectively they balance the passing attack with Iosefa's run game throughout. Although they lost, it still kept UH in the game behind Iosefa and Woolsey's play. Since his injury, we've seen both Steven Lakalaka and Diocemy Saint-Juste take reps out of the backfield, and both have shown some greatness, but not consistently. One will need to have a big performance against the Wolfpack if the 'Bows have any hope for an upset.
Hawaii will pull off an upset to end their season in their last string of games, but unfortunately, I don't think it'll happen tonight against the Wolfpack. Nevada 38, Hawaii 20