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Hawaii vs. Washington Game Preview: Warriors looks to rebound from rough 2013

After nearly going winless last season, Hawaii looks to get off to a better start in 2014 this weekend against new head coach Chris Petersen and the Washington Huskies

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Week 1: Hawaii Warriors vs. #25 Washington Huskies

When: Saturday, August 30th -- 10:30 PM EST

Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii

2013 Season: Hawaii 1-11 (0-8 MWC), Washington 9-4 (5-3 Pac-12)

TV: CBS Sports Network

Radio: Hawaii's ESPN affiliate 1420 AM will broadcast the game. The Washington IMG College Network, with its flagship station KOMO AM-1000 and FM-97.7 will also broadcast the game. You can also catch the game on Sirius 113 or XM 198 satellite radio.

History: This is the 5th meeting between the schools, the series is currently tied at 2-2. Last played in 2007, Hawaii won 35-28.

Web: HawaiiAthletics.com, GoHuskies.com

After a 1-11 finish in 2013, Norm Chow and Hawaii will look to climb out of the Mountain West cellar and possibly back into bowl contention this fall. The Warriors return 13 starters on offense and defense when the open the season August 30th at Aloha Stadium against the Washington Huskies, the first of three Pac-12 Opponents the Warriors will take on in 2014.

What to watch - Hawaii: On offense, the number one this guy this year will be Senior RB Joey Iosefa. He was the #1 back in 2011, but injuries have hindered him the past two seasons, causing him to miss eleven games his Sophomore and Junior years at Hawaii. When healthy, however, he's the best offensive weapon the Warriors have. He missed most of 2013 with a foot injury, but was able to return for the last four games of the season, rushing for 586 yards and five TDs. If he stays 100% this year, he should be UH's first 1,000 yard rusher since 2010. ​Keep an eye on Sophomore QB Ikaika Woolsey as well. He won the starting job a few weeks ago and looks to improve on his forgettable freshman year. He started two games for Hawaii, (who used four starting QBs last year), finishing 11-29 for 143 yards and three picks. Out of all the available quarterbacks, Woolsey is definitely the most athletic, and could get his number called several times on Saturday.

Defensively, Beau Yap is the biggest star the Warriors have in the front seven. He lead Hawaii in both TFL and Sacks last year and will make a big impact on the rush defense this year. UCLA transfer Jeremy Castro will be big at LB this year too, joining an athletic front seven that could push Hawaii up the MWC ladder. The 'Bows are also switching to a 3-4 Hybrid defense with former Utah State DC Kevin Clure joining the staff this year. This will give guys like Beau Yap to move through a couple positions in the front seven, possibly to linebacker!

Norm Chow's mantra that he has been preaching this offseason is "Finish", and the Warriors failed to do that on multiple occasions in 2013, losing five games by a touchdown or less. I truly think Hawaii will be able to finish this year. A solid offensive line with an athletic backfield who can rumble their way through the front seven at a moment's notice. While the wide receiver group is really thin, there could be a few bright spots this year. UH's front seven will be interesting to watch as well, especially with the scheme change this year.

What to watch - Washington: Losing stars like Keith Price, All-American Bishop Sankey, and Mackey Award winner Austin Seferian-Jenkins will have its' effect on the Huskies offensive production in 2014, but the seven returning Offensive starters, including an Offensive Line that has combined for 124 career starts (5th in FBS this year), should be able to score the ball for the Huskies efficiently.

Seven starters are back for new Defensive Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski, who followed Petersen from Boise State after four years heading up the Broncos Defense, including Hau'oli Kikaha, Shaq Thompson, and Marcus Peters. The Huskies Front Seven is loaded with experience and size, but the secondary has questions with the inexperience surrounding it.

Key Match-up: OL Ben Clarke vs. DL Hau'oli Kikaha: Clarke, a junior from Littleton, CO, is a two-time all-Mountain West honorable mention selection. He started all 24 games of his career at center but will transition to left tackle this season.

After missing the final nine games of 2011, and all of 2012 due to injury, Kikaha returned with a breakout 2013 where he finished among the Top 5 in sacks and landed a spot on the All-Pac-12 Second Team Defense. Now back for his Senior year, and moved from Defensive End to Outside Linebacker, the returning sacks leader in the nation will look to improve off his performance last year and lead the Huskies Defense this fall.

Prediction: While Hawaii returns almost as many starters as the Huskies, Washington's front seven should cause problems on the front line and make it difficult for guys like Joey Iosefa to get anything going for the Warriors run game. A young QB in Ikaika Woolsey could be easy pickings for Marcus Peters and the Huskies secondary if he gets rattled early on. Only six defensive starters are back for the Warriors, so if Jeff Lindquist and the Huskies offense make big plays, and can make them often, it's Washington's game to lose. Washington 42, Hawaii 17

For more on Washington before kickoff, check out SB Nation's Washington blog, UW Dawg Pound.