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GAMEDAY!!! Hawaii takes on the UC Davis Aggies

Previewing the matchup with everything you need to know about today's game.

Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo

Gameday Info:

UC Davis Aggies (0-2) @ Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (1-1) 5:59 PM HST, Aloha Stadium

TV: Hawaii: Oceanic Pay-Per-View (Digital Ch. 255 and HD Ch. 1255); Hawaiian Telcom Pay-Per-View (Ch. 969)

Radio: KKEA ESPN 1420 (Honolulu), KNUI 550AM (Maui), KHLO 850AM (Hilo), KKON 790AM (Kona), KTOH 99.9FM (Kauai), KNWJ 104.7FM  (A. Samoa), XM Radio 203 and Sirius Radio 93.

Streaming: (Outside of Hawaii only)

Webcast: ESPN 1420 AM

Gameday Tidbits:

  • Last week the Hawaii defense was the first team to hold Ohio State under 40 points since November 2014 and first team to hold them under 400 yards of offense since October 2014.
  • In their last game, UH held the Aggies below 200 yards of offense, shutting them out the entire first half.
  • Saturday will be the second match-up between the two schools. The Bows lead the series against the Big Sky member (1-0) with their last and only match-up resulting in a 56-14 win in 2011.
  • UH has won 12 of its last 13 games versus FCS teams, outscoring them by 389 points over that span. They have also gone 11-2 all time against Big Sky opponents. Their last loss dates back to 2000 against Portland State (20-45).
  • Hawaii offensive coordinator Don Bailey and special teams coordinator Jake Cookus both coached in the Big Sky conference prior to coming to UH. The two have a combined record of 2-2 versus the Aggies.

Injury Report:

Hawaii: QUESTIONABLE: Luke Shawley (DE), Quinton Pedroza (WR), Trayvon Henderson (S). PROBABLE: Ben Clark (LT), Julian Gener (LB).

UC Davis: N/A

Team Leaders:

Passing: Max Wittek (Hawaii): 26-62, 269 yards, 3 TD, 4 INT; Ben Scott (UC Davis): 52-85, 472 yards, 2 TD, 3 INT

Rushing: Paul Harris (Hawaii): 31 carries, 114 yards, 0 TD; Manusamoa Luuga (UC Davis): 23 carries, 66 yards, 1 TD

Receiving: Marcus Kemp (Hawaii): 7 receptions, 119 yards, 1 TD; Chris Martin (UC Davis): 8 receptions, 159 yards, 1 TD

Tackles: Marrell Jackson (Hawaii): 16 (10 solo) tackles; Brady Stibi (UC Davis): 11 (8 solo) tackles

Sacks: Luke Shawley (Hawaii): 1.5 sacks; Kyle DeVaughn (UC Davis): 1 sack

Interceptions: Julian Gener (Hawaii): 1 interception; Patrick Wells (UC Davis): 1 interception

Names to Know:

Hawaii: (QB) Max Wittek, (RB) Paul Harris, (WR) Marcus Kemp, (DT) Kennedy Tulimasealii, (S) Marrell Jackson

UC Davis: (QB) Ben Scott, (RB) Manusamoa Luuga, (WR) Chris Martin, (DE) Kyle DeVaughn, (S) Keleen Culberson

The Depth Chart:

If we've learned anything from football its that the depth charts given to the public mean nothing. Game plans and lineups are always fluid even throughout the game. However for your viewing pleasure:

Hawaii Depth Chart (see page 16)

UC Davis Depth Chart

Key Matchups:

The Hawaii Offense vs. The Hawaii Offense: Nope, you read that right. Putting the team that the Rainbow Warriors are playing aside. Right now the biggest obstacle that the team faces is themselves. They have been shoddy at best with their execution on offense and must right the ship soon. The defense carried the team through three quarters only to be let down by their other half who got shut out. While the old adage says that defense wins championships, defenses can't win on their own. Defensive touchdowns are very rare and the offense must come out to play (the sun is finally out after all). The line must protect Max Wittek. The receivers must get open and catch the ball. Finally, as a unit they must limit their turnovers. No more shooting themselves in the foot.

Hawaii Offense vs. the UC Davis Defense: Defensive lineman Kyle DeVaughn and star safety Keleen Culberson will lead the defensive effort against the struggling Hawaii offense. DeVaughn led the team in sacks, was second in tackles for loss and had a blocked kick in 2014. Culberson was a breakout star in 2014 leading the team in tackles but also tallying stats in sacks, recovered fumbles, interceptions and pass-breakups. Both players will need to be accounted for each time the offense takes the field.

Hawaii vs. the Let Down: Coming off an emotionally charged game against the #1 team in the nation there will most certainly be a let down. What makes things worse is that the team will not be playing a fellow FBS team. They will be playing an FCS team. The coaching staff has done their part to prevent the team from overlooking UC Davis. It is now in the hands of the player to go out get this win.

Its also important to note that the Aggies played rather well in the season opener against Nevada. The final score was 31-17 with the Aggies making a push in the 4th quarter. Nevada was picked to finish higher in the MWC standing than Hawaii in the preseason.

The Hawaii Defense vs. The UC Davis Offense: Quarterback Ben Scott, will lead this Aggie offense into Aloha Stadium. This offense will be prepared to take on the Hawaii defense. Coming into the season Scott's favorite target was Ramon Vargas. Vargas totaled  665 yards on 41 receptions with 8 touchdowns in 6 games during 2014 but is only averaging 15 yards per game this season.

A new man has emerged early in the season for the Aggies. Chris Martin coming fresh off of a career game totaling 121 yards on 5 receptions with touchdown. That game alone eclipsed his career totals at UC Davis and put atop the team for the lead in receiving yards. The secondary that helped stop the vaunted Ohio State offense for three quarters will need to be aware of Scott and his two receivers. Nick Nelson who is tied for the league lead in pass breakups will need to continue to lead the secondary in the coverage efforts. While Luke Shawley and Kennedy Tulimasealii will provide a solid front that already has 6 sacks on the season. That is 25% of the team's season total in 2014.

In addition to the receivers the team has replaced 2013-2014 team leader in rushing yards, Gabe Manzanares with an effective trio in the backfield. Manusamoa Luuga gets the most touches out of the three and has 66 rushing yards but also adds 62 receiving yards to the mix. Coach Ron Gould has a preference towards the run but is no fool and has been using his diverse runningback in the passing game, hauling in a team leading 13 receptions on the year. The deep linebacker corps will not only need to worry about his rushing but keep an eye out for when Luuga decides to slip out for a quick pass.

Bottom Line:

Coming off of a rather disappointing game against Ohio State the Rainbow Warrior offense will come out of the gates slow. It's hard for me to imagine the team can instantly flip a switch on offense and instantly become a juggernaut. It will take time for this team to get things going offensively. The defense and special teams will highlight the 1st half much like the game UH played against Northern Iowa last year.

However the main difference between this team and last year's will come from the quarterback position. Out of half time, the Bows will strike hard and fast with Max Wittek leading them to a spectacular half through the air. Melvin Davis will get a goal line punch in and by the end of the game the offense will look better by leaps and bounds. The defense will continue its aggressive nature and continue to attack the Aggie offense throughout.

With any matchup against an FCS team comes a slight emotional let down. The team will look much improved and the final score will mirror close to what the box score said in 2011; 47-13 Bows.

Follow us on Twitter for panic attacks if everything falls apart.

Also check out why this game may be the most important game of the season for the Rainbow Warriors here.

Stats and info courtesy of the University of Hawaii and UC Davis Media Guides.