The Warriors lost a shootout against UNLV on homecoming in front of the biggest crowd at Aloha Stadium in years. The Rebels offense had their way with the Hawaii defense, who played like the did in early season blowouts against Cal, Michigan and Arizona.
Dru Brown struggled for the first time since he was named the starter over Ikaika Woolsey coming out of the bye week. One thing thats has been consistent for the ‘Bows has been the run game, they were able to rush for 229 yards and three touchdowns.
Three keys to a Hawaii victory:
Try to figure something out with the run defense. I do not know how else to say besides the Hawaii rush defense was terrible against UNLV. They missed tackles and the defensive line was manhandled. The Rebels were able to move the ball on the ground all game to setup their passing attack.
They rushed for 256 yards and three touchdowns, which is not what you want to see heading in a matchup with Air Force’s triple option attack. Air Force is ranked 11th in rushing offense averaging 275.2 yards per game, while Hawaii ranks 123rd in rush defense allowing 238.6 yards per game.
Stop big plays in the passing game. Hawaii is ranked 106th in pass defense allowing 249 yards per game, which was evident against UNLV. Dalton Sneed, the Rebels freshman QB, enter the game with only 144 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Against the Warriors defense Sneed threw for 279 yards and two touchdowns.
The pass defense also loves to give up the big play, ranking in the bottom five in the nation. A triple option attack like Air Force does not throw the ball a ton but will look to attack down the field for a big play when they do pass.
More carries for Paul Harris and Dru Brown has a bounce back game. Brown had his worst game last week, while it was still better than the other Hawaii QB’s would offer it wasn't up to the standard he set so far. He went 17 for 32, only completing 53.1% of his passes with a quarterback rating of 69.3. In his first two starts his completion percentage was above 70 in both. In his first start against Nevada he completed 83.3%, while against San Jose State he completed 72.7%. They will need him to get back on track in this game.
Paul Harris was the teams leading rusher last season with 1132 yards and six touchdowns, but has seen his time limited behind Diocemy Saint Juste. Harris finished as the leading rusher against UNLV with 7 carries for 94 yards and a touchdown and showed his big play ability with a 35 yard run. More playing time and more carries for a talented player like Harris will only help the Warriors.
The Warriors offense should be able to put up points in this game against Air Force but there are a lot of questions about Hawaii’s defense. This will be a hard game for the ‘Bows to win because they are bad against the run and miss tackles. Those two factors put the Warriors in a bad spot against a polished triple option attack. I believe that the Falcons should win this game by about 10 points.