When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
TV Broadcast: CBSSN
The Aztecs have suffered one loss this season, at South Alabama, 42-24, on Oct. 1. SDSU has since gone undefeated in conference against UNLV, Fresno State, San Jose State and Utah State. Last week’s 40-13 win over the Aggies saw the Aztecs fall behind early before seizing the lead with 40 straight points for the dominant win.
Nick Rolovich’s team has had its ups and downs. Hawaii (4-5) has rallied to win three of its last five games after beginning the season at 1-3. The Rainbow Warriors picked up wins over Nevada, San Jose State and Air Force. However, they took a loss at home last week to New Mexico, 28-21.
The all-time series between San Diego State and Hawaii is 19-9-2, favoring the Aztecs. They’ve won the last four games straight over the Rainbow Warriors, including last season’s 28-14 victory in Honolulu.
Last week’s win over Utah State involved another dominant performance by Donnel Pumphrey. The Aztecs’ star tailback burst for 223 rushing yards on 32 runs. It was even more impressive considering that Pumphrey sat out during the entire fourth quarter! He never found the end zone. Juwan Washington took care of that, though. He picked up 137 rushing yards and two touchdowns for San Diego State on 14 rushing attempts. Not bad at all, and an indicator that SDSU has running back talent stacked up even behind Rashaad Penny.
It was not a passing game, and considering the weather (pouring down rain), Christian Chapman wasn’t pushed to the limits, but got his job done. Chapman completed 4-of-9 passes for 14 yards and a touchdown. Rocky Long didn’t need him to do a lot with the backs getting the job done. Chapman’s lone touchdown throw went to Quest Truxton for 10 yards. Chapman’s other three completions all went to separate players.
Rolovich leaned more on Dru Brown than Long did on Chapman during Hawaii’s last game. Brown completed on 16-of-28 throws for 173 yards. He lit up Marcus Kemp (eight times for 89 yards), and and completed to John Ursua five times for 44 yards. Keelan Ewaliko provided 31 receiving yards on just two catches.
On the ground, Diocemy Saint Juste rushed for 77 yards on 17 carries bud did not cross the end zone. Steven Lakalaka, however, scored Hawaii’s final touchdown with a four-yard run in the fourth quarter against New Mexico. Lakalaka finished with 23 rush yards on nine carries, and Paul Harris added 12 yards on five attempts.
Offense: San Diego State – Pumphrey is a monster, and SDSU’s offensive line is garnering more attention for making Donnel’s job easier.
Defense: San Diego State – The Aztecs are No. 5 in the nation in defense, allowing 280.5 yards per game. Hawaii gives up 460.3 yards per game (No. 110).
Special Teams: Hawaii – Rigoberto Sanchez has yet to miss a field goal, and Paul Harris is a stellar kick returner.
Coaching: San Diego State – Long’s Aztecs are the defending conference champs, and Long’s team of coaches are highly talented.
Watch For It
San Diego State running game vs. Hawaii running game
Pumphrey and Washington are coming off huge games on the ground, and the Rainbow Warriors really didn’t do a whole lot in the running game last time out. Lakalaka, Harris and Saint Juste have to split carries to dupe the Aztecs to garner offensive momentum.
San Diego State vs. Hawaii Prediction
Pumphrey will far exceed 100 rushing yards. Hawaii won’t be as effective running the ball, and the Rainbow Warriors will be down at halftime. The Aztecs will separate themselves even more in the second half to pick up the win.
San Diego State vs. Hawaii Score Prediction: San Diego State 35, Hawaii 17