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The Rainbow Warriors look to pounce on the Wildcats in Tuscon

Hawaii will look to build on their first win in the 2016 season as they take on the Arizona Wildcats

Hawaii v Michigan Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Gameday Info:

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (1-2) vs Arizona Wildcats (1-1)

September 17, 2016 at 4:45 PM HST, Arizona Stadium, Tuscon, Arizona

TV: Pac-12 Network, Hawaiian Telcom PPV

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

Web Audio-Cast: ESPN 1420 AM

Web Video-Streaming: PAC-12 app

Spread: +25 Hawaii

Over/Under: 64

Gameday Tidbits:

  • This game will be the fifth meeting between the University of Hawaii and the University of Arizona but only their second in Tuscon. UA is leading the series 4-0.
  • The last game between the two schools were in Tuscon, UH lost 57-7 way back in 1952.
  • The Rainbow Warriors are 2-8 against PAC-12 teams in their last 10 meetings. They are 30-59 all-time against current PAC-12 members.
  • Hawaii has lost its last 12 non-conference road games with their last win coming in 2010 against Army.
  • Based on SBNation’s Bill Connelly S&P+ projections, UH has a 15% chance to win the game.

Roster Report:

Hawaii: Questionable: Devan Stubblefield (WR); Out for Season: Melvin Davis (RB).

Arizona: Questionable: Nate Phillips (WR), Sammy Morrison (CB), Tellas Jones (S); Doubtful: Anu Solomon (QB); OUT: Jamadre Cobb (LB); Out for Season: Brion Anduze (TE); HALF GAME SUSPENSION: Cody Ippolito (LB); Suspended: Keenan Walker (OL), Orlando Bradford (RB).

2016 Team Leaders:

Passing: Ikaika Woolsey (Hawaii): 33-65, 527 yards, 5 TD, 5 INT; Anu Solomon (Arizona): 20-32, 213 yards, 0 TD, 2 INT

Rushing: Diocemy Saint Juste (Hawaii): 42 carries, 225 yards, 2 TD; Nick Wilson (Arizona): 41 carries, 254 yards, 3 TD

Receiving: Marcus Kemp (Hawaii): 12 receptions, 272 yards, 4 TD; Trey Griffey (Arizona): 8 receptions, 140 yards, 1 TD

Tackles: Jalen Rogers (Hawaii): 23 (18 solo) tackles; Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles (Arizona): 13 (10 solo) tackles

Sacks: Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea (Hawaii): 2.0 sacks; Parker Zellers (Arizona): 2.0 sacks

Pass Breakup: Jalen Rogers (Hawaii): 2 PBU; DaVonte’ Neal (Arizona): 2 PBU

Interceptions: Jalen Rogers (Hawaii): 1 INT; Jace Whittaker (Arizona): 1 INT

Names to Know:

Hawaii: (QB) Ikaika Woolsey, (RB) Diocemy Saint Juste, (WR) Marcus Kemp, (DE) Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea, (LB) Jahlani Tavai, (DB) Jalen Rogers

Arizona: (QB) Brandon Dawkins, (RB) Nick Wilson, (WR) Nate Phillips, (DL) Parker Zellers, (LB) Parker Magloire Jr., (CB) Dane Cruikshank

For the Hawaii depth chart click here and go to page 9.

For the Arizona depth chart click here and go to page 12.

Keys to the Game:

In the 2016 season, the Arizona Wildcats have two clear strengths: their run game and their defensive line’s ability to create havoc.

Wildcats run they don’t fly. The Arizona Wildcats are driven on offense by their star running back Nick Wilson. He is responsible for over 32.9% of the team’s offense. Trey Griffey has the next highest percentage of the team’s yardage at 18.1%. When it seems that UA has struggled to move the ball this year, they’ve deviated from the run game. Even their scoring is heavily reliant on the run game, where 5 out of their 6 offensive touchdowns have come from runs.

The Rainbow Warriors need to also watch Brandon Dawkins. In the one game that Anu Solomon has been sidelined, Dawkins has stepped in and contributed 97 rushing yards.

The Rainbow Warriors must bottle up this run game and force the Wildcats to pass the ball. Hawaii got pushed around on the ground against UT Martin and can ill-afford to do that against a Power-5 school.

Ball Security (sorry nothing clever there). I know that I sound like a broken record but this team needs to take care of the ball. So far, they have turned the ball over 8 times which is second worst amongst all FBS schools.

Last week Grambling State (an FCS team) was killing Arizona (14-3 and marching to make it 21-3) until their starting quarterback, DeVante Kincade, got hurt. Not long after that, their backup Trevor Cherry came in and the turnover bug bit GSU hard. They gave up 6 turnovers by the end of the game; none while Kincade was in, which spanned nearly half the game.

The sheer number of turnovers masked an overall poor performance defensively. It also single handedly spurred the Wildcat comeback. The Wildcat defense struggled to contain BYU’s rush attach and followed that by getting torched by Grambing State’s pass attack. Arizona's defense is far from a finished product and their inconsistent performance in a matter of one week showed that. If Ikaika Woolsey and the Rainbow Warrior offense can take care of the ball they should have a damn good chance to win.

Bottom Line:

This game smells like it could be an upset. I’ll be honest, I said that when the team played Cal but I think Arizona has deficiencies that can give us UH fans hope.

Both UH and UA played FCS teams last week and barely squeaked out a win. Grambling State is better than UT Martin so by the transitive property Arizona is better than UH. Yes, that is probably correct but that doesn’t stop lesser teams from winning.

Of course for a team with lesser talent they must play a clean game. The Rainbow Warriors have already improved in the discipline department and have been working on their tackling.

Hawaii will have some worries with the defensive line play of Arizona but the position is shallow. The 'Bows will be able to take advantage when the starters get tired. The Wildcats have inconsistencies on the back seven and that will provide openings for the offense to take advantage of.

On the other side of the ball, the Wildcat offensive line has been spotty. Creative blitzes will be on short order for Kevin Lempa’s squad. If Brandon Dawkins starts out tentative like last week, the defense will need to pounce. Creating a hostile environment early in his first career start could break their offense. Since UA’s offense is structured around the run a large comeback will be tough to do.

In the end, I think Hawaii will come close but a late turnover will seal their fate. Both teams will start out slow on offense and that will only hurt UH's chances of winning. The final score will be, 17-24 Arizona. Diocemy Saint Juste will continue to impress with over 100 total yards. Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea will shine in his return to Tuscon making multiple tackles for loss while adding a sack.

This game will be a good launching pad for the Rainbow Warriors as they head into conference play next week against Nevada. Expect this team to continue to improve as the season goes on. Stay tuned for more as we continue our coverage of Rainbow Warrior Football.

Follow Bryan (@bryanmdoyle), Dylan (@_fox67) and myself (@warriorboutit) on twitter for more info.

Stats and info courtesy of the University of Hawaii and the University of Arizona football programs.