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Oregon State vs. Hawaii: Three things to look for, Prediction

After upsetting Arizona in the Week 0 opener, the Warriors turn their attention to a consecutive Pac-12 foe

NCAA Football: Hawaii Bowl-Louisiana Tech vs Hawaii Steven Erler-USA TODAY Sports

OREGON ST. VS. HAWAII

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii (Aloha Stadium)

Date/Time: Saturday, September 7th at 6:00 p.m. (Hawaii Time)

Television: Spectrum Sports (PPV in the islands only, so no TV channel for mainlanders)

Streaming: Facebook...somehow. “Facebook Watch” is listed on Oregon State’s website, nothing specific on Hawaii’s website. Neither explain exactly how to watch, I assume a link will be there? I’ll update this post at the very bottom of the page if I get clarification.

Radio: ESPN Honolulu

Head-to-Head: Oregon State leads the series 7-3, having won all four of the contests played in this millennium. Last meeting was in 2014, in which the Beavers came to Honolulu and won 38-30. Hawaii’s last victory vs. Oregon State came in 1999, a 23-17 win in the 1999 Oahu Bowl that capped off UH’s miraculous 9-4 season that followed the dreadful 0-12 1998 season.

Three things to look for:

1. Can Oregon State find some confidence?

You'd be a little harsh to chastise Beavers fans for having a feeling of “here we go again...” after last week’s 36-52 loss to the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Oregon State football burst onto the scene in the late 90’s when Dennis Erickson took the program to new heights. After he left, Mike Riley mostly kept the ball moving until he moved on to Nebraska in 2014. Since then, the Beavers have won 9 games from 2015-2018. Not ideal.

Former Washington offensive coordinator Jonathan Smith is tasked with the rebuild. He’s found some positives. The Beavers have weapons on offense. Wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins had 170 receiving yards on 9 catches in the opener. That is a lot. Running back Jemar Jefferson will demand Hawaii’s attention, and senior quarterback Jake Luton can make things happen when he has time to throw. Unfortunately for those offensive players, the defense hasn’t quite replicated such optimism.

Oklahoma State ran for 352 yards last Friday against the Beavers defense, and redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders was threw for 203 yards and ran for 109 himself. After Hawaii hung 595 total yards of offense on Arizona, it’s fair to wonder if the Beavers defense is also in for a long night. Can Oregon State find the confidence and tactical awareness on defense, and consistency on offense, to contain a Hawaii team on a high?

2. Will Hawaii get caught drinking their own Kool-Aid?

You’ve all seen it. After doing an admirable job of containing Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate nearly all night, Hawaii linebacker Solomon Matautia failed to capture the Wildcat quarterback near the sideline. Tate appeared to be finally making the long sprint many expected to happen several times. What Tate didn’t see was defensive end Manly Williams tracking him down from behind, a highlight played over and over again. Williams would do interviews with publications all over the United States.

Hawaii upset Arizona 45-38, and the hype train was off and running for the Rainbow Warriors.

A bye week followed in Week 1, and now Hawaii comes into this home game vs. Oregon State well-rested. That’s two weeks for fans and media to wonder: is Hawaii back? Was the Arizona victory a sign the program has returned to its run-and-shoot era glory? For the players, all of that needs to come to a halt Saturday night. Hawaii has reason to be excited, but Oregon State is a program being backed into a corner. After beating arguably a mid-tier Pac-12 team in Week 0, it’s easy to look at the bottom-dwelling Beavers and scoff at them. Hawaii would be wise to take their Saturday opposition with the utmost sincerity, for the Beavers have the offensive talent to end Hawaii’s hype train Saturday night.

3. Defense, special teams, clichés

Both teams come into this showdown with similar statistical outputs. Both offenses put up plenty of yards and points in their openers, both also conceded a bunch of yards and points. Just because it’s the low-hanging fruit doesn’t mean it’s wrong: with offense not in question, this game is going to come down to a handful of defensive and possibly special teams plays. Hawaii forced two turnovers out of the Arizona Wildcats, while conceding 6 themselves (yikes!). Oregon State and Oklahoma State, oddly enough, played in a game completely devoid of turnovers. Zero for both.

Hawaii turned the ball over like crazy vs. the Wildcats, and Oregon State will be hoping they can jar a few themselves. I also expect Oregon State to attempt to play clock-control football and keep the ball out of Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald’s hands.

Points should be plentiful at Aloha Stadium Saturday night, a turnover or two might be the difference between a thriller and a beat down.

Prediction:

I was mostly wrong about my Hawaii-Arizona prediction, so take this section with a grain of salt. I watched Oregon State and Oklahoma State duke it out at Reser Stadium. What I saw was some great individual talent wearing black and orange, er...the Oregon State kind, but a defense that could not stop anything. I think the Beavers will find some holes in the Hawaii defense, but playing against the run-and-shoot offense late at night thousands of miles away from home feels like an unlikely situation for the Beaver defense to find their groove. That said, things have rarely come so easy to Hawaii in the last, heck, decade or so? Give me Hawaii 44, Oregon State 38.