Utah State was able to get a big win over Colorado State last week to move to 5-2 (3-1) on the year. This week provides another big opportunity for Utah State to stay at the top of the mountain division as Utah State takes on Hawaii.
Hawaii at Utah State
Location: Logan, Utah
Line: Utah State (-5)
Date/Time: October 30th; 3:00 P.M. Eastern
Head-to-Head: Utah State leads the series 10-6 with the last Aggies win coming in 2018 in a 56-17 game. Utah State has won five straight against Hawaii dating back to 2011. Hawaii has never beaten Utah State in Mountain West play and the last time the Warriors were able to beat the Aggies was in 2010, when the Warriors beat the Aggies 45-7. It has been 11 years since the last Hawaii victory so the Warriors will certainly have motivation.
Three things to watch out for:
1. Can Logan Bonner limit his turnovers?
Against Colorado State, Utah State did a better job of limiting their turnovers, however Logan Bonner still threw an interception. Bonner has thrown an interception in every single game this season and threw two against Boise State which made the difference in that game. He doesn’t have a great touchdown to interception ratio at 13-8 so limiting the interceptions will be key to Utah State’s continued success. Hawaii is a team that can take advantage of mistakes fast so Logan Bonner cannot afford costly interceptions.
2. Can Utah State build off the win?
Utah State had struggled in close games against Boise State and BYU but was able to get close wins over UNLV and Colorado State. The Aggies have experience playing in the close game situation this year and building off last weeks close win over Colorado State will be important. Utah State is only favored by five points so this could very likely end up being a close game.
3. Third down efficiency
One key way to win close games other than not turning the ball over is to convert third downs. This was something that Utah State did not do a good job of at all last game, converting just 4 of 18 third downs. Utah State came close to losing the game to Colorado State and if they had ended up losing that game, the third down conversions would have been a big reason why. Utah State ranks 47th in the nation in third down conversion percentage, converting 43% of the third downs attempted, but those numbers have gone down recently. This is a problem that needs to be addressed if the Aggies want to continue to win.
Utah State is very much alive in the mountain division while Hawaii isn’t in great position at the moment at 1-2 in conference play. This is a must win situation for the Warriors and they have the motivation to do it as they haven’t beaten the Aggies in 11 years.
That being said, Utah State has the talent to win this game. They have the experience of playing in close games and have seemed to get back on track after their first two losses of the season. While Utah State has been better than Hawaii so far this season, the Aggies need to be careful against a Warriors team that in years past has been able to get wins they weren’t expected to get.
Score prediction: Utah State 38; Hawaii 34