HAWAII VS. UNLV
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii (Clarence T.C. Ching Complex)
Date/Time: Saturday, November 19th at 6:00 p.m. (Hawaii Time)
Television: Spectrum Sports PPV
Streaming: The Team1Sports app is the route for mainlanders.
Radio: ESPN Honolulu
Head-to-Head: Hawaii leads this series 18-13, the series dates back to 1969. Aside from an eight-year gap from 1984-1992, UNLV has been one of the more consistent foes for Hawaii football over the years, even when the two programs weren’t in the same conference in the 2000s. UNLV won last year’s contest in Vegas 27-13, capturing the still relatively new Island Showdown Trophy.
Three things to look for:
1. Rebels have a star in the making in Doug Brumfield
It’s safe to say that the 2022 Mountain West football campaign has been an embarrassing one for the conference. The MWC was brutal in out-of-conference play and enters the final weeks of November with few teams that could genuinely be classified as “good”. As the season concludes, it’s almost time to shift to projections for next season. Fresno State’s Jake Haener, the face of the conference, will probably declare pro this upcoming winter. Who will be the face of the conference in 2023? There are a few candidates, but UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield is as good as any for the brand.
Brumfield stands at 6’5”, 225 lbs, the sophomore from Inglewood, California throws with his left hand. A unique, imposing figure. After an injury at San Jose State, Brumfield missed a month of action, and the Rebels went 0-3 in that stretch.
Brumfield has 1,610 passing yards; 9 touchdown passes and 4 interceptions on the season. He has 202 rushing yards and 6 rushing touchdowns to add to that total. When he’s healthy, UNLV is a different football team. Doug Brumfield will be a handful of a Hawaii defense that has caved in recent weeks. Expect Brumfield to be one of the stars of the Mountain West going forward.
2. One step forward, two steps back
I noted in my Three things to look for, Prediction for the Utah State matchup that Hawaii’s offense had stunk all season, and that there was no reason to expect them to find their way now. Of course, the Warriors prove me wrong and post season highs in points (34) and yards (541). Hawaii bested Utah State 541-374 in the yardage column yet walked away having lost and conceded 41 points. Why? A new problem emerged: turnovers.
Hawaii lost the turnover battle 4-0 on the evening, quarterback Brayden Schager tossing three interceptions. This isn’t the first time Schager has been careless with the ball, but it must be said that the offensive line played poorly as well. Schager was frequently having to run away from pressure.
Hawaii ran the ball all over the Aggies, 235 yards on the ground as Dedrick Parson, Tylan Hines, and Nasjzae Bryant-Lelei took turns gashing Utah State. And yet it wasn’t enough. It’s elementary, I know, but Hawaii cannot expect to upset UNLV or San Jose State to close the season turning the ball over like this. The points and yards finally showed up on the score sheet, but that turnover number needs to be mended. There needs to be a balance with aggressiveness.
3. A final sendoff for the players who stayed
I say this with no sarcasm: pat on the back to the Hawaii fans who have stuck it out and supported the team. I know the crowd at Ching Stadium was sparse on Saturday, students nowhere to be seen, but I’m going to give kudos to the people who put in the effort to support this team.
2022 has been a rollercoaster for this program. The transfer portal grants agency to the athletes, we can all agree that’s for the best, but the new mechanism that’s modernizing college football absolutely screwed Hawaii football. Head coach Timmy Chang and his staff were left to pick up the pieces with the remaining players. The summer excitement surrounding the #BRADDAHOOD created a false sense of optimism for some that was quickly snuffed out by the historic beat down losses from September.
2-9 sucks. Multiple blowout losses and frustrating close losses have made this a miserable season for players and fans, but I hope the team is serenaded with gratitude from the home fans on Senior Night. They might not be the best players, but this collection of Hawaii Warriors consists of the men who stayed. Who saw the conflict brewing, watched their teammates jump ship and yet elected to stick it out. This is the group that spawned the #BRADDAHOOD, and in time Hawaii football will be better for the camaraderie forged in 2022.
Attend Saturday night’s game if you can, Rainbow Warriors fans. The season didn’t pan out the way we preferred, but these are the Warriors who stayed, and they deserve respect.
This prediction section hasn’t been much fun this season. Hawaii has been an underdog pretty much every week, often times a double-digit underdog. This week’s game vs. UNLV is no exception.
Doug Brumfield is a star. Running backs Aidan Robbins and Courtney Reese are gashing opposition on the ground. On paper, this doesn’t appear to be the week Hawaii’s defense straightens out. It the Warriors do not win at the line of scrimmage, or contain Brumfield, it could be a long night.
...but what the hell. It’s been a long year. I’ll throw Hawaii an optimistic bone for this week. Manifest some senior night magic. Give me Warriors 31, Rebels 28.