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Utah State Aggies Opponent Preview: Hawaii

A quick look at Utah State at Hawaii

NCAA Football: Mountain West Championship-San Diego State vs Utah State Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This is the next edition in the preview series for the Utah State Aggies football team. Each new preview covers a different opponent for the upcoming 2022 Aggies football team.

Game 10: at Hawaii

Date/Time: Saturday, November 12th at 8:59 PST

Location: Honolulu, Hawaii


Series history: Utah State leads the series against the Warriors 11-6, winning the past six games dating back to 2011. Utah State has won against the Warriors as a Mountain West member in 2013 (47-10), 2014 (35-14), 2017 (38-0), 2018 (56-17), and 2021 (51-31). None of the games have been very close, with Utah State’s wins coming by an average of 34 points, with an exception being the 35-31 win in 2011.

Players to Watch

Junior quarterback Cammon Cooper

Cooper spent four seasons at Washington State and played in six career games. He appeared in four games in 2021 and two games in 2020 and went 15 of 23 for 143 yards and rushed for 29 yards on 10 attempts. While he hasn’t had a ton of playing time, he has had time to build up experience and should be ready to go for Hawaii.

Senior running back Ronson Young

Ronson Young arrived to Hawaii from Pima Community College. In two years he appeared in 17 career games and caught 60 passes for 686 yards and four touchdowns as a sophomore. Young played in seven games on special teams last season but is available should the Warriors need more depth.

Senior running back Dedrick Parson

Dedrick Parson appeared in 13 games for Hawaii last season and was the teams second leading rusher, going for 618 yards on 118 carries. He was tied with the team lead with eight rushing touchdowns and averaged 5.2 yards per carry. Parson made 28 receptions for 279 yards and scored a touchdown. He has a lot of experience and should be the starting running back for the Warriors.

Senior wide receiver Zion Bowens

Zion Bowens played in 13 games in 2021, starting the final three. He registered 257 receiving yards and a touchdown and averaged 21.4 yards per catch. Four of his catches were for 20 yards or more so Hawaii could benefit from using him as a deeper threat.

Junior wide receiver Jonah Panoke

Jonah Panoke missed the first three games of 2021 with injury but returned in the fourth game against San Jose State. Panoke played in the final 10 games and recorded 11 receptions for 126 yards.

In 2020, Panoke appeared in all four games and had 11 catches for 95 yards.

Senior tight end Caleb Phillips

Phillips played in 13 games this past season, starting 12 games at tight end. He made 17 receptions for 89 yards and had a pair of touchdowns. He transferred to Hawaii in 2021 from Stanford and should be a factor as Hawaii looks to replace receivers.

Veterans Ilm Manning, Solo Vaipulu

These are two veteran offensive lineman that should make a difference for the Warriors next season, producing holes in the running game and protecting the quarterback from pressure.

Senior defensive lineman Blessman Ta’ala

Ta’ala is the only defensive lineman back this year with more than four tackles on the team from last year. Ta’ala made four starts in 13 games and had 30 total tackles and two tackles for loss. He has been consistent for the Warriors over the past three years and will need to build his leadership abilities this year.

Senior defensive lineman Mataio Soli

Mataio Soli spent three seasons at Arkansas and made 31 tackles, three tackles for loss, half a sack, and a fumble recovery through 33 games. He provides much needed experience for the Warriors and should be playing alongside Ta’ala.

Senior linebacker Penei Pavihi

Penei Pavihi started all twelve games he was in last season and had a solid year with 47 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and a sack in addition to making a pass deflection and a fumble recovery.

In 2020, Pavihi played in nine games with four starts, making 16 tackles and four tackles for loss in in addition to 1.5 sacks and two quarterback hurries.

Senior linebacker Isaiah Tufaga

Isaiah Tufaga, like Penei Pavihi, also had a productive season. He played in 13 games and earned two starts while making 35 tackles and two sacks. He recorded a season high six tackles against New Mexico State and registered back to back sacks against San Diego State and UNLV.

Senior cornerback Hugh Nelson II

After spending three seasons with the University of Georgia, Nelson II transferred to Hawaii prior to the 2021 season. He played in all 13 games and made six starts at cornerback, registering 19 tackles, two interceptions, and six pass breakups.

Junior cornerback Jojo Forest

Forest spent two seasons against Oregon State and appeared in 10 games total in 2019 as he opted out of the 2020 season and sat out the 2021 season as a transfer. He made 25 tackles in his career and half a tackle for loss.

Junior cornerback Virdel Edwards II

Edwards II previously spent two seasons at Iowa State and played in seven games, including two in 2021 and five in 2020. He was ranked as a top 115 safety by ESPN and should provide depth to a defensive back room that loses seven players with starting experience.


This is a game that Utah State needs to watch out for. The game is happening in Honolulu, and it is always more difficult to play Hawaii at home.

Hawaii has a lot of talent at the quarterback position this year which could make them a dangerous team to deal with in the passing game. This is a game where Utah State’s secondary needs to be ready. The offensive line also also expected to be pretty good so Utah State will also need to be able to get pressure up front.

Defensively, the Warriors do have a lot of talent to replace on the defensive line and will also need to find more depth at quarterback. Ultimately what this comes down to for Utah State is can the Aggies stop Hawaii’s quarterback and keep their own offense moving. This should be a close game early that Utah State pulls away in late.