HAWAII VS. DUQUESNE
Location: Honolulu, Hawaii (Clarence T.C. Ching Complex)
Date/Time: Saturday, September 17th 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: This will be the second time the two programs have faced each other, Hawaii winning the 2018 contest 42-21 at Aloha Stadium.
Three things to look for:
1. If not now, when?
I will not belabor the obvious, but it’s been a rather brutal beginning to the 2022 season for Hawaii football and its fans. Really, there’s an argument to be made it’s the toughest start in program history. Three consecutive beatdowns. Hawaii outclassed in all three.
It’s become abundantly clear that this is a rebuilding season for Hawaii. Some fans are jumping all over Timmy Chang and his coaching staff. Sure, there is some culpability in all of this for the coaches, but really this awful start shouldn’t be a total shock. A mediocre team from 2021 lost nearly, if not all of its best players going into 2022 and my goodness do they play like it. Hawaii simply doesn’t have the horses they usually have. That’s not Chang’s fault. There have been glimpses of young talent emerging, but depth is simply not there.
Looking at the schedule, no disrespect to Duquesne, I’ll point out their strengths below, but if Hawaii cannot defeat the Dukes...who will they beat this season? Next week’s contest against New Mexico State is a chance for victory. Possibly Nevada and Wyoming? UNLV at Clarence T.C. Ching Complex? It’s hard to objectively find opportunities to win barring an enormous turnaround from this team. It’s not unfathomable to think Duquesne is last call for the 2022 Warriors. This is a must-win game.
2. Can Hawaii cut down on the turnovers?
Some things in football remain the truth no matter how many downs are played over the years: you cannot turnover the ball and expect to win consistently.
Hawaii gave Vanderbilt two freebie fumbles that were returned for touchdowns. Against Western Kentucky, the Warriors turned the ball over six times! Quarterback Brayden Schager had four interceptions, including a pick-six. Two home games, eight turnovers. Unbelievable.
Against Michigan, Hawaii finally protected the football and found some success on the ground. This week, can the Warriors open the playbook and find success without fumbling or throwing interceptions? This is an opportunity to see some growth. Quarterback Joey Yellen wasn’t amazing in Ann Arbor, but he took care of the ball and as a result I think he starts Saturday.
It sounds elementary, but it’s the truth: Hawaii absolutely must take better care of the ball on offense if they are to salvage something from the 2022 campaign.
3. Warriors must take the Dukes seriously
It’s not unusual for fans of FBS programs to overlook FCS teams. Not every FCS team is North Dakota State, most of these payday games end up being comfortable victories for the home team. Needless to say, Hawaii is in no position whatsoever to overlook Duquesne.
The Dukes opened their season with back-to-back losses, starting with at Florida State and then losing 31-14 to Youngstown State. The Dukes picked up their first victory of the season against Thomas More College this past weekend.
It’s difficult to gauge the effectiveness of the Dukes’ key players when most of their games have been against different levels of competition. Wide receivers Dwayne Menders Jr. and Abdul Janneh lead the team in receptions. DeMarcus Ware (no, not that DeMarcus Ware) and Billy Lucas lead the rushing attack, but have been stymied thus far. Quarterback Joe Mischler has also had an up-and-down beginning to the season. He was an efficient 18-for-23 against Thomas More College, but most DI quarterbacks would thrive against NAIA competition.
A pair of defensive backs leads the team in tackles, which is typically not what you want to see. The Dukes conceded 406 rushing yards to Florida State and 274 rushing yards to Youngstown State. Might this be the week to emphasize the running game? Dedrick Parson might have a big evening, but don’t rule out freshmen running backs Jordan Johnson and Tylan Hines shining as well.
On paper, most Hawaii teams would be expected to beat this team something like 52-7. Alas, this is not most Hawaii football teams.
This has been no fun. September is one of the best months of the year for football fans, but September 2022 has been a nightmare to this point for Hawaii football fans. Blowout after blowout. There is a sense of nervousness about this homecoming game against Duquesne. Losing to an FCS team isn’t an official death sentence, but it would feel like 0-12 is inevitable should the Warriors lose Saturday night. This week’s SP+ rankings have the Warriors winning by a slim margin, 35-30.
I don’t think that will happen. This will not be a June Jones-era like coast to victory for the Warriors, the Dukes will test this UH team struggling to find a successful rhythm, but I expect the defense to force a few turnovers and Dedrick Parson to lead the way on offense. Give me Rainbow Warriors 34, Dukes 23