RWP = Rainbow Warrior Perspective
The temperature in the football offices were warmer than usual this past week after the Warriors were completely dismantled by a poor New Mexico team. Fans on social media have been restless, furious even. Against San Jose State, the headlines were more about the Spartans than the Warriors, and frankly that was appropriate before and definitely after the game.
Hawaii was completely dominated in a 35-0 loss to the Spartans. They did nothing well, the Spartans coasted to a straightforward victory. What happened?
Another disastrous start
There are times in sports when you cannot help but look at a negative situation and think, “There’s no way this can continue to happen over and over, right?” Surely, Hawaii’s woes with dreadful starts to football games will cease at some point, correct? Well, not on Saturday night.
I kid you not, on the very first play of the game, Hawaii defensive back Cam Stone misjudged a bounce on the opening kickoff and the Spartans recovered the fumble. Stone left the game injured. The Spartans didn’t score on the drive, shockingly, but that didn’t stop the negative vibe from permeating throughout the first half.
Hawaii converted a first down on their opening drive! Progress! Unfortunately, they still punted the ball away.
On the ensuing San Jose State drive, the Hawaii defense kept the Spartans in check. The Spartans were set to punt from their own 9-yard line, except the boogeyman returned again: Hawaii couldn’t avoid a taunting penalty. The Spartans drive continued, and of course it led to a touchdown. It’s been that kind of season.
First half domination
Negative vibes aside, let’s not get it twisted: credit to San Jose State, who flatly dominated the Warriors in the first half.
Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro returned to Hawaii and was incredibly efficient in the first half at 12/17 for 177 passing yards and a touchdown pass. San Jose State was 9-for-10 on third-down conversions, back-breaking sequence after another. The Spartans outgained the Warriors 280-94. Hawaii attempted two running plays the entire half, and running back Jordan Johnson’s presence was missed (he entered the transfer portal earlier in the week). The passing game sputtered, although that seems to be their natural state at this point in the season.
It’s a tiresome and consistent tale for the 2023 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors: this team just looks totally unprepared in the first half of football games.
It didn’t get better from there
Hoping to recapture some of the second half magic from the San Diego State game, the Warriors instead watched San Jose State star running back Kairee Robinson sprint 52-yards for a touchdown. 21-0 quickly turned into 28-0, and this game was all but over.
San Jose State quarterback Chevan Cordeiro finished the game 16/26 for 251 passing yards and two touchdown passes. Hawaii was held to 198 total yards, just unfathomable. Even in its worst form, the run-and-shoot offense chews up grass in the yardage column. Not on Saturday night. Hawaii lost 35-0 and this season is lying down on the ground in cinders.
I’m sorry, Hawaii fans. It’s difficult covering a season like this, I can imagine it’s far worse to be a fan of the team enduring it. Hawaii did nothing well yesterday. Well, I suppose Matthew Shipley punted well, but otherwise Hawaii was thoroughly blown away by San Jose State.
To make matters worse, Nevada just defeated New Mexico and appears to be turning a corner. I’m afraid it’s quite possible that Hawaii has won its last game of 2023.
Things are bad, and I fear improvement cannot truly occur until the off-season. Timmy Chang and his staff need to work double time to infuse this roster with talent in the winter and spring.
Hawaii will travel to Reno, Nevada to play the Nevada Wolf Pack on Saturday, November 4th at 10:00 a.m. HST.