HAWAII @ OREGON
Location: Eugene, Oregon (Autzen Stadium)
Date/Time: Saturday, September 16th at 2:00 p.m. (Hawaii Time)
Television: Pac-12 Network
Streaming: You’re going to need a cable log-in
Radio: ESPN Honolulu
Head-to-Head: This will be the first matchup between the two programs in nearly 30 years. Oregon leads the series 4-3, but Hawaii has won the last three contests, if you can believe that. The famous 1992 Rainbows, one of Hawaii’s best teams ever, beat the Ducks 24-21 in Eugene that season. Needless to say, much has changed about Oregon football since those days.
Spread: Hawaii +37.5
Three things to look for:
1. Protect Brayden Schager
Keep in mind, Hawaii has played more opposition than most FBS programs because of the Week 0 tussle against Vanderbilt, but through three weeks Hawaii has conceded 14 sacks. That’s the most in college football. Hawaii is averaging 4.67 sacks conceded per game, far too many. We knew attrition including players like offensive tackle Ilm Manning would hurt the 2023 Warriors, but it’s been more pronounced than anticipated. No disrespect to the Albany Great Danes but conceding five sacks to an FCS program is shocking.
Now, to be fair, it’s not entirely on the offensive line. There are occasions in which Schager is holding onto the ball too long. Whatever the case, Oregon’s defensive front is probably going to feast on Saturday. Nobody on Oregon’s team has more than one sack on the young season, but the talent disparity will be noticeable regardless.
2. Run the ball
This goes hand in hand with the above point. Hawaii has to weigh the costs of Saturday. The Mountain West is not looking great this fall. It’s best teams, Wyoming and Fresno State, were not flawless against FCS competition this past weekend. Hawaii has a chance to steal a conference game or two this fall, but it can’t do that if the team’s starting quarterback is injured. Schager has taken far too many hits the season.
Hawaii is floating between being a 35-38-point underdog. Let’s be real, the chances of the Warriors shocking the Oregon Ducks are not reasonable. There are other goals to attain in the coming months. Give Nasjzae Bryant-Lelei, Jordan Johnson, and Tylan Hines the ball. Kill clock, minimize risk and live to play another day. Oregon is incredibly likely to beat Hawaii on Saturday. Do not let them beat Hawaii multiple times in the weeks after.
3. Oregon is awesome
The Ducks return to Eugene after defeating Texas Tech in Lubbock. Why are the Ducks overwhelming favorites to defeat Hawaii? Heisman trophy candidate Bo Nix is an obvious answer. The former #1 QB recruit in the country has revived his career in Oregon and has dazzled for the Ducks. He’s completing 77% of his passes through two weeks.
Wide receiver Troy Franklin is his favorite target, Frankling has 209 receiving yards on the season. The Ducks are stacked with 5-star and 4-star talent across the board. There is no shame in losing big on Saturday, this Oregon team will be in contention for a major bowl game this season.
For more on the 2023 Ducks, give our Q&A with Tristan Holmes from Addicted To Quack a read.
On paper, Albany appeared to be a stiffer test for Hawaii than fans would have hoped for. That proved true, but thankfully Hawaii made the necessary plays and earned a must-win victory at home. This week the goal is obvious: to fund Hawaii athletics. One does not volunteer to get destroyed, these “buy games” are necessary for a Hawaii program in need of cash. That’s the true purpose here.
One key figure that will not be playing with the Warriors in Eugene is stud and defensive captain linebacker Logan Taylor, who was revealed on Tuesday to have torn his ACL against Albany. A devastating blow to the Hawaii defense. Our best wishes to Taylor in his recovery.
I’ll be in attendance for this game knowing very well it’s unlikely to go smoothly for the Warriors. Covering the spread and emerging with no serious injuries would be a solid outcome for Hawaii. Better weeks ahead. Give me Warriors 13, Ducks 50.