HAWAII VS. ALBANY
Location: Honolulu, Oahu (Clarence T.C. Ching Complex)
Date/Time: Friday, September 9th at 6:00 p.m. (Hawaii Time)
Television: Spectrum Sports PPV (Hawaii only)
Streaming: Team 1 Sports app (mainland only)
The Mountain West instruction page was broken, so I’ll post this. This has been the approach the last several years. If anything has changed, I’ll let you folks know.
Radio: ESPN Honolulu
Head-to-Head: According to Winspedia, this will be the first matchup between the programs.
Three things to look for:
1. Reese Poffenbarger is going to frustrate
Hawaii opened the 2023 football season with tests from the SEC and Pac-12 (ACC lol?). Sure, teams that are expected to be at the bottom of those conferences, but Hawaii tested themselves, nonetheless. It would be easy to look at the Albany Great Danes and exhale, expecting an easy victory at Clarence T.C. Ching Complex.
Maybe Hawaii ends up winning comfortably. The flashes on offense have been there, but I’m warning you now: prepare yourself to be frustrated with Albany quarterback Reese Poffenbarger.
Poffenbarger proved to be elusive in Albany’s close 21-17 loss to Marshall, finishing with 15 carries for 37 yards. Those stats are a bit deceiving; his longest run was for 54 yards. Sack yardage hides the real factor Poffenbarger’s legs will be on Saturday. The Warrior defense, which will be without starting linebacker Isaiah Tufaga for the first half of the game due to a targeting penalty against Stanford.
Will Reese Poffenbarger be effective? We’ll see, but he’s certainly going to be slippery on Saturday.
2. Offensive fireworks?
It’s fair to call the Hawaii offense inconsistent through two games. The offensive line and quarterback Brayden Schager haven’t been on the same page at all times. Sometimes the pressure proves too much for the big boys upfront, other times protection is solid, and Schager holds onto the ball for too long.
It also must be said that the running game has been surprisingly absent through two games. Running back Tylan Hines only has 15 rushing yards on the season.
Hawaii’s young wide receivers, however, have shined to this point. Wide receiver Pofele Ashlock won Mountain West freshman of the week again! He is a burgeoning star for the Warriors. Freshman Alex Perry has shined too, with Steven McBride and Koali Nishigaya mixing in.
Hawaii’s offense has the chance to shine on Saturday night, but again I would not look at Albany’s FCS classification and assume this will be an easy task.
3. Will travel be a factor?
Albany’s performance against Marshall was impressive. Time will tell how good (or not good) the Thundering Herd end up being in fall 2023, but Albany more than held their own on both offense and defense. They’re more than capable.
Still, playing FBS one week in Huntington, West Virginia and having to travel to Hawaii the next week cannot be kind on the body. Anyone dreaming of an old school Junes Jones 56-10 type beat down needs to curtail their expectations, Albany is better than that, but you can’t help but wonder if fatigue shows up in the second half on Saturday.
Will the Warriors pounce? I think there’s a good chance of that happening.
Back-to-back weeks I’ve been well off on my prediction. I underestimated Stanford’s talent on the edges and at tight end. This week, Hawaii finally plays someone not from one of the Power 5 conferences. Albany is no pushover, and I expect there to be some frustrating moments on Saturday night, but needless to say Hawaii needs to perform well in this game.
I have not found an official betting spread as of the posting of this Three things to look for, Prediction, but some advanced stats call for a close game, even an upset in favor of the Great Danes. Although apparently their head coach is sick and isn’t coming to Hawaii?! I think Hawaii will do just enough, but this would be a bad game for more mistakes to occur. Ashlock goes for 100+ receiving yards again. Give me Warriors 28, Great Danes 20.