Site: Las Cruces, NM (Aggie Memorial Stadium)
Date hour : Saturday, September 25 at 2:00 p.m. (Hawaii time)
Television: Nothing? Watch the streaming below
Diffusion: So here’s the deal. The State of New Mexico broadcasts its matches on Flo Football. You have to register, choose a subscription that you will cancel after the match. The good news is that this stream can be watched on a laptop, or even streamed to a TV. Bad news: It looks like it will cost $ 19.99. I will continue to monitor the other options, but from now on it looks like you are forking out some cash to watch the game or listening to Bobby Curran. Not ideal.
Radio: ESPN Honolulu
Face-to-face: The Rainbow Warriors lead the series 8-0. Yeah, neva lost * voice from LaVar Ball *. Hawaii won the very first matchup between the two programs in 1978, then the Warriors and Aggies didn’t meet again until 2005. The two met each season until 2011, then Hawaii left for Mountain West. Now, both programs are making up for lost time, playing twice this season, and six more times until 2028! Don’t ask, I don’t know why the two teams will face each other so frequently.
1. Can Hawaii show off the offensive potential?
Consistency has proven to be an issue for Hawaii’s offense over the course of four games. Offensive coordinator Bo Graham was reprimanded for offensive performance against UCLA in Pasadena, but recovered well against Portland State and Oregon State. It looked like the offense might be starting to find its shape and then the San Jose State game played. 13 points at home, a barrage of punters. Repeated failure in the red zone. Above all, a missed opportunity. Hawaii’s defense largely dominated San Jose State quarterback Nick Starkel and the Spartans, the Warriors’ offense had to be just average at night and failed to do so.
That setback led to a 17-13 home loss that puts Hawaii in a 0-1 hole in a Western Division that appears to be the deepest division of college football’s 5-a-mile.
No disrespect to the state of New Mexico, all games on the mainland are trap games for UH football, but this game could be Hawaii’s last game for next month. The NMSU defense ranks 114th for running defense and 87th for passing defense, despite having a manageable first four games aside from the Aztecs.
That’s not to say the Aggies don’t have good players. Linebacker Chris Ojoh has two sacks this season and is tied for 35th nationally in loss tackles. Linebacker Joshua Ferguson has had 30 tackles this season, and 6’5 ”, 270-pound defensive linemen Lazarus Williams can wreak havoc in the backfield. Yet the numbers are what they are. Can Bo Graham’s offense walk in the throat and score over 40 points on Saturday? It’s hard to sled after this game in Las Cruces.
2. Has Hawaii’s Defense Passed the Line?
Now it’s more like that. The praise showed that Hawaii’s defense path is well documented heading into the 2021 season, which makes the faceplant that was the first three games all the more disappointing. The UCLA, the State of Portland and the State of Oregon all operated as they saw fit against the defense of Hawaii. Frankly, there was no reason to believe that San Jose State star quarterback Nick Starkel wouldn’t fall in line.
Thankfully, Todd Graham and defensive coordinator Victor Santa Cruz finally found a rhythm, their defense holding San Jose State to 291 total yards and 17 points, despite the Spartans receiving a cargo of possessions at the festival. Saturday’s punt.
This week, the defense must take advantage of this success to stop Aggie’s offense. The Aggies are ranked 75th in passing attack, 119th in ground attack. The Aggies will face Dino Maldonado as quarterback, who replaced Jonah Johnson in the last two games. Or at least we think, the situation is fluid. Juwaun Price and O’Maury Samuels form a tandem of running backs who frankly struggled at this point, as evidenced by the 119th in the ranking of the attack on the ground. Wide receiver Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda averages 23.9 yards per catch, that’s a lot! The Warriors can’t ignore the Aggies, but it has to be a game where defense builds on SJSU’s success. If Hawaii wants any chance in the West Division, they have to play well this Saturday. The state of Fresno and Nevada are next looming …
3. Can the Warriors put on a full performance?
This point is a mixture of the first two “things to look for”, but it is important. We’re four games into the 2021 season, and Hawaii is yet to put on a full performance. Well, positive anyway. The team was completely horrible against UCLA, neither side of the ball performed well. Against Portland State, the offense flourished, but the defense was torched in midair by quarterback Davis Alexander.
Against Oregon State, Chevan Cordeiro and the passing game impressed in Pac-12 territory, but Rainbow Warrior’s defense was terrible. Said defense eventually found success against San Jose State, an impressive achievement, Starkel and company are quite good, but of course Bo Graham’s offense had its worst performance of the season.
Hawaii has talent, that’s obvious. Both sides of the ball have star players. Cordeiro, Darius Muasau, Cortez Davis, among others. It’s there, but this team needs to regain consistency and quickly. The West Division has become a glove. The State of Fresno is classified, the State of San Diego will be classified soon as well. Nevada has several top talent. Hawaii just lost to San Jose State. The Warriors need both offense and defense to find any semblance of consistency, otherwise it’s hard to find a path to a bowl game.
I’ve been doing this “Three Things To Look For, Prediction” article for several years now, and if you haven’t figured out that I’m really bad at the prediction part yet, I don’t know what to tell you. I was right about SJSU’s victory, but the shootout turned into a plethora of punters. Bleh.
Hawaii is a 17 point road favorite. Don’t see this often. Again, no disrespect for the Aggies, but if Hawaii can’t put on a full performance on Saturday, it’s fair to wonder if this season is about to get ugly. With tough games looming on the horizon, the Warriors would be wise to impress against NMSU. I think the racing game, starring Dae Dae Hunter and Dedrick Parsons, takes off at Las Cruces and the defense has a top-down performance. Give me Hawaii 37, State of New Mexico 23.