The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors face-off against the San Jose State Spartans.
Can a Homecoming help Hawaii beat San Jose State?
Keys to victory for the Rainbow Warriors and a prediction in their game against the Spartans.
Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (2-4) vs San Jose State Spartans (1-6) 6:00 PM HST
Location: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
Radio: KKEA ESPN 1420 (Honolulu), KNUI 550AM (Maui), KHLO 850AM (Hilo), KKON 790AM (Kona), KTOH 99.9FM (Kauai), KNWJ 104.7FM (American Samoa), XM Radio 203 and Sirius Radio 93.
Web Audio-Cast: ESPN 1420
Spread: Hawaii -17
- The Hawaii and San Jose State series is tied at 19-19-1 and has been going on since 1936.
- Saturday is not only the 40th meeting between the two programs but it is the homecoming game for the Rainbow Warriors.
- During their homecoming games, UH has a record of 37-29-1. They are also 2-2 against SJSU during these festivities.
- Since it is Homecoming, the University and Athletics Department has worked to put on some extra activities to liven up game day.
- Diocemy St. Juste needs 45 yards to become second in the program’s record book for the all-time leading rusher. He is 968 yards away from tying Gary Allen for the top spot on the list.
- Dru Brown is 46 yards away from surpassing his head coach, Nick Rolovich, for 10th on the all-time passing yards leaderboard for the program.
UH: OUT FOR SEASON: Metuisela Unga (TE).
SJSU: QUESTIONABLE: Bryon Bridges (DT), Cameron Alexander (DE), Jeremiah Kolone (G), Montel Aaron (QB).
2017 Team Leaders:
Passing: Dru Brown (UH): 137-211, 1643 YDS, 12 TD, 7 INT; Josh Love (SJSU): 88-163, 869 YDS, 5TD, 7 INT
Rushing: Diocemy Saint Juste (UH): 144 CAR, 892 YDS, 4 TD; Milo Hall (SJSU): 30 CAR, 76 YDS, 1 TD
Receiving: John Ursua (UH): 46 REC, 653 YDS, 5 TD; JaQuan Blackwell (SJSU): 25 REC, 290 YDS, 2 TD
Tackles: Jahlani Tavai (UH): 53 (33 SOLO) TKL; Frank Ginda (SJSU): 106 (59 SOLO) TKL
Sacks: Jahlani Tavai (UH): 3.5 SACK; Ethan Aguayo (SJSU): 2.0 SACK
Interceptions: Daniel Lewis Jr. (UH): 1 INT; Jermaine Kelly (SJSU): 1 INT
Keys to the Game:
Hawaii vs. Frank Ginda: Last week Ginda accrued 19 tackles and he leads the Spartans on the season with a whopping total of 109 tackles. Hawaii will come out running the ball, especially after last week, and will have to deal with Ginda. He will be flying everywhere taking down ball carriers from sideline to sideline but the offense cannot be discouraged. Even though the run-game will start off slow in the first quarter, they will eventually break through towards the end of the second. If the Rainbow Warriors abandon the run after initial resistance, Frank Ginda’s play will light a fire in the Spartan defense and they will stifle the Rainbow Warriors’ scoring chances.
Steal the Show: The defense has to take advantage of San Jose State’s notorious penchant to give the ball away. The Spartan offense has turned the ball over at least twice in each of their games this season and has the highest average of giveaways per game in the FBS. This bodes well for a Hawaii defense that has had trouble generating turnovers and got their first takeaway in a month, last week. Legi Suiaunoa’s defense will need to learn from their missteps from the Nevada game and move forward. SJSU’s offense is terrible and the UH defense must take advantage of their casual handling of the football to win.
Home Sweet Home: After a tough loss in Nevada last week the Rainbow Warriors return to Aloha Stadium for Homecoming. Fans should be out in force for the festivities and it will be important for them to show the team some energy and excitement early on. Head Coach Nick Rolovich noted earlier in the week that the team was in a rut and needed to change things up as well as have fun again. while this week’s practices were designed to light a fire for the team, nothing will help them get going like a warm welcome from their home crowd.
Also, here is an interesting fact: so far in 2017, San Jose State has lost every game that has had more than 11,000 fans in attendance. Take that tidbit as you will.
Hawaii is a big time favorite for the first time since facing Western Carolina in their second game of the season. UH gave away the game against Nevada but they will not do that against San Jose State. A newfound focus along with the energy from the Homecoming crowd will propel the team to their first win in four games. While this game will provide the team and its fans some assurance that the season is not over. In the end, the score will be 37-28 with the Rainbow Warriors allowing two late touchdowns with the game already in hand.
On offense, with Diocemy St. Juste taking the lead, the team will once again show the dominant play they flashed earlier in the season. The star running back will also claim sole possession of the program’s second all-time leading rusher. He will total 185 yards on the ground and will combine with Ryan Tuiasoa to give the Rainbow Warrior offense their second 200+ yard rushing game in a row. The two backs will initially struggle to get away from Frank Gilda but will ultimately wear him and his defense down. They will help Hawaii score three of their five touchdowns on the night.
The defense for the Rainbow Warriors will smell blood once the Spartans take the field on their first drive and create havoc for the Josh Love led offense, to set the tone for the rest of the game. Mefi Koloamatangi will regain control of the team’s sack lead when he adds 1.5 sacks to his season total and will force Love to fumble once. This fumble will be the first of three takeaways for the team and will mark their first game creating multiple turnovers since their game against WCU. Even though defensive coordinator, Legi Suiaunoa has seemingly been overwhelmed this year, he will show signs of finally getting ahold of his defense. Head Coach Nick Rolovich said this was going to be a process and the performance the Hawaii defense will show against San Jose State will show that process is taking hold.
All in all, Hawaii fans and most importantly the team will be able to feel good about a well-fought victory. There will be encouraging signs throughout the game to re-enforce the shaken confidence fans and players alike that seemed to develop over the past month. And trust me, everyone is going to need their confidence when an undefeated San Diego State team comes into town.
Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@warriorboutit) and get play-by-play commentary.
Last but not least Go Bows!
UPDATE: Ticket giveaway announcement will be done after the game is done. Voters on twitter have decided that they want to see the BYU game the most. Stay tuned!