RWP: Hawaii @ Wyoming: Three Things To Look For, Prediction

RWP = Rainbow Warrior Perspective

Site: Laramie, Wyoming (War Memorial Stadium)

Date hour : Saturday, November 27 at 10:00 a.m. (Hawaii time)

Television: Spectrum Sports PPV (For Hawaii Residents Only)

Diffusion: Download the Team1Sports app.

Radio: ESPN Honolulu

Face-to-face: Wyoming leads the series 15-10, with the Pokes winning the most recent 31-7 contest in Laramie last October. Hawaii has played 10 times in Wyoming since 1993, winning just two, both in Honolulu. Hawaii hasn’t beaten the Cowboys at Laramie since 1991. A strange and twisted pandemic result: This weekend, the Warriors will play Laramie again, two seasons in a row. Unusual for conference peers. Both programs play for the Paniolo Trophy.

1. Another elite defense ?!

It would be unfair to say that Hawaii fell short of expectations this fall, finishing 5-8 or 6-7 is precisely what Vegas o / u expected. Still, some fans were hoping it would be a breakout season. Why wasn’t 2021 a breakout campaign for Todd Graham and company? There are plenty of reasons, but one big one: Mountain West was very good this fall.

Another week arrives and another talented opponent awaits you. Wyoming’s defense is led by linebacker Chad Muma. He could be Mountain West’s best defensive player. He is everywhere at the same time, and fooled by nothing. He totaled 120 tackles this fall, 75 solo tackles. He will be an NFL star.

Wyoming ranks 26th nationally for total defense. They are suspect against the run, ranking 90th in running defense, but ranking 4th nationally in passing yards allowed. Cornerbacks Azizi Hearn and CJ Colden, and securities Isaac White, Rome Weber, etc. constitute a secondary which concedes nothing. Logan Bonner of Utah State finished with 181 passing yards against Wyoming. Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener finished with 96 passing yards. Boise State’s Hank Bachmeier finished with 225 passing yards, 1 touchdown and no interceptions, and it was essentially the better performance any quarterback has had against Wyoming all season.

The point is clear: Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro is unlikely to feast on Laramie’s air on Saturday. Backers Dae Dae Hunter and Dedrick Parson must bring their A-game on Saturday if the Warriors are to upset the Cowboys.

2. Did the Wyoming offense find life?

You’d be hard pressed to find a college football team with a stranger attacking CV than the Wyoming Cowboys. The Pokes have hired Tim Polasek from Iowa to be their new offensive coordinator. The much-maligned Brent Vigen had left for the state of Montana, and there was optimism that it could be the small group team for the Cowboys.

It started off badly, scoring just 19 points against Brent Vigen’s Montana State Bobcats. Fear not, Wyoming retaliated by scoring 50 points on Northern Illinois and 43 on Ball State. The offensive followed that performance with two average, possibly mediocre outings against UConn and Air Force.

Then disaster struck. Wyoming has scored 3 points overall in two home games. You read correctly. Laundered by Fresno State, and held just one basket against New Mexico (!!!). It was arguably the lowest for the Craig Bohl era.

Wyoming has since moved on full-time to quarterback Levi Williams. He’s not perfect, but he has since stabilized the passing game. The Pokes performed well against San Jose State and ran statewide in Colorado.

The Boise State game was a setback, but last week Wyoming lost 604 total yards to Utah State. Out of nowhere! Wyoming ran for 362 yards, running backs Titus Swen and Xazavian Valladay topped the Aggies. Swen scored a touchdown from 99 yards!

Don’t forget receiver Isaiah Neyor, he’s quietly establishing himself as one of the best receivers in the conference.

Wyoming has passed through valleys few breaches will experience, but the peaks have been impressive lately. Hawaii’s defense will have their work cut out for it against a Pokes offense finding its identity in November.

3. Finish strong

There is potentially a strange possibility that Hawaii is eligible for the bowl at 6-7. We’ve seen the Hawaii Bowl’s hopes come back from the dead before.

Assuming there aren’t any such shenanigans, this is likely Hawaii’s last football game before the 2022 opener against Vanderbilt. Hawaii rebounded last week to beat Colorado State on Senior Night, shockingly 50-45. As previously reported, the 2021 Rainbow Warriors largely end with a record around what most neutrals expected in the spring.

Still, with quarterback Chevan Cordeiro returning behind a veteran offensive line and much improved defense on the opposite side of the ball, many UH fans believed this team had the potential to be a shock contender in the game. West division. This does not happen.

Saturday’s game in Laramie is the Hawaii Bowl Game. Hell, there’s even a trophy up for grabs. Wyoming is a quality team and a healthy favorite in this contest. If Hawaii can build on the win over Colorado State and at least push Wyoming into a competitive game from Q1 through Q4, it would help end a disappointing season in a positive way.

This is where the character of a football program is shown. How do the Warriors play when there is little at stake? It’s only one game, but Hawaii playing hard to the end, in freezing temperatures over 3,000 miles from home, can help lay the groundwork for seasons to come.

Raise your hand if you thought Hawaii and Colorado State would combine for 95 points last Saturday.

Either you put your hand down or you’re a liar.

Wyoming opened as an 8-point favorite in this game, and they jumped to 10 points pretty quickly. Players naturally choose the Warriors on the continent.

Chevan Cordeiro is so frustrating. He was just spectacular against Colorado State. His inconsistencies, the highest of highs and the lowest of lows reminds me of Timmy Chang. If he could just channel those positive week-to-week performances, he would be one of college football’s best quarterbacks.

This week, his goal must be to protect football. Wyoming’s defense is dominant, but there is a weakness in its ground defense. Use it. Control the clock, protect the football.

Historically, Hawaii football and the mainland haven’t mixed well, and that hasn’t changed this fall. I don’t expect that to change on Saturday. Prove me wrong, warriors. Give me Hawaii 13, Wyoming 27.

Thanks to all my readers this season! 2021 has been a difficult calendar year for UH football, on and off the pitch.

Better days to come. Mahalo.

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