The University of Hawaii Warriors will host the Nevada Wolf Pack in one of the first league in-conference games of the year. The two former Western Athletic Conference schools will be making their debut in a Mountain West contest. The game will be at 4:30PM Hawaiian Time (7:30PM Pacific) in Honolulu on the beautiful grounds of Aloha Stadium September 22. The game will be telecast nationally on NBC Sports.
Nevada came into this season with some viewing them as one of the co-favorites to win the league title. Hawaii has a new head coach in Norm Chow and there were questions as to how well they might do this year. This game will have answer both these situations.
Can Wolf Pack run be stopped
The Wolf Pack's offense is led by quarterback Cody Fajardo who is both a running and throwing threat. Nevada's offense is solid with the running attack leading the way. In fact, the Wolf Pack is seventh in the nation in rushing yards, averaging over 300 per game. Hawaii's defense had shown to be little more than adequate after being shelled by then #1 USC. But then the Warrior defense showed they are better than that after shutting out Lamar last week. That makes this an interesting battle to watch.
Nevada's defense has been somewhat suspect having allowed 30 points per game. Brock Hekking leads the Wolf Pack with two sacks but as a whole, the defense has not been stopping much of anything through the air and their run defense is only marginally better. However, Hawaii's offense is only adequate with their passing game just a little better than their running attack. There were signs of improvement against Lamar … but Nevada isn't Lamar.
This is a tough game to figure because on paper, the Wolf Pack is better - not by a lot but they're better overall. Of note, Nevada does not play well in Hawaii, which makes this game a tossup; Nevada Wolf Pack won in Reno last year 42-28 and that was a turning point - down for the men of Manoa. But the Wolf Pack have never won in Hawaii in over 60 years.
Who squeaks it out
If the Wolf Pack can control the contest with their ground game, they should win. If the Warriors defense and special teams win the day, they should win. I'm telling you, this game is so close, it goes to overtime. Flip a coin … Nevada squeaks one out. Final predicted score: Nevada 27 - Hawaii 24.
After this battle, Nevada stays on the road to play Texas State on September 29th while Hawaii also sets sail on the road for Provo, Utah to play the BYU Cougars - this is a short week turn-around for the Warriors because they travel well over 3,000 miles and have to play Friday night.
Sources - University of Nevada, University of Hawaii
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of college football as well as Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!