Fresh off of having their three game winning streak snapped on the road at BYU this past weekend, the University of Hawaii football team returned to practice on Tuesday morning in preperation for a return to Mountain West Conference play against Nevada.
The Rainbow Warriors at 6-2 are off to the program’s best eight game start since 2010 are 3-0 in conference for the first time as members of the MWC.
A win over the Wolfpack on Saturday not only keeps them atop the west division standings but would also lock-up bowl eligibility.
However, perhaps the biggest take-away from the last few weeks for UH has been the lack of take-aways.
“We got to be more creative on defense in regards to creating turnovers. We had the one interception in the first half (against BYU), we had the really good forced fumble but we don’t get on it. I think we caused fourteen (fumbles) and only gotten one, so we got to continue to create those fumble opportunities but we got to get the numbers to change for us, hopefully this week,” said defensive coordinator Corey Batoon.
The Warriors rank 109th in turnover-margin at minus-five for the season. A trend that head coach Nick Rolovich says must be treated as the back end of the schedule packs a punch, starting with the Wolfpack.
“That finally caught us where we lose the turnover battle, lose probably the overall execution battle and still win the football game which we were able to do a couple of times earlier this year. You could point to those things and say look, we talk about it when we win and it finally caught up to us in the ball security and the explosion plays, not stopping the run, not getting first downs, not putting the ball in the end zone, things like that,” said Rolovich.
While Hawaii has only gained five turnovers on the season which ranks 120th out of 130 FBS teams, Nevada is 11th in the country having forced 14-turnovers. However, the Wolfpack have given it back 16-times on the year.
Kickoff between the Warriors and Wolfpack is set for Saturday at 6:00 pm at Aloha Stadium. UH is currently listed as three point favorites.
Who: Hawai’i (6-2, 3-0 MW) vs. Nevada (3-4, 1-2 MW)
When: Saturday, Oct. 20, 2018
Time: 6:00 p.m. HT
Where: Honolulu, HI
Stadium: Aloha Stadium (50,00)
Television: Spectrum Sports PPV (Spectrum Ch. 255/HD 1255 and Hawaiian Telcom Ch. 969). Robert Kekaula (play-by-play), Rich Miano (analyst), Scott Robbs (sideline).
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM. Bobby Curran (play-by-play), John Veneri (analyst), Mark Veneri (sideline). Chris Hart and Gary Dickman hosts the “Countdown To Kickoff” at 4:00 p.m. HT. KNUI (Maui), KPUA (Hawai’i Island), and KTOH (Kaua’i).
Video Streaming: Distributed outside the state of Hawai’i via the Mountain West Network through the MW’s digital media partner Stadium on WatchStadium.com
Audio Streaming: ESPN1420am.com/Sideline Hawaii app
Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com
Series Information: Nevada leads 13-9
PROMOTIONS: Hawaiian Airlines is the game sponsor and will distribute 5,000 Foldable Fans (available at stadium gates 2-8) and award 120,00 Hawaiian Airlines Miles during the halftime promotional contest (register at Gate 3). The 2018-19 men’s and women’s basketball teams will be introduced on the field during the first quarter. A UH student will compete in the “Hawaiian Airlines Quarterback Challenge” for the chance to win Apple AirPods during the first timeout of the fourth quarter. Fans are encouraged to visit the Xtreme Fun Zone before the game located in the parking lot across from the stadium ticket office. The Farmers Hawaii Supa Bowzooka will be launching T-shirts into the stands between the first and second quarters.
- This week’s game is the third match-up for UH head coach Nick Rolovich against the team he previously served as offensive coordinator. Rolovich is 1-1 vs. Nevada with a 38-17 win in Honolulu in 2016 and 35-21 loss in Reno in 2017.
- Rolovich has been a part of this series every year since 2010 either as UH OC (’10-11), Nevada OC (’12-15) or UH HC (’16-present) and has been on the winning side six times in eight games. He was 4-0 vs. Hawai’i as Nevada’s OC from 2012-15.
- Nevada leads the all-time series 13-9, however UH holds an 8-5 advantage in games played in Honolulu. UH’s win in 2016 at Aloha Stadium snapped the Wolf Pack’s five-game win streak in the series.
- Hawai’i (6-2, 3-0 MW) dropped a 49-23 decision to BYU in Provo last Saturday in a game in which they trailed 28-3 at halftime.
- Saturday’s game marks the first of three home games for UH in a four-game stretch. The Warriors are 4-0 at Aloha Stadium this season.
- Nevada (3-4, 1-2 MW) fell to Boise State, 31-27 last week in Reno, its second home conference loss in as many weeks. The Wolf Pack are 1-2 in road games this season with a win over Air Force and losses to Vanderbilt and Toledo.
- A win on Saturday would give Hawai’i its seventh win and bowl eligibility. UH last appeared in the 2016 Hawai’i Bowl. A win would also secure a winning regular season for the first time since 2010.
- UH has averaged only 20.0 points and 307.5 yards of total offense in its last two games after eclipsing 400 total yards in five of its first six games of the season.
- UH has scored 40+ points or more in five of its six wins this season. The Warriors are 9-0 under Nick Rolovich when scoring 40+ points and 20-0 including his tenure as UH offensive coordinator (2010-11).
- With 89 yards receiving and one touchdown last week against BYU, UH receiver John Ursua continues to lead the nation in receiving yards (890) and receiving touchdowns (13). Ursua is also the conference leader in six categories.
- UH’s three-game Mountain West win streak is its longest since joining the conference in 2012. A win on Saturday would guarantee a non-losing MW record for the second time in three years (4-4 in 2016).
- Beginning with this week’s match-up with Nevada, UH’s final five opponents have a combined record of 20-11, which includes 5-1 teams Fresno State, Utah State, and San Diego State, all of whom have current 4+ win streaks.