The University of Hawaii football team will hit the road this week to open Mountain West Conference play against long-time conference rival Nevada on Saturday night in Reno.
Both teams enter the game 3-1 on the season, and will the nationally televised showdown will mark as the MWC opener for both squads.
One of the hot topics surrounding the UH Football team is the early season success despite an overwhelming amount of turnovers.
The Rainbow Warriors rank last of 130 FBS programs in turnover margin, at -12, having given-up the ball 15-times on the young season. In Hawaii’s season opening win over Arizona, UH turned the ball over six times.
“Maybe it’s good we’re going to Nevada because maybe we can hit the Mega Bucks, because we’re very lucky right now to win three games with the turnover margin we have,” said head coach Nick Rolovich following Tuesday’s practice. “I don’t know what the percentage would be but I’m sure it’s not very high, and there’s a lot of history of turnovers losing football games. We’ve been fortunate, but we can’t not address it.”
Quarterback Cole McDonald is responsible for nine interceptions this season, but appeared to have turned a corner in this past Saturday’s win over Central Arkansas, posting an efficient stat-line of 25-32, for 300-yards passing, four touchdowns and just one interception.
“For a lot of the interceptions they were outside of the offense, and that’s what you get. It’s like putting your hand in the cookie jar, you’re going to get slapped,” said Rolovich.
The running back position has had its struggles holding on to the ball as well, as three different backs have lost possession, including Miles Reed, who in the win over UCA was charged with two fumbles.
“The fumbles, I think he has to make a good decision after he’s gained 20 yards to not spin up in the air, you know people are chasing. I think just making good decisions at the end of plays,” said Rolovich. “All those little things are going to get us beat. Especially in conference, especially this year. This is as good as this conference as probably ever been.”
The Rainbow Warriors will attempt to show improvement in regards to protecting possessions when the ‘Bows hit the field on Saturday at 4:30pm HST on ESPN.
The Wolf Pack are listed as 2-point favorites, as UH has only won once in Reno, and that dates back to the WAC championship season of 2007.