Kickoff from beautiful Folsom Field is scheduled for high noon on Saturday. Coverage for those out and about can be found on Pac-12 Networks, with the radio call on 850 KOA.
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When last we met -
You don't have to take the WABAC Machine too far back for the last meeting between CU and Hawai'i. It was only three years ago, after all, that the Buffs traveled to the islands for the first time since the Coolidge administration, looking to start the Jon Embree era off on a high note. No such luck, however, as the Warriors claimed a solid 34-17 win.
The big star in the game was Hawaiian quarterback Bryant Moniz, who, surprise surprise, did most of his damage on the ground. With a soft CU secondary backing way off in an attempt to buy a cushion against the historically strong Hawai'i air attack, 'Mighty Mo' was able to gash the Colorado front seven for 151 positive yards and three scores; not inconsequentially his team's first three touchdowns of the game. While his passing production was held in relative check - 178 yards on 33 attempts - his rushing proved more than enough to stymie Colorado that evening.
|There he goes again. From: the BDC|
There were some good things on display. The emerging QB to WR duo of Hansen and Paul Richardson hooked up for CU's only two touchdowns, Speedy Stewart put up 150 combined yards, and the defense recorded five sacks. It just wasn't near enough, however, to overcome some glaring inefficiencies, and the Buffs never really deserved to be in this one.
|The offense was hounded in Honolulu. From the BDC|
The Warriors in 2014 -
For a decade, Hawai'i football was known for being a run-and-shoot quarterback haven. Behind stars like Timmy Chang, Colt Brennan, and Bryant Moniz, they routinely set the pace for passing offenses throughout college ball. At the height of the spread passing era, there were few teams cooler through the air than the Warriors. Those days are long gone, however, as head Coach Norm Chow has brought his conventional pro-style attack to Honolulu.
|The heady days of June Jones are long past.|
On defense, as Ringo noted this week, the Warriors are getting better. A year after joining Colorado as one of the worst defenses in the country, they've closed some gaps, and have returned to national averages. The team currently sits at 58th in total defense (373 yards allowed, after playing two Pac-12 offenses, no less), and 52nd in stopping the run (131 ypg, same). So far so good for new defensive coordinator Kevin Clune, who attributes the turnaround to being more 'aggressive.'
|It has been a rough start to the season for the Warriors|
Star Players -
The single best offensive performer on the roster is probably Joey Iosefa. Unfortunately for the Warriors, the bruising 245 back out of Pago Pago is out for the next few weeks with an ankle injury, leaving a massive production hole in the backfield. Sophomore Steven Lakalaka is tasked with trying to plug that hole. He did alright with his first opportunity as a feature back in last week's win over UNI, but needed a honking 32 carries to get his 132 yards on the day. Not extreme production, and I actually like CU's chances to have a good day against the run (that'll come back to burn me...).
|Expect Lakalaka to see a lot of carries on Saturday|
Woolsley has a trio of wide receiver targets to look to in Quinton Pedroza, Marcus Kemp, and Scott Harding. Pedroza, a transfer from Utah, is a possession receiver, and leads the team in catches this year - 20 in total. Kemp is a little more explosive, as the sophomore leads the team in receiving yardage. None of the three, however, have recorded a receiving touchdown this season, further emphasizing the stumbles in the passing game.
Harding is an interesting case. More than just a solid receiver, the senior out of Brisbane, Australia is also the team's punter and primary punt returner. I have never seen a stat sheet like his before; the only thing he needs to do now is get out on defense and start wreaking havoc. Of course, Harding began his athletic career in Aussie Rules football, even playing five seasons in the Australian Football League, so his multifaceted approach to the game is not all that surprising. The former professional, for the record, is nearly as old as I am (dude is 28).
|Harding logs a lot of time on the field for the Warriors.|
In the defensive backfield, the star is Dee Maggitt. The senior out of Tacoma, WA has been stuffing the stat sheet early with four pass breakups, 16 solo tackles (one for loss), and a forced fumble.
Offensive guru Norm Chow is currently holding the reins in Hawai'i. The well-traveled veteran of over 40 years in the coaching game is running a team for the first time in his career, having been named the Warrior's head coach in 2012. Success hasn't followed, however, as Chow has struggled to a 5-22 record into his third season.
|Chow is running the Hawai'i program during a period of uncertainty.|
Anyways, I remember being on the islands a few years ago, and being impressed by the way average Hawaiians took pride in their flagship's football team. The people I met held the program in such high regard, that it's almost impossible to reconcile those memories with the notion of abolishing the program. For their sake, I hope that the comments by the AD were more political in nature, rather than an actual prescription for the ails of his department.
|Hopefully, Ben Jay is just blowing hot air, and doesn't actually intend to can the program.|
My record: 2-1. Against the spread: 1-2. Optimistic/pessimistic: CU +4.67 pts/gm)
Line as of Thursday @ 7pm - CU -7, O/U 61
With Hawai'i's star running back out, and an inconsistent starter under center on their first road game of the season, I'm hard pressed to think up ways CU could blow this one. The one thing we know about the Buffs is that they can score, and I just don't see the Warriors putting up enough points to keep pace. I'll give the points, and take Colorado to claim win #2 in comfortable fashion.
CU 38 - UH 17
GO BUFFS! PROVE ME RIGHT, AND BEAT THE WARRIORS!