Rainbow Warrior football team award of Panthers offensive prowess
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -- Listening to UH prepare this week and you'd think another Pac-12 opponent was coming to town.
"All you gotta do is look at five minutes worth of film and know it's not a step down." said Hawaii head coach Norm Chow. "They have an excellent program with very good football players. It's going to be another great challenge for us."
The reality is, Northern Iowa is an FCS school, meaning they have fewer scholarships on their roster. However, the Panthers are one of the premiere Double-A schools around, and Hawaii knows it can't prepare for anything less.
Northern Iowa enters the week ranked 11th nationally and came within eight points (31-23) of beating Iowa two weeks ago.
Leading their offensive attack is running back David Johnson, who caught five passes for 208 yards and a touchdown versus the Hawkeyes.
Scouting web sites list the 6-1 230-pounder as a third to fourth round pick in the NFL draft.
Hawaii defensive coordinator Kevin Clune says the Panthers don't waste any opportunity to utilize Johnson.
"They like to get the ball to number seven. Whether it's the run game, pass game, screen game. Number seven is a player, a great player.
"The quarterback is a gunslinger, he'll throw it all over the yard. A big O-line with quality players. They've got a belief in their system." says Clune.
Defensively, UNI play a lot of cover-3. Leaving receiver Marcus Kemp on an island with the opposing cornerback. The redshirt sophomore faced a similar situation against Oregon State and exploited the opposition to the tune of five receptions for 102-yards.
"They play a lot of cover three and man on my side. So, I'm hoping they do the same thing as last week and I can do the same thing as last week."
Hawaii (0-2) and Northern Iowa (0-1) kickoff Saturday at 6pm HST.