HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The last time the Rainbow Warriors started a football season 2-0, most of the players on the current roster weren't even in high school yet.
This week, for the first time since 2009, Hawaii has a chance to begin their season with two consecutive wins – if they can get past the Catamounts of Western Carolina, the lone FCS opponent on this year's schedule.
As the 'Bows prepare for their home opener, they are using the lessons they learned – and the momentum they gained – from their comeback victory over UMass on Saturday as motivation.
"I thought it was sloppier than we had hoped for. Obviously the penalties are disappointing," said Nick Rolovich, the team's head coach. "But, the character this team showed at the end of the game, you don't really see that on film."
According to Rolovich, a football team's bond can often be as important as the way they play. At the start of Hawaii's fall training camp, he praised the character of the 2016 team as a key factor that helped them to a 7-7 season and a post-season win.
On Tuesday, Rolo added that at that particular point in fall camp, he wasn't sure that the 2017 team was as close. If Saturday was a test in togetherness, Rolovich says his squad passed with flying colors.
"You just feel that if you're there," said Rolovich, referencing the way his team rallied to beat the Minutemen. "This team has proven they can win close games and they know how to stick together."
Hawaii had to bounce back from a two touchdown deficit in the third quarter against UMass. The 'Bows went on to win their season opener with less than a minute left in the game on a seven-yard touch down pass from Dru Brown to Tui 'Unga.
Now, Hawaii's head coach says if there's any positives from that game, that he'd like to see continue throughout the season.
"This team is very close," said Rolovich. "We'll be in more close games. We'll be in games where we're the heavy underdogs. But, I don't think that's going to matter to this team."