HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Shaking off a loss is one thing, but shaking off an overtime loss on the road will be the ultimate test for the Rainbow Warrior football team as they play host to Colorado State tomorrow evening at Aloha Stadium.
For the majority of the season, Hawaii (2-2, 0-1 MWC) has played on the road, playing in front of their home crowd just once against Western Carolina. But there's no excuses when it comes to their most recent performance, a game that the team feels they should've won.
"A lot times during that game, we could've won that game," said Warriors head coach Nick Rolovich after the loss to Wyoming. "But we need to stick together, because we got a great Colorado State team coming in here."
Colorado State (2-2, 0-0 MWC) will present a different challenge than any other opponent the Warriors have faced this season, and it appears that they've already become accustomed to life on the islands during their brief visit.
Although they have two losses on the season, Colorado State has a win over a Pac-12 team in Oregon State, and even put up 23 points in a loss against the Alabama Crimson Tide, which has turned out to be no small feat.
The Rams are led by a rushing attack that features two running backs who average at least 4.1 yards per carry.
Dalvin Dawkins and Izzy Matthews make up a two-headed monster that will look to break past the line of scrimmage and into Hawaii's secondary. Dawkins has rushed for 242 yards on 4.7 yards per carry while Matthews has netted 195 yards on 4.1 yards every time he carries the rock.
Stopping the run will be of the utmost importance for the Warriors after they surrendered 177 yards on the ground to Wyoming, giving up 6.1 yards per carry. In fact, in the past three games the Warriors defense has conceded 521 yards on the ground to their opponents, an average of 173.6 yards per game.
The best way to stop a good rushing attack, however, is simple for UH: Make the Rams throw the ball while chasing the game from behind. Because the last thing Hawaii needs is a reason for Colorado State to show the rest of the country why it has one of the best fourth quarter teams in the country:
The Rams defense, although it allows 11 less points per game than the Warriors, is still susceptible to good offensive teams. Allowing their opponents to score an average of 23.75 points per game while giving up 405.3 total yards on offense, the Warriors should have no problem racking up the yardage and getting into positions to score.
John Ursua, Hawaii's No. 1 option on offense, has been putting up historic numbers for the 'Bows.
He currently ranks No. 1 in the country in receiving yards per game (150 yards per game) and is No. 9 in total receiving yards, having played one less game than all eight of the players ranked ahead of him.
He's been so impressive thus far, that he's even been named to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List:
Quarterback Dru Brown, even with his two red zone interceptions against Wyoming last Saturday, still put up big numbers against the Cowboys, throwing for 280 yards and a score. The Warriors offense, which features a running game of its own led by Diocemy Saint Juste, can accumulate yards with the best of them.
Through four games, the Warriors have averaged 480.2 yards per game on offense, 70 yards more than their opponents.
The Warriors will look to turn those yards into points on the scoreboard tomorrow while looking to snap a six-game losing streak to the Rams, who lead the all-time series 14-9.
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. tomorrow night at Aloha Stadium.