Rainbow Warriors defense looks to make a big impact against UCLA

Published: Aug. 26, 2021 at 3:00 PM HST|Updated: Aug. 26, 2021 at 4:56 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Rainbow Warriors football team is on its way to Pasadena for their season opener against UCLA, looking to shut down an explosive offense that led the Pac-12 last season.

At more than 35 points per-game last year, the Bruins offensive attack was dynamic, led by second-team All-Pac 12 quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and there’s little reason to think they won’t be just as good this season.

“They’re very talented offensively.” Head coach Todd Graham told reporters. “They’ve got a very explosive quarterback, explosive receivers, tight ends, very big physical line, the best line we’ll play probably all year long and so we’ve got to play our best, but man that’s what you sign up for.”

On top of their quarterback play, the Bruins boast a physical run game — an area where Hawaii struggled during the 2020 season — but the ‘Bows say their primary focus this offseason was to stop the run.

“They got two good running backs that are returning, so why not first gam home game, a team who was weak on the run last year, come out and run the ball.” Defensive back Khoury Bethley said. “We just got to come ready to play and stop the run and play physical.”

“Were coming in with a chip on our shoulder.” Linebacker Darius Muasau said. “This whole fall camp, this whole training session that we had, our emphasis was on stopping the run and this is exactly what we’ve been training for.”

The stage couldn’t be bigger for Hawaii. For the second time since 2017, the ‘Bows meet UCLA at the Rose Bowl — one of the most iconic settings in all of college football.

Additionally, because it’s technically “Week Zero”, it’s one just five college football games being played this weekend.

“We live for these moments right here you know as college football players to to play on live television you know.” Bethley said.

“Just being able to represent the community,” Muasau said. “Our home state, my family, Hawaii Warrior football you know it means a lot to us.”

Kick off from the Rose Bowl is set for Saturday at 9:30 a.m. HST on ESPN.

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