Warriors looking for first win, host Spartans

The University of Hawaii football team is hoping the fifth time is the charm Saturday when they try for their first win of the season against the Spartans of San Jose State at 6 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.

The Warriors are 0-4 on the season and coming off a 42-37 loss last week against the Bulldogs of Fresno State in Honolulu.

While the Warriors did lose the ball game, they nearly erased a 39-point, third-quarter deficit.

After Hawaii’s Ikaika Woolsey’s pass was intercepted and returned for a touchdown with 6:15 left in the third quarter, the Bulldogs led 42-3.

But the Warriors didn’t quit.  

Replacing Woolsey at starting quarterback on the following drive was Sean Schroeder, and he immediately set up Hawaii for their first touchdown of the game.

Schroeder hit Christ Gant through the air for 60 yards on his first play of the drive to set up a 3-yard rushing touchdown by running back Steven Lakalaka.

The Warriors forced four straight Bulldog turnovers on Fresno’s next four drives, resulting in 20 points for Hawaii.

Hawaii’s defense held for the remainder of the game and the offense punched in their fourth touchdown of the second-half with 7:51 remaining in the fourth quarter to cut the deficit to five points.

The Warriors had two cracks at taking the lead, but saw their comeback end when Fresno State’s L.J. Jones intercepted a Hail Mary pass just short of the end zone.

Hawaii’s starting quarterback for the first three games, Taylor Graham, sat out due to an injured left shoulder.

The Warriors finished with 431 total yards with 377 coming through the air.

While the Spartans aren’t vying for their first win of the season like the Warriors, they have struggled.

Losing to the Utah State Aggies last week at home, the Spartans fell to 1-3 on the year.

Since winning their first game of the season against the Sacramento St. Hornets 24-0, the Spartans have scored an average of just 16.3 points per game while giving up 39 to their opposition.

In their four games this season, both the Warriors and Spartans have averaged 18.3 points per games.

San Jose has allowed opponents to score 29.3 points per game while the Warriors have given up an average of 34 points.

Hawaii’s Graham was cleared to practice earlier in the week but it isn’t certain if he will play on Saturday.

Saturday’s matchup between the Warriors and Spartans will be the first between the teams as members of the Mountain West Conference.

The Warriors were victorious in their last game against the Spartans in 2011, when they escaped with a 28-27 win.

This will be the 36th matchup between the Warriors and Spartans, with both teams deadlocked with 17 wins each and one tie.

Saturday’s game will be televised on Oceanic-Pay-Per-View and will be aired live on ESPN 1420 AM.

• Tyson Agbayani, sports writer, can be reached at 245-0437 or tagbayani@thegardenisland.com.

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