HONOLULU— The Hawai‘i Rainbow Warriors will enter their game against the undefeated San Jose University Spartans with momentum.
Hawai‘i, a team that gave Mountain West Conference foe Nevada its first loss of the season last week, will look to do the same against a Spartans’ program that won its first four.
This matchup marks the third straight week the Rainbow Warriors will face off against an undefeated team (Boise State, Nevada, San Jose State).
The game, which was originally scheduled in San Jose, has been relocated to Aloha Stadium. This decision was made by the MWC because of the COVID-19 explosion on the mainland.
Kickoff time is slated for a Saturday afternoon start, and will be broadcast on Spectrum Sports network, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
“We explored many venues and date options for this game over the last 48 hours,” SJSU Athletic Director Marie Tuite said in a statement.
“Moving the game from San Jose to Honolulu became the best option based on our county and the state’s current public-health directives.”
Travelers landing in Hawai‘i must have negative coronavirus test results before departing to avoid a mandatory 14-day quarantine, according to Hawai‘i state health guidelines.
History not on their side
The Rainbow Warriors had recent success against the Spartans, but that might not equate to victory in this week’s game.
San Jose State University remains one of only 13 undefeated teams in Division I.
The game between Fresno State and Boise State has been canceled because of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic.
The Spartans are efficient on offense simply because they don’t turn the football over.
SJSU is one of five schools nationally that hasn’t lost the ball to a fumble, and they currently are in 10th place in the NCAA Division I with three turnovers during the entire season.
While UH is the MWC leader with 10 turnovers forced, including a league-high seven interceptions.
Give ‘Mr. Everything’ the ball
The Rainbow Warriors have one of the most dynamic playmakers in the entire conference in Calvin Turner.
Turner, a transfer from Jacksonville State, transitioned from quarterback to running back with the hopes of increasing his chances to make the NFL.
Turner’s choice to transition to running back has paid dividends for the Rainbow Warriors’ offensive plans.
Warriors’ Offensive Coordinator G.J. Kinne has utilized Turner in a variety of ways.
Turner has a team-high 369 yards receiving on 25 receptions and five touchdowns, and has 198 yards on the ground, including three rushing touchdowns.
Turner’s touchdowns include a 75-yard touchdown reception against San Diego State and a 64-yard touchdown catch versus New Mexico.
On the defensive
The exceedingly explosive Hawai‘i offense will face one of the top defensive players in the conference and the nation this weekend.
SJSU linebackers Kyle Harmon and Darius Muasau both rank in the top-20 in the nation in tackles per game.
Harmon is averaging 13 tackles per game, which allows him to be third in the nation, and Muasau averages 11.3 tackles per game.
Getting off to a fast start
In order for the Rainbow Warriors to continue to be competitive against some of the MWC’s elite teams, they will have to get off to a quick start Saturday.
In last week’s victory against undefeated Nevada, they accomplished this.
Against Boise State, San Diego State and New Mexico, the offense was unable to esablish a rhythm because they were playing from behind for most of the game.
Rainbow Warriors’ coach Todd Graham has emphasized this in nearly every post-game and pre-game press conference, and last week Graham’s message resonated with the team as they were able to take a 10-7 lead over Nevada at halftime.
Graham, who is in the middle of his first season as the Rainbow Warriors’ head coach, said in the post-game press conference that he felt his team is buying into his philosophical approach.
“We took a giant step in developing this type of culture,” Graham stated in a post-game Zoom press conference. “We played like we wanted.”
When: Saturday, Dec. 5, 2020
Time: 1 p.m.
Stadium: Aloha Stadium
Television: Spectrum Sports PPV (Spectrum Ch. 255/HD 1255 and
Hawaiian Telcom Ch. 969). Robert Kekaula (play-by-play) and Rich
Radio: ESPN Honolulu (1420AM/92.7FM). Bobby Curran (play-byplay)
and John Veneri (analyst). KRKH (Maui), KPUA (Hawai‘i Island),
and KTOH-HD3 (Kaua‘i). Chris Hart and Gary Dickman hosts the
“Countdown To Kickoff” at 9:00 a.m.
Video Streaming: Only available outside the state of Hawai‘i through
the Team1Sports app.
Audio Streaming: ESPNHonolulu.com/Sideline Hawaii app
Live Stats: HawaiiAthletics.com
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.