HONOLULU— Rainbow Warriors’ coach Todd Graham’s team has experienced several inconsistencies throughout his first year at the helm.
Against some of the Mountain West Conference’s elite programs, the Rainbow Warriors have struggled, losing by significant margins to Boise State, San Diego State, Wyoming and San Jose State.
Now the Rainbow Warriors, heading into their season finale against UNLV at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu Saturday, hope to end their COVID-19-shortened season on a positive note.
Unlike the past few opponents the Rainbow Warriors’ football program has faced, the Running Rebels will enter the contest in search of their first win in their season finale.
Playing for more than pride
Both teams have had tumultuous seasons, but they will compete for something other than pride.
The two teams are playing for the Island Showdown Trophy, created in 2017. UH has possession of the trophy with a 21-7 victory over the Running Rebels in 2019.
The Rainbow Warriors hold a distinct advantage in the series over the Running Rebels. Hawai‘i’s record against UNLV is 11-3, and the Rainbow Warriors have won five of the last six.
The last time Hawai‘i lost to the Running Rebels was a 41-38 defeat during the 2016 season.
A Rainbow Warriors’ showcase
The Running Rebels have only scored 20 points in one of the five games they played this season.
Consequently, the UNLV defense has allowed 34 or more points in all five of their games this season.
Before becoming the Rainbow Warriors’ starting quarterback, Chevan Cordeiro, then a freshman QB, was placed in the game against the Running Rebels to gain experience.
During the 2019 season, Cordeiro anchored a come-from-behind victory against UNLV.
In that game, he led the Rainbow Warriors’ offense to score a total of 22 unanswered points in the victory that allowed him to generate confidence in his play-making ability.
The Running Rebel match-up should give sophomore quarterback Cordeiro a chance to develop additional confidence in his ability as a signal-caller.
UNLV has been outscored 112-46 in the first half of their games and 43-13 in the first quarter of their games, which gives Cordeiro a chance to showcase to the Rainbow Warriors’ fans what his true offensive capabilities are against a statistically-inferior defense.
The Rainbow Warriors’ offense has flourished against high-level competition, as the losses have come mostly because of special-teams mishaps, not being able to come from behind and not being economical about clock management.
Hawai‘i’s offense generated a cumulative total of 500 yards in games twice this season.
Hawai‘i has a successful stable of running backs, and Calvin Turner has received the majority of the press. But he isn’t the only game-changer in the group.
The Rainbow Warriors have several different backs who can shine in any situation.
Against Fresno State, Hawai‘i featured two backs who accumulated over 100 yards rushing.
Chevan Cordeiro finished with 116 yards, and Miles Reed had 109 yards rushing in their season-opening victory over Fresno State.
Hawai‘i could turn the game against a statistically-inferior defense, and several of the Rainbow Warriors’ offensive weapons will have an opportunity to shine on senior night.
• When: Saturday
• Time: 6 p.m.
• Where: Honolulu
• Stadium: Aloha Stadium
• Television: Spectrum Sports PPV (Spectrum Ch. 255/HD 1255 and Hawaiian Telcom Ch. 969). Robert Kekaula (play-by-play) and Rich Miano (analyst).
• Radio: ESPN Honolulu (1420AM/92.7FM). Bobby Curran (play-by-play) 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 4 p.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 email@example.com.