Hawaii vs. San Jose State: Spartans Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
Spartans are looking to slip two games in the regular season finals, hosting Rainbow Warriors on Senior Day
Game 11: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (3-9, 2-5) @ San Jose State Spartans (6-4, 4-3)
When: Saturday, November 26 – 12:30 PM PT
Where: CEFCU Stadium; San Jose, CA
How to see: Stream live on Mountain West Network
Opportunities: State of San Jose -15 Over/Under 57
With that, college football’s regular season has entered its final week. It seems like just a month ago everyone was reading the preseason previews and looking forward to the first game. Now it’s already time for rivalry games and senior days. To be fair, it feels like this is the case every year, the weeks fly by equally between quarterbacks on Monday morning and the anticipation of the next matchup on the schedule. It’s been a tumultuous season for San Jose State, both on and off the field, and November saw a downward trend.
Back-to-back losses have put the Spartans out of the conference championship race, but before that they won their 6th game, which qualifies them for a bowl, something they eluded a season ago. Your opponent isn’t so lucky this holiday weekend. Hawaii brought in former star QB Timmy Chang to take the reins after Todd Graham was sacked. Chang was a popular, if unsurprising, choice given his lack of experience. He also inherited a roster in transit after a mass exodus through the transfer portal, something that occurred before he was hired. One of those who left the program, of course, was none other than current SJSU star quarterback Chevan Cordeiro. There were others of importance as well, and it was well known that 2022 would be a year of rebuilding on the islands.
The first five games proved the chatter right, as evidenced by inexperience on the pitch and on the touchline. A demolition in Michigan is forgivable, but losses at home to Vanderbilt and Western Kentucky, as well as to New Mexico State, not exactly the who’s who of big conference football, left many thinking Chang might be overwhelmed. The only win in September was a 10-point home win over FCS Duquesne.
However, since the calendar hit October, the turnaround has been impressive. In its last 7 games, aside from blows from hot Fresno State, Hawaii has lost four one-score games and upset UNLV last week, ending the Rebels’ hopes of bowl eligibility. On the surface, 2-5 during that stretch and 3-9 overall doesn’t seem like much to write home about, but anyone who’s watched those opening games can tell just how far this team has come. This leaves fans excited about the future. With no bowl game in sight, this is one last time to don uniform for several Rainbow Warriors, and if last month’s plus is any indication, they’ll be putting everything on the field for Chang.
Looking specifically at what Hawaii has been doing better lately, the running game really got going when Dedrick Parson put up over 100 yards in back-to-back games. QB Brayden Schager comes off a 3 TD outing against the rebels. Revenue has been a major concern for the Rainbow Warriors for much of the year as they rank near the bottom 10 in FBS football in terms of revenue margin. With the performance of the Spartans defense lately, Parson could find some careers in this one.
The UH defense was also better, but will never be mistaken for an elite unit. They struggle to generate turnovers, forcing only eight all season, and allow for a large number of explosive games. Three of their last four opponents have had a touchdown of 50 yards or more. This is a bad recipe against Cordeiro and Elijah Cooks. Hawaii also doesn’t generate much pressure from their front seven, with a very low number of sacks and tackles for loss. This should be a good matchup for an inconsistent SJSU offensive line.
For the Spartans there is no way around it. After putting themselves in a position to compete in the Mountain West Conference championship game, the last month has been disappointing. A loss to Fresno State preceded lackluster efforts against struggling teams in Nevada and Colorado State. The wheels really fell off in San Diego State two weeks ago, and last weekend saw a predictable disappointment in cold Logan against Utah State.
The offense did its part, particularly the aforementioned duo of Cordeiro and Cooks. They connected 7 times for 125 yards and 3 TDs. Cordeiro also faced Justin Lockhart 6 times for a total of 257 yards with 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. Kariee Robinson used his low weekly carry total, this time 12, to gain 70 yards. There shouldn’t be a reason why the Dexterity players aren’t putting up big numbers again for the Spartans this week.
It was the other side of the ball that let San Jose State down a week ago. Missed defences, missed tackles and lack of aggression were much more noticeable than in other games. This is a defensive group that was ranked in the top 10 points nationally for the last two weeks. Utah State has nice players in the RB and WR positions, but they shouldn’t muster 450 yards of total offense against SJSU.
The schematic matchups always take into account how a game is played. But this is week 13 of the season. Things like focus and motivation play a much bigger role in all of college football. San Jose State hasn’t looked like the team we saw earlier this year in quite some time. Will that change this weekend? That’s the million dollar question.
Teams play for the Dick Tomey Legacy Trophy. The legendary coach, who passed away in 2019, served as head coach of both schools throughout his career. It’s also Senior Day, and 13 Spartans, including many who made significant contributions to the 2020 Mountain West Conference Championship team, will be honored before the game. These include Junior Fehoko, Lando Grey, Cade Hall, Kyle Harmon, Alii Matau, Nehemiah Shelton and Noah Wright. Will her teammates send her out of the CEFCU Stadium as winners and keep that perfect 5-0 home record intact? Given how Hawaii have been playing lately, you have to reckon they’re going to get one last great performance from them. The Spartans will obviously have a bowl game to play, but it would be nice to take out last month’s frustrations on a conference opponent. This is hard to understand other than believing that both teams get their share of points and eventually the home team does enough to earn the W.
Prediction: San Jose State 34 Hawaii 27
More shell projections!
Week 12 Mountain West Bowl projections
Week 11 Mountain West Bowl projections
Week 10 Mountain West Bowl projections
Story originally appeared on Mountain West Wire