FACTS & STATS: Site: Spartan Stadium (30,456) — San Jose, California.
Television: Oceanic PPV. Home Record: Hawaii 2-4, SJSU 2-2. Away Record:
Hawaii 0-4, SJSU 1-4. Neutral Record: Hawaii 0-0, SJSU 0-0. Conference Record:
Hawaii 1-4, SJSU 2-3. Series Record: San Jose State leads, 18-17-1.
GAME NOTES: Former members of the Western Athletic Conference get after each
other this weekend, as the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors pay a visit to the San Jose
State Spartans for a Mountain West Conference showdown.
The Warriors are a team that have found it difficult to come out on top when
they are playing anywhere other than Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Not only has
the team come up empty in all four trips to the mainland in 2014, but Hawaii
enters the week with the fourth-longest road losing streak in the nation at 17
in a row.
Hawaii, which won just once in 12 tries a season ago, has not triumphed on the
road since taking out the Idaho Vandals by a score of 16-14, in Moscow back on
Oct. 29, 2011. Coincidentally, that was also the last time the team won a
conference road game as well.
In terms of this season, Hawaii has a total of just two victories against
Northern Iowa and Wyoming. Since taking out the Cowboys in a surprising
decision last month, the Warriors have lost four straight, the latest being a
49-22 blowout versus Colorado State in Fort Collins last Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Spartans have only three wins under their belt this season, two
coming in conference play versus UNLV and Wyoming. The team has since come out
on the short end of three straight outings, the latest being a 38-24 decision
against Fresno State on the road last weekend. With a loss this Saturday, SJSU
can forget about being considered for a bowl game.
The Spartans captured a 37-27 win out on the island last season, and in doing
so moved a game ahead of Hawaii in the all-time series, 18-17-1.
Against a Colorado State squad destined to be included in the AP Top-25, the
Warriors more than had their hands full as they tried desperately to notch
that first road win in three years. Hawaii ended up posting 352 yards of total
offense on 85 plays, but that was still more than 200 yards shy of what the
Rams produced in Fort Collins.
Quarterback Ikaika Woolsey converted a miserable 16-of-47 pass attempts for
just 192 yards and a score, while being sacked twice and picked off two times
by an aggressive CSU defense. Scott Harding caught a team-high six balls for
63 yards and a score, while Joey Iosefa posted a team-best 64 rushing yards
and a TD in the setback.
Perhaps most notable about the defensive effort put forth by the Warriors was
the fact that the team failed to log even a single tackle behind the line of
The pass efficiency defense for the Warriors has been less than impressive
this season and now ranks 106th nationally with a rating of 142.91, so maybe
the poor display against Colorado State was not that much of a surprise.
On the offensive side, Woolsey’s awful accuracy issues last weekend
exacerbated an already disappointing passing attack that ranks 123rd in
efficiency with a rating of 97.35. Because Woolsey and the rest of the skill
players for Hawaii have struggled, it should not be all that surprising to
find the team averaging just 20.1 ppg (110th nationally).
Were it not for the fact that Fresno State scored three touchdowns in a span
of just over two minutes leading up to halftime, perhaps the Spartans would
not be dealing with another tally in the loss column this week. San Jose State
actually led by a touchdown until late into the second quarter at Bulldog
Stadium, but that was before the hosts rattled off four straight TDs to take
control and the eventual win.
SJSU quarterback Joe Gray threw for 350 yards and two touchdowns, including
one that stretched 86 yards to Jabari Carr who ended up with six catches for a
game-high 143 yards and two scores. But Gray also tossed a couple of picks as
he completed 26-of-44 passes. Tyler Ervin accounted for 76 yards and a TD on
the ground, but SJSU’s 86 net rushing yards paled in comparison to the 232
posted by Fresno State.
Christian Tago did his best to slow down the FSU running attack, finishing
with a game-high 13 tackles, of which two came behind the line of scrimmage.
Travis Raciti added two TFL and a sack as well.
Tago, who has appeared in eight of nine games, is now tied with Vince Buhagiar
for the team lead in tackles with 78, the former also pacing the program with
five TFL. As a group, the Spartans are first in the nation in pass defense
with just 124.4 ypg allowed through the air, but on the ground the unit is far
more lenient with 231.0 ypg permitted.
Gray is completing 64.7 percent of his passes for 212.2 ypg, but he’s thrown
almost as many INTs (eight) as TDs (10) to this point. Gray also has three
rushing touchdowns, which is second only to Ervin who has four, stemming from
101 carries that have generated 614 yards.
When you put together the top passing defense in the land against one of the
weakest passing attacks, chances are you’ll see a Hawaii team try to scrape by
with a lackluster running effort. Add to that the fact that the Rainbow
Warriors have been inept anywhere and everywhere other than Honolulu and this
one should wind up in favor of the Spartans.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: San Jose State 31, Hawaii 17