South Alabama (2-10) at Hawaii (2-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Dec. 1, 11 pm (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Aloha Stadium (50,000) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: Oceanic Pay-Per-View. Home Record: USA 2-4, Hawaii 2-3. Away Record: USA 0-6, Hawaii 0-6. Neutral Record: USA 0-0, Hawaii 0-0. Conference Record: USA 1-7, Hawaii 1-7. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: A pair of disappointing programs get together in Honolulu on Saturday, as the South Alabama Jaguars take on the Hawaii Warriors in non- conference play at Aloha Stadium.
South Alabama, which is winless on the road this season in six tries, is a transitioning member of the Sun Belt Conference and enters the weekend having dropped five straight decisions since taking down Florida Atlantic in double- overtime back on Oct. 20 by a score of 37-34. More recently, the team was throttled by Louisiana on the road last weekend in a lopsided 52-30 outcome.
As for the Warriors, now members of the Mountain West Conference after spending time in the WAC, they are under the direction of first-year head coach Norm Chow. The team had just one win this season, against a team from the FCS, heading into last week but finally managed to take care of UNLV in conference play at home in a 48-10 final. The victory over the Rebels snapped an eight-game slide by Hawaii.
In terms of the relationship between these two programs, this game is the first ever on the football field.
South Alabama scored the first points of the game against the Ragin' Cajuns last week, but it wasn't long before the team fell behind by double figures and eventually coughed up a 22-point loss on the road. Quarterback Ross Metheny tried to keep his squad competitive with 27-of-44 for a career-high 360 yards and two touchdowns, but he was sacked three times in the contest.
Jlian Valentin handled the ball just three times coming out of the backfield, yet he led the group with 34 rushing yards and a score, while kicker Michel Chapuseaux bounced back from having his first field goal attempt blocked by nailing three in a row.
Defensively, South Alabama gave up 538 yards of total offense to the Ragin' Cajuns, an average of more than eight yards per snap. The Jags also didn't do themselves any favors by being flagged 11 times for 89 yards either. For the season, USA is averaging close to 70 yards per game in penalties.
Opponents have been lighting up the Jags in the first half in 2012, posting a total of 223 points, which is just 10 points shy of the total USA has had in every game combined. The second quarter has been particularly unfriendly to the group, with opponents generating 119 points, compared to only 49 for South Alabama.
Metheny has taken the bulk of the stats for the program this season, leading to his 2,037 passing yards and 12 touchdowns, but he has also issued 10 interceptions and that has prevented the team from being competitive. Jereme Jones stands as the top receiver for the group with 44 catches for 503 yards, making his way into the end zone seven times.
Sure, the Warriors scored a season-high in points last week as they crushed visiting UNLV, but the effort has come far too late to change the perception of the team. Quarterback Sean Schroeder stepped in to convert 13-of-24 passes for 201 yards and a touchdown, shaking off three sacks, while Will Gregory, Joey Iosefa and Sterling Jackson all made their way into the end zone on the group which was an unexpected change for program that has historically been a pass-happy bunch.
In addition to nearly shutting down the UNLV offense, the Hawaii defense also contributed in the scoring column as defensive back John Hardy-Tuliau picked off a pass and ran it back 37 yards for a touchdown. Not wanting to be left out of the fun, special teamer Scott Harding brought back a punt 69 yards for a TD early in the fourth quarter of the meeting as well.
Schroeder has been under center most of the time this season for the Warriors, but that experience has been anything but fun most of the time as he has converted just 51.1 percent of his pass attempts for a total of 10 touchdowns, matching his interception total. Instead of having one reliable outlet down the field, Schroeder had eight teammates with double-digit catches, but none with more than 30 or a pair of scoring receptions.
Both of these teams are limited in what they can do and perhaps the only reason Hawaii gets the nod is because it doesn't have to travel for the contest.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Hawaii 28, South Alabama 23
11/28 10:39:59 ET