Hawaii (1-8) at Air Force (5-5)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 16, 9:30 pm (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Falcon Stadium (46,692) -- United States Air Force Academy, Colorado. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Hawaii 1-3, Air Force 4-1. Away Record: Hawaii 0-5, Air Force 1-4. Neutral Record: Hawaii 0-0, Air Force 0-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 0-6, Air Force 4-2. Series Record: Air Force leads, 11-6-1.
GAME NOTES: Still searching for their first road win of the season, the Hawaii Warriors try to make it happen in Colorado on Friday night as the team tangles with the Air Force Falcons in Mountain West Conference play.
Not only are the Warriors trying to notch their first win of the season on the mainland, they have also come up empty in conference play as well, losing all six outings since joining the MWC. In fact, the only win that Hawaii has been able to celebrate was an awkward 54-2 final over Lamar in the third week of the season.
Last weekend Hawaii entertained the Boise State Broncos, a team which has been a BCS buster for a number of years but also hit a few snags here in 2012. While the Warriors really didn't stand a fighting chance, the score should have still been a bit more respectable than the 49-14 defeat.
As for the Falcons, they appeared to be well on their way to making themselves bowl eligible for the sixth straight season only a few weeks ago, but since running off three straight wins the Academy has been hampered by a pair of setbacks. First it was a 41-21 blowout loss to Army of all teams earlier this month, and then last week Air Force was limited to a season-low nine points in a 19-point road loss at San Diego State which also dropped the team to 4-2 in league play.
Hawaii delivered a 52-30 win in the last matchup more than a decade ago, but the team still trails in the all-time series by a count of 11-6-1. The winner of the meeting will be awarded the Kuter Trophy, a tradition that began in 1980 when both teams were members of the Western Athletic Conference.
Saddled with a seven-game losing streak, new Hawaii head coach Norm Chow could not have seen this coming when he took over the program. Against Boise State the Warriors actually had the game tied early in the first quarter thanks to a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by Mike Edwards, but after that the team provided little excitement.
Quarterbacks Sean Schroeder and Jeremy Higgins combined to throw 21-of-36 for 254 yards and a pair of interceptions, while also being sacked a collective six times. Because of those quarterback takedowns, the Warriors finished with minus-14 yards rushing and a total of just 240 yards of offense altogether.
Once the epitome of a passing machine, the Warriors have gone from one of the most productive aerial assaults in the nation to 96th nationally with a mere 195.4 ypg. One might think the change in attack would then result in a more favorable rushing output, but that hasn't been the case either with the team producing a mere 99.8 ypg on the ground to rank 113th in the country.
Outside of the two points allowed to Lamar, scored when Hawaii failed on a PAT late and it was returned the other way 98 yards, opponents have enjoyed seemingly open access to the end zone, to the point where they are averaging 43.3 ppg which is second-most in the country.
Another interesting stat for the Warriors has them giving up 209.8 ypg rushing, an effort that will truly be tested by Air Force this week.
Once again the under-sized Falcons are one of the most successful running teams in the country, coming in at number two (behind only Army, 366.1 ypg) with an average of 335.3 ypg. Even though they didn't defeat San Diego State, the Falcons still generated 320 yards and a score on the ground.
Cody Getz, one of the nation's top runners with 111.8 ypg, finished with only 55 yards on 15 attempts. Quarterback Connor Dietz, who is always good for a handful of quality runs himself, managed to gain just 42 net yards due to the fact that he was sacked three times which is quite unusual given that the Academy hadn't given up a single sack through the first nine games of the season.
Even though the Falcons tend to shy away from passing the ball, Dietz has managed to work a few plays into his repertoire and is now averaging more than 100 ypg through the air and has tossed seven touchdowns.
Because the Falcons can sometimes trip up defenses with their passing ability, the Warriors have to be careful not to load up the box and crowd the line of scrimmage this week because Air Force will make them pay.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Air Force 41, Hawaii 23
11/14 10:41:24 ET