Hawaii (0-1) at Oregon St. (0-1) / Reser Stadium / 5 PM PDT / Pac-12 Channel / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. and Hawaii meet in a game where one of them will bounce back from an opening weekend loss. And one will see their season already slipping into serious trouble. Especially if the one slipping and getting bounced is the Beavers.
The Beavers have a 5-3 edge in the series, including their 45-7 win in the only other meeting on the mainland, Jacquizz Rodgers' first home game back in 2008. Tonight's game begins a home and home exchange of games that will conclude with the Beavers visiting the islands next September 6th.
Oregon St. played a great offensive game in their opener against Eastern Washington, particularly quarterback Sean Mannion, who completed 37 of 43 passes, and at one point 20 of 21, for 422 yards and 3 touchdowns. 13 of those completions went to Brandin Cooks, for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Trouble was the Beavers barely slowed Eagles quarterback Vernon Adams, who sliced and diced the Oregon St. defense for 411 yards and 4 scores through the air, and added another 107 yards and 2 more touchdowns running, including the one that put Eastern Washington ahead for good in the 49-46 win with 18 seconds left.
Hawaii played a pretty good defensive game, limiting the USC quarterbacking tandem of Cody Kessler and Max Wittig to barely a 50% completion rate, and only 172 yards in the air with constant pressure.
Trouble was Rainbows quarterback Taylor Graham threw 4 interceptions himself, including a pair in a matter of a couple of minutes late in the first half, one of which led to a point blank score and the other a pick-6. Suddenly USC went from down 5-3 to well on their way to the 30-13 win.
As important as Graham's lack of accuracy; he was only 16 of 41, 39%(!); the Oregon St. defense will not be facing a quarterback whose' dangerous on the move; Graham lost 36 yards on the ground against the USC defense.
Given that Hawaii got only an aggregate of less than 60 yards from a group of 5 Rainbow rushers that make up a rebuilt backfield, the ground game isn't yet a major threat.
If Mannion and Cooks can come close to duplicating their accuracy and efficiency, and Storm Woods storms to a good evening (which seems possible as well, given that USC ran for 192 yards without Silas Redd, their leading rusher from last year, even being on the trip), the Oregon St. defense should also be able to regain some confidence, and get back to .500 before hitting the road for a pair of tougher games the next 2 weeks.
Oregon St. is about a 27 point favorite, but then the Beavers were picked by 20+ a week ago, and even had they pulled it out at the end, "covering" was never a consideration.
It's another black uniform evening, but not a black out, as Beaver Nation is encouraged to wear orange again this week. (Would it be too much for Oregon St. fans to coordinate by section? Looked good when Utah did it for their opener.)
Buildingthedam will be at the game, and back afterwards with complete coverage and analysis of the Beavers, as we begin to find out if they are able to bounce back.