After giving up 52 to Oklahoma State, the Beavers are set to take on another explosive offense. Hawaii scored 45 points in their shootout win over Arizona, and that’s in a game with a lot of offensive miscues. Hawaii’s full potential hasn’t been reached, and with Head Coach Nick Rolovich still seething about last year’s recruiting snafu, expect the Warriors to go all out trying to embarrass the Beavers. Here’s what to expect from Hawaii.
Hawaii’s most successful teams have historically featured strong armed quarterbacks throwing for a lot of yardage. Last year’s team was no exception. After Dru Brown transferred to Oklahoma State, Cole McDonald stepped in and had a big season, with 3.875 yards and 36 touchdowns.
It looked like 2019 would be more of the same, but there are some cracks in the armor. McDonald had a big game, with 378 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, but he also threw 4 touchdowns. That’s after throwing just 10 in 2018. Arizona has a solid secondary, but 4 interceptions is a catastrophe. Eventually Hawaii pulled McDonald and put in freshman Chevan Cordeiro, who settled down the offense and got the Warriors the win. Cordeiro threw for 58 yards and one touchdown.
Hawaii is sticking with McDonald as their starter, but a controversy may be brewing. McDonald definitely has a good connection with receiver Cedric Byrd; the two connected for three touchdowns against Arizona (Byrd added a fourth with Cordeiro). Byrd’s 224 yards in his first game make him the number one receiver in college football at the moment, with Oregon State’s Isaiah Hodgins two spots behind him.
Hawaii is absolutely not a rushing team, but continuity on the offensive line and with the RBs means the rushing game has a chance to contribute more this season. McDonald can make plays with his feet, and was one of the team’s leaders in rushing yards and touchdowns last season. Miles Reed grabbed the most carries in game 1, while Dayton Furuda grabbed the most yards (42) and a touchdown. Expect the running game to stay balanced.
Last year, Hawaii’s defense was built around generating big plays. When they got there game going, they could generate a lot of pressure, with 30 sacks last season. But when they were out of step, they were one of the easiest teams in the country to hit with a big play.
That propensity for giving up big plays showed up again against Arizona, with Khalil Tate pulling off a 31 yard run and Stanley Berryhill grabbing a 57 yard reception. After allowing 34 points per game last season, they allowed 35 in their first game of 2019.
The defense is mostly intact last season, and after starting a lot of freshmen and sophomores, coordinator Corey Batoon is hoping that continuity will improve the Warriors D, not unlike what the Beavers are going through. The matchup between Hawaii’s D-Line and the Beavers O-Line is one of the best opportunities for Oregon State to work a favorable matchup. Hawaii has a good Nose Tackle in Blessman Ta’ala, but the line as a whole only rises to the level of decent. With Gus Lavaka and Blake Brandel blocking for Jermar Jefferson, the Beavers could put up some huge rushing numbers.
The passing defense is better, and the strongest unit on D. Corner Rojesterman Farris is a pass deflecting machine, and safety Ikem Okeke managed to pick off Khalil Tate in the opener.
Both teams are going to put up a ton of points. The over/under for the game is currently around 77, and I might take the over on that. Both team’s breaking 40. I think the problem for Oregon State is that what kept Arizona in the game was there ability to generate turnovers, which the Beavers have been dismal at for the past few seasons.
I think the game comes down to just how much pressure the Beavers new Defensive Line can put on McDonald. When he was forced to make plays with his feet against Arizona, he made mistakes. Hawaii also gave up a lot of sacks in 2018, though only gave up one in week one. If the Beavers can get into the backfield they can win.
I still think Hawaii has the edge, so I’ll they take the win 49-45. Should be an exciting game with a ton of scoring.