This is the second part of our in depth look at the Hawaii Warriors 2008 campaign. The last time we left off, the Warriors were standing at 1-1 with their home opening win over FCS foe Weber State. But unfortunately for Hawaii, things would get worse before they got any better.
Game three included a trip out to Corvallis, against a good Oregon State team which beat up on the Warriors 45-7. In this contest, Hawaii had less total yards than any game in the last ten years (211 yards). Tyler Graunke got the start, which made him the third quarterback to play for the Warriors this season. The Beavers racked up a lot of rushing yards against Hawaii which was not atypical because Oregon State pounded the ball on almost everyone they faced this season.
So this was not the same Hawaii club we saw the previous year under June Jones and Colt Brennan as they were struggling early and dropped to 1-2 on the year.
The next week the Warriors faced WAC foe San Jose State. This was a real big surprise, because Hawaii generally plays great at Aloha Stadium and the Spartans are not that great, but lost to San Jose St. 20-17. And this showed they were a struggling football team. Losing to San Jose St. was, I'm sure; something Greg McMackin had not planned on at the beginning of the year.
Hawaii had six turnovers against the Spartans. They did a decent job defensively in holding San Jose St., but four interceptions and two fumbles was just too much to overcome. This was the Warriors second, six turnover performance of the season (Florida). That obviously was an early season problem the Warriors had to correct to right their ship.
One of the reasons why Hawaii turned it around was the play of quarterback Alexander. I'm not sure why it took so long for the Warriors to settle on him to be their quarterback. He started the first game, and then didn't get the not till the end of the year.
These were two very interesting games but this team does not look anything like games three and four. They made those changes at QB with Alexander as they finished up 7-6. The Warriors played very competitively against Cincinnati, which shows that they're a quality team that can play with anybody.
For the Fighting Irish, it's going to be very tough to win because the Warriors play extremely tough at Aloha Stadium and will be traveling quite a ways for the Christmas Eve showdown. It doesn't mean here's no reason why the Irish can't play the way they're capable of, unlike the second half of the season.
Last week, Tom Lemming said Notre Dame is definitely more talented than Hawaii, but then again, the Irish are more talented than 11 of the other teams they faced this season. At some point the talent will have to show up on the field. A good start would be 12/24/08!
Tomorrow will look back at Hawaii's contest with Fresno State and Louisiana Tech.