New Mexico vs. Hawaii prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday night’s matchup between the Lobos and Rainbow Warriors.
When: Saturday, Oct. 29 – 11:59 p.m. ET
Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
What started as an up-and-down season for New Mexico (4-3) has quickly found new hope. After starting 2-3 with losses to New Mexico State, Rutgers and Boise State, the Lobos have won back-to-back games against Air Force and UL Monroe, and they outscored both opponents combined, 104-57. New Mexico beat the Warhawks this past weekend, 59-17.
In terms of Hawaii (4-4), the last four games have gone better than the first four games. The Rainbow Warriors began 1-3, but since then they’ve gone 3-1 with wins over Nevada, San Jose State, and most recently, Air Force. Hawaii did need double overtime to take down the Falcons, 34-27, though.
In the all-time series between these two Mountain West programs, the Rainbow Warriors hold the edge, 14-9. However, the Lobos have won the last six meetings with Hawaii. Last year’s matchup in Albuquerque ended with a 28-27 victory for New Mexico.
What To Know About New Mexico
The Lobos didn’t ask quarterback Lamar Jordan to do too much, but he did enough. Jordan completed 5-of-9 passes for 107 yards and one touchdown. That lone scoring strike went to Dameon Gamblin, who caught the one pass from 10 yards out. In fact, seven different players caught only one pass for New Mexico. JaJuan Lawson was 2-of-2 passing for the Lobos, and there’s a chance he could start against Hawaii considering Jordan has a hamstring injury, and Austin Apodaca is still recovering from a collarbone fracture.
While the passing game was somewhat boring, the ground game was working great. Tyrone Owens exploded for 171 rushing yards and a touchdown on nine carries. Teriyon Gipson took his eight touches for 84 rushing yards and a score. And then Richard McQuarley, Diquon Woodhouse and Daryl Chestnut all combined for 183 rushing yards with one touchdown apiece.
What to Know About Hawaii
The running game for the Rainbow Warriors wasn’t as effective. Paul Harris and Diocemy Saint Juste combined for 71 rushing yards on 16 carries. The only rushing touchdown was recorded by Steven Lakalaka, who ended up with four yards on three attempts.
Dru Brown was given the green light to sling the ball, though. He completed 21-of-37 passes for 312 yards with three touchdowns. But he was also picked off twice. Two of those touchdowns went to Marcus Kemp. He finished with six catches for 151 yards with the longest reception having gone for 41 yards. John Ursua did his best to try and match him with seven grabs for 108 yards. Ursua had only one touchdown, and his longest reception went for 40 yards.
Offense: Hawaii – If Brown is going to throw three touchdowns per game, the Rainbow Warriors just need to get the halfbacks going, and then they’ll really get going.
Defense: New Mexico – The Lobos are ranked No. 50 in total defense, allowing 377.9 yards per game. Hawaii is near the bottom at No. 118 (477.8 yards/game).
Special Teams: Hawaii – Rigoberto Sanchez hasn’t missed a kick yet this season. He’s totaled 55 points.
Coaching: Hawaii – Nick Rolovich seems to have gotten his team energized after a sluggish start and is looking to finish the season strong.
Matchup To Watch
Hawaii halfbacks vs. New Mexico defense
Last time out, the Rainbow Warriors took to the air, but they’ll need to move the ball on the ground to help balance out the offense and create some opportunities for Brown in the passing game. Saint Juste and Harris have to be the heavy hitters. If they can break free for some big runs, Hawaii will get the Lobos on their heels. Lakalaka can find some touches, and Hawaii can use its three-headed monster to control the clock.
Spread: Hawaii -3
New Mexico vs. Hawaii Prediction
The Rainbow Warriors let Brown drop back quite a bit last time out, but they’ll work the running game more this time. Brown will still get his two passing touchdowns, but he’ll get picked off again, too. Saint Juste will find the end zone first, and Lakalaka will follow. New Mexico will try to match with its running game, and it’ll narrow the gap heading into halftime, but Hawaii will distance itself enough in the second half to take the win at home.
New Mexico vs. Hawaii Score Prediction: Hawaii 34, New Mexico 24