San Diego State vs. Hawaii prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday night’s matchup between the Aztecs and Rainbow Warriors.
When: Saturday, Nov. 5 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
TV Broadcast: CBSSN
The defending Mountain West champs have bounced back well after suffering their first loss of the season. San Diego State somehow fell to South Alabama, 42-24, on Oct. 1, but it has since ripped off four straight wins over UNLV, Fresno State, San Jose State and Utah State. Last week’s 40-13 win over the Aggies saw the Aztecs fall behind early before seizing the lead and the win.
Nick Rolovich’s team has teetered throughout this season. Hawaii (4-5) has seen ups and downs but has won three of its last five games after beginning the season at 1-3. The Rainbow Warriors picked up wins over Nevada, San Jose State and Air Force. However, they fell at home last weekend to New Mexico, 28-21.
The all-time series between San Diego State and Hawaii is clearly in favor of the Aztecs, 19-9-2. They’ve won the last four games over the Rainbow Warriors, including last season’s 28-14 victory in Honolulu.
What To Know About San Diego State
Last week’s win over Utah State was another game in which Donnel Pumphrey dominated. The Aztecs’ star tailback burst for 223 rushing yards on 32 carries but somehow never found his way into the end zone. Juwan Washington took care of that, though. He picked up 137 rushing yards and two touchdowns for San Diego State on 14 rushing attempts.
As far as the passing game is concerned, Christian Chapman wasn’t asked to do much, but he did enough. Chapman completed 4-of-9 passes for 14 yards and a touchdown. Again, it wasn’t a shining performance, but Rocky Long didn’t need him to do a lot with Pumphrey and Washington lighting the way. Chapman’s lone touchdown throw went to Quest Truxton for 10 yards. That was his only catch, and Chapman’s other three completions all went to separate players.
What to Know About Hawaii
Rolovich asked a lot more of Dru Brown than Long asked of Chapman last time out. Brown connected on 16-of-28 throws for 173 yards. He hooked up with Marcus Kemp eight times for 89 yards, and he found John Ursua five times for 44 yards. Keelan Ewaliko provided 31 receiving yards on only two catches as well.
On the ground, Diocemy Saint Juste ran for 77 yards on 17 carries but never found the end zone. No, that was up to Steven Lakalaka, who scored Hawaii’s final touchdown with a four-yard run in the fourth quarter against New Mexico. Lakalaka finished with 23 rushing yards on nine carries, and Paul Harris was bottled up for 12 yards on five attempts.
Offense: San Diego State – Pumphrey is a monster who’s a home run play waiting to happen.
Defense: San Diego State – The Aztecs are No. 5 in the nation in total defense, allowing 280.5 yards per game. Hawaii gives up 460.3 yards per game (No. 110).
Special Teams: Hawaii – Rigoberto Sanchez has yet to miss a field goal, and Paul Harris is dynamite in the kick return game.
Coaching: San Diego State – Long’s Aztecs are the defending conference champs — easy as that.
Matchup To Watch
San Diego State running game vs. Hawaii running game
Pumphrey and Washington are coming off huge games on the ground, and the Rainbow Warriors really didn’t do a whole lot in the running game last time out. Lakalaka, Harris and Saint Juste have to split carries and catch the Aztecs off balance in order to piece together some big plays and find some offensive momentum. Hawaii knows it won’t be able to slow down Pumphrey, but if it controls the clock with its own running game and keeps Pumphrey off the field, that works, too.
Spread: San Diego State -21.5
San Diego State vs. Hawaii Prediction
Be sure your TV has a slow motion feature because you’re going to want to slow things down and re-watch all of Pumphrey’s big runs. He’ll go way over 100 rushing yards and will ride out to the end zone a couple of times. Washington will spell him when needed, but the San Diego State star will shine bright here. Hawaii won’t be as effective running the ball, and the Rainbow Warriors will be down at halftime. The Aztecs will separate themselves even more in the second half to pick up the win.
San Diego State vs. Hawaii Score Prediction: San Diego State 35, Hawaii 17