UNLV vs. Hawaii prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday night’s matchup between the Rebels and Rainbow Warriors.
When: Saturday, Oct. 15 – 11:59 p.m. ET
Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, Hawaii
Tony Sanchez’s Rebels (2-4) managed to snap their three-game losing streak in Week 5 when they took down Fresno State, 45-20. But this past weekend, UNLV wound up back on the wrong side of the scoreboard. It fell on the road to San Diego State, 26-7. The Rebels cut a 13-point deficit in half by halftime, but they were held scoreless in the second half, and the Aztecs cruised to the win.
As for Nick Rolovich’s team, it has finally started to get the ball rolling in the right direction. After starting the 2016 season at 1-3, the Rainbow Warriors (3-3) have now won back-to-back games. They won at home against Nevada on Oct. 1, 38-17. And this past weekend, Hawaii took down San Jose State on the road, 34-17.
Both UNLV and Hawaii have exchanged blows over the years, but the all-time series is still in favor of the Rainbow Warriors, 15-10. However, the Rebels won last year’s meeting in Las Vegas, 41-21.
What To Know About UNLV
Johnny Stanton is still out with that knee injury, so the Rebels need Dalton Sneed to be much better than he was against San Diego State. Sneed completed 2-of-12 passes for nine yards and an interception. He did rush for 56 yards on 12 carries, but UNLV is going to need more from its tailbacks. Lexington Thomas ran for 27 yards on nine carries. Charles Williams also got nine carries, and he totaled only 21 yards.
If the Rebels can run the ball more effectively and get more solid defensive performances from Troy Hawthorne and Tau Lotulelei, it’ll have a shot to win this game. Hawthorne and Lotulelei combined for 27 total tackles last week with three of Lotulelei’s being for loss.
What to Know About Hawaii
Speaking of running games, the Rainbow Warriors sort of found theirs against San Jose State. There wasn’t a breakout performance from a single player, but they got nice contributions from a few players. Diocemy Saint Juste had the least impressive output on the ground. He ran for 38 yards on 16 carries. However, Steven Lakalaka broke into the end zone once and rushed for 36 yards on four carries while Paul Harris added 29 yards on three attempts.
Quarterback Dru Brown also tacked on 54 yards and a touchdown six carries, but he also did some damage through the air as well. Brown completed 24-of-33 passes for 287 yards and two touchdowns. He hooked up with Dylan Collie for a score. Collie ended up with four catches for 54 yards. And Brown also found Ammon Barker for a touchdown, and Barker wound up with two grabs for 38 yards.
Offense: Hawaii – The Rainbow Warriors can really tote the rock when they want to, and as long as Brown protects the football, they’ll be fine.
Defense: UNLV – With Hawthorne and Lotulelei, the Rebels get the advantage. Oh, and they’re No. 73 in total defense — about 43 spots better than Hawaii.
Special Teams: Hawaii – Rigoberto Sanchez and Evan Pantels have yet to miss a field goal attempt so far, but the Rainbow Warriors are No. 47 in kick return yards allowed (19.95 per return).
Coaching: Hawaii – Even in his first year, it seems as though Rolovich has found a groove with his team.
Matchup To Watch
Hawaii running game vs. UNLV front seven
We’ve seen the Rainbow Warriors gash teams with their ground game, and they could easily do the same to the Rebels this time around. Saint Juste is coming off of a down game, but a couple big runs from him could spread out UNLV and allow for some creativity and versatility in the play calling. Lakalaka and Harris can both sprinkle in some tough runs, and Brown can provide the haymaker punches when he pulls the ball down and runs. The Rebels will need to maintain gap control and spy Brown.
Spread: Hawaii -9
Over/Under: UNLV 54.5
UNLV vs. Hawaii Prediction
UNLV has been able to stop the run at times this season, but it won’t stop Hawaii’s rushing attack. Brown and Saint Juste are going to set the stage for the Rainbow Warriors. Sneed will be much better this time around from the pocket. He’ll complete at least 50 percent of his passes, but he won’t be able to be a difference maker by throwing the football. Most of his damage will be done on the ground. Hawaii will hold off UNLV and pick up its fourth win of the season.
UNLV vs. Hawaii Score Prediction: Hawaii 27, UNLV 24