SDSU vs Hawaii Preview: Homecoming Night

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Credit: MWC
Credit: MWC

San Diego State Aztecs (7-1, 4-0) vs Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (4-5, 3-2)

Saturday November 5, 2016 4:00 PM on CBSSN

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California



The San Diego State Aztecs host the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors in this years homecoming game.

The Aztecs are continuing their quest for another Mountain West Conference Championship, as they are now seeking their 16th straight conference win. A victory would uphold their top spot in the country, for most active consecutive conference wins.

They also come into this game riding a four-game winning streak, in which they have beaten all four opponents by a combined score of 125-26.

The Rainbow Warriors, however, are not riding such a high wave, but they will not let this keep them down. They will be looking to move to .500 with a victory this Saturday in San Diego. Although they are only 4-5, three of those wins have come within the Mountain West Conference, and they are 3-2 in their last five.

Aside from blowout losses in Michigan and Arizona, all of Hawai’i’s games have been relatively close. They have shown the capability to score big in games, like a 38-17 win in Nevada and a 41-36 win against UT Martin. But the Aztec defense is no easy ride.

What to Watch:

Don’t Sleep on the Aztec Defense

Before allowing a touchdown last weekend, the defense held opposing offenses scoreless through 175 snaps, which was the longest streak in the country at the time. They also have allowed only 4.3 points-per-game against conference opponents, which leads the nation as well. They’re ranked inside the top-five in Total Defense, Rushing Defense, Rushing Yards Per Carry, Passing Efficiency, Touchdowns Allowed, Passing Defense, and Scoring. If that doesn’t scare an offense, then I’m not sure what can. They also rank as number four overall in points allowed per game since 2014 with only 17.8. They have allowed the 7th fewest yards since 2014 with 302.5 per game.

Watch Out for the Offense 

San Diego State has averaged 32.0 points in its last 27 games (since Nov.  2014). Last season, the Aztecs scored 450 points in 14 games (32.1 ppg), which ranked 46th nationally. This year, they are putting on a scoring display game after game, averaging 33.5 ppg while scoring 40 or more points in half of their contests. A Heisman worthy D.J. Pumphrey and Rashaad Penny connection, combined with an ever-improving Christian Chapman, and the Aztec offense is as dangerous as any in the nation.

Key Matchups 

Kazee vs Kemp

Marcus Kemp is the Rainbow Warriors leading receiver this season. He has shown himself as someone to worry about, picking up six touchdowns in his nine games played. He is averaging 96.7 yards per game, racking up 876 yards on 50 catches. Kazee is the Aztecs CB1 and has shown time and time again that he is an immediate threat to any quarterback and their number one receiver.

Tavai vs SDSU O-Line

Jahlani Tavai is Hawai’i’s leading tackler by far. He has wrapped up 81 total tackles this season, 51 of those being solo, and 26 of those being combined for a loss of 10 yards. He’s scorched opposing lineman, and sacked their quarterback a total of three times this season for a total loss of 14 yards. He is no stranger to the backfield, so watch for him to be there a number of times this Saturday.


The Rainbow Warriors have conquered their way through the Pacific and made it to San Diego, home of the Aztec warriors. The two will face off in a brutal match up that I believe will end in a well-fought, but clearly dominant victory by the Aztecs. The offense will be too high-powered and the Aztec’s defense will be too strong for any Rainbow Warrior. The Aztecs will reign victorious on homecoming night by a score of 41-17.

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