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Major test vs. Hawaii awaits Idaho

Last year, Idaho played one of its most complete games in silencing Hawaii. But that was in Moscow — far away from Honolulu and the Warriors’ Aloha Stadium. UH is always much tougher at home, and it’s playing much better now than at this point in 2009.

The Vandals and Warriors will square off at 8:30 Pacific. We’ve got more below.


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First, we should mention tonight’s game, on pay-per-view, will be streamed at this site — for a fee of $12.56. It looks like it will also air at ESPN3.com.

As for links, we have our preview of the game while the Idaho Statesman has this look at Tre’Shawn Robinson. The AP in Hawaii also has a preview. And the Honolulu Star Advertiser has an extensive advance in which it provides an interesting nugget on Nathan Enderle’s reported Wonderlic test score of 40 or 41.

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Last night I was on a Honolulu radio station and the hosts asked how the Vandals will scheme to slow down Hawaii’s top-rated passing attack. My answer: They must generate pressure from their front four without having to blitz their linebackers and Shiloh Keo too often.

Hawaii has done a pretty nice job of keeping Bryant Moniz on his feet. It’s allowed 2.25 sacks per game (tied for 75th in the nation), but keep in mind the Warriors attempt (and complete) more passes than any team in the nation. In eight games they’ve thrown it 356 times. For comparison, Idaho has attemped 305 passes while the second-highest total in the country belongs to Texas Tech at 332 in seven games.

As the Honolulu paper mentioned, UH’s goal is to allow one sack per 20 pass attempts. So far it’s allowing one sack per 22.44 passes. And 8 of the 18 allowed sacks have been coverage sacks, according to the Star Advertiser.

Here’s Robb Akey’s general scouting report, “Their quarterback is a great player. We’ve played against him before. He does a fantastic job. He makes things happen. He’s got wideouts to get the ball to. I really like No. 1 (Greg Salas). I like how he plays. … I look at that running back (Alex Green), that’s a physical guy and he runs hards. … He’s got my attention. Obviously, they’ve got a big offensive line.”

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We mentioned above that Hawaii is much better at home traditionally than the road. But just to show how well UH has played this season, check out its scores on the road: 31-28 win at Army, 31-13 loss at Colorado, 49-27 win at Fresno State and a 45-7 win at Utah State. That last game, played in poor conditions in Logan, stuck out to Akey. He mentioned this week that Hawaii handled the inclement weather better than Utah State did.

Other notes:

Hawaii has won its last eight homecoming games, and Idaho has served as the homecoming opponent in its last three road games. … Hawaii is a 15-point favorite; a win gives the Warriors bowl eligibility. … UH leads the WAC in turnover margin while Idaho leads the nation in forced fumbles. Turnovers, in other words, will be key.

 


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Jim Allen Sports reporter Jim Allen's primary coverage areas are Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, and college and high school soccer. He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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