Washington Huskies

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors vs. UW Huskies: Can Washington rebound from loss to Cal?

HAWAII (2-0) vs. No. 23 WASHINGTON (1-1)

When: 4:30 p.m., Saturday

Where: Husky Stadium

TV: Pac-12 Network

Radio: KOMO-AM 1000/FM-97.7

Outlook: Washington is coming off a disappointing loss to Cal in a game that featured a 2 hour and 39 minute lightning delay. Hawaii opened the season with two victories over Pac-12 teams in Arizona and Oregon State.

The Rainbow Warriors run the run-and-shoot offense, which typically features one running back and four wide receivers. The system emphasizes receiver motion and on-the-fly route adjustments based on coverage.

“They will basically play opposite of what you’re doing,” said UW defensive coordinator Jimmy Lake. “If you’re playing on the inside, they’re going to break outside. It’s not just a designed route and they have to run the route right into the coverage.”

Hawaii is averaging 541.5 yards of total offense and 38.0 points per game. They rank fourth in the country in passing yards per game (428.5) and 14th in total offense.

Meanwhile, the Huskies will be looking to reignite an offense that struggled against the Golden Bears. Jacob Eason completed 18-of-30 passes for 162 yards and an interception. He was also sacked three times. While Salvon Ahmed rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries, UW failed to capitalize in the red zone. The Huskies reached Cal territory on eight drives, but three of those ended in field goals.

“One of the things I said after the game, we kicked a lot of field goals,” Petersen said. “Maybe that’s on me for not going for it more. That’s another situation where maybe we need to take some more chances going for it. Conventional wisdom says you got to take the points. … You look at a lot of this analytics stuff, they are going to tell you to go for it more than they are going to tell you to kick field goals.”

UW player to watch: The receivers. In the loss to Cal, the Huskies had at least six drops. Asked about the cause, wide receivers coach Junior Adams and his players all highlighted the same problem — many of the drops happened because players were looking to gain yards after the catch before securing the football. After a week where senior Andre Baccellia said they returned to the basics, the Huskies will be looking to bounce back.

Hawaii player to watch: Quarterback Cole McDonald is the arm behind Hawaii’s offense. In the first two games, he completed 59-of-93 passes for 799 yards and eight touchdowns. But he’s also thrown five interceptions, which leads us to…

Keep an eye on: UW’s defensive backs. This will be a challenge for a young group that had a few missteps against Cal. Hawaii’s offense will be a test, but it will also provide plenty of opportunities for the secondary to make plays.

Lauren Kirschman is the UW Huskies beat writer for The News Tribune. She previously covered the Pittsburgh Steelers for PennLive.com. A Pennsylvania native and a University of Pittsburgh graduate, she also covered college athletics for the Beaver County Times from 2012-2016.
Support my work with a digital subscription