PREVIEW: HAWAII RAINBOW WARRIORS vs UCLA BRUINS

WARRIORS AT A GLANCE

 

GAME STORYLINES

  • This season marks the fourth time in the last five years that Hawai‘i will open the season with a true road game. UH has won the previous three — 2020 at Fresno State, 2018 at Colorado State and 2017 at UMass.

 

  • This year also marks the ninth time in the last 12 years that UH opens the season versus a Pac-12 squad. UH is 3-5 in those previous eight encounters, including a home win over Arizona in the 2019 season opener.

 

  • This will be UH’s second trip to the Rose Bowl in the last five seasons. UH fell to the Bruins, 56-23, in 2017.

 

  • UH’s last road/neutral win against a Pac-12 opponent was a 38-20 victory over Washington State in 2009 in a game played at Qwest Field in Seattle, Wash. Since then, UH has lost nine straight.

 

  • UH is 4-12 in its last 16 games versus Pac-12 opponents since 2010. The wins have come against Arizona (2019), Colorado (2011, ’15) and Oregon State (2019). UH’s last eight wins against Power 5 conferences have come against the Pac-12.

 

  • This week’s game is the first of seven roads contests for the Rainbow Warriors this season, the most regular season road games in the history of the program. In 2016, UH opened the season with a neutral site contest vs. Cal in Sydney, Australia, before playing six true road games.

 

  • UH seeks its fourth straight winning season, which was last accomplished from 2001-04. The Warriors have had a winning season in four of the last five years including a 5-4 mark in 2020.

 

  • UH has seven offensive starters back, highlighted by Calvin Turner Jr., an all-conference pick last year at receiver who enters this year as the nation’s leading returner in career all-purpose yards (4,359 yards).

 

  • The defense returns all 11 starters and is anchored by first-team all-MW linebacker Darius Muasau, who led FBS with 68 solo tackles and ranked fifth in tackles per game (11.8) last season.

 

  • UH begins its second year under Todd Graham, who led the Warriors to a 5-4 record and a win over Houston in the 2020 New Mexico Bowl. He was the first UH coach to post a winning record in his debut season since June Jones (9-4) in 1999.

 

  • UCLA, which went 3-4 in 2020, is coached by Chip Kelly, who begins his fourth season with the Bruins and has a 10-21 record at the school.

 

  • Kelly won the only head-to-head match-up against Graham as his Oregon squad defeated Graham’s Arizona State team, 43-21, in Tempe in 2012.

 

 

SEASON OPENERS

  • UH is 63-36-5 (.630) all-time in season openers, including a 7-6 mark on the road (includes game vs. Cal in Sydney).

 

  • This will mark the fifth time in six years and eighth time in the last 21 seasons that the Warriors will open the season away from home.

 

  • UH has won its last three road season openers, including a 34-19 win in Fresno last year.

 

  • Prior to 2006, the last time UH opened on the continent was 1992.

 

Season Openers on the Road (since 2000)

Opponent Year Score Site

Fresno State 2020 W, 34-19 Fresno

Colorado St. 2018 W, 43-34 Ft. Collins

UMass 2017 W, 38-35 Amherst

California 2016 L, 31-51 Sydney, Australia

USC 2012 L, 10-49 Los Angeles

Florida 2008 L, 10-56 Gainesville

Alabama 2006 L, 17-25 Tuscaloosa

 

HAWAI‘I VS. THE PAC-12

  • Hawai‘i holds an 32-62 (.340) record against current members of the Pac-12 conference including a 8-23 (.258) record on the road/neutral site.

 

  • UH’s last road/neutral win against a Pac-12 opponent was a 38-20 victory over Washington State in 2009 in a game played at Qwest Field in Seattle, Wash. Since then, UH has lost nine straight.

 

  • This year marks the ninth time in the last 12 years that UH opens the season versus a Pac-12 squad. UH is 3-5 in those previous eight encounters, including a home win over Arizona in the 2019 season opener.

 

  • The last time UH played two Pac-12 teams on the road/neutral site in the same season was 2016 (vs. Cal in Sydney, Australia and at Arizona). This season UH will play two Pac-12 road games — Aug. 28 (at UCLA) and Sept. 11 (at Oregon State).

 

  • UH is 4-12 in its last 16 games versus Pac12 opponents since 2010. The wins have come against Arizona (2019), Colorado (2011, ’15) and Oregon State (2019).

 

HAWAI‘I VS. THE POWER 5

  • Since 2003, UH has 12 wins versus teams from the Power 5 conferences—ACC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12 and SEC—in 39 opportunities.

 

  • UH’s last eight wins against Power 5 conferences have come against Pac-12 opponents.

 

  • The last time UH beat two Power 5 teams in the same season was 2006 (def. Purdue, 42-35 and Arizona State, 41-24).

 

Wins vs. Power 5 Conference Teams

Opponent Date Score Site

Oregon State 09/07/19 31-28 Honolulu

Arizona 08/24/19 45-38 Honolulu

Colorado 09/03/15 28-20 Honolulu

Colorado 09/03/11 34-17 Honolulu

at Washington St. 09/12/09 38-20 Seattle, Wash.

Washington St. 11/29/08 24-10 Honolulu

Washington 12/01/07 35-28 Honolulu

Arizona St. 12/24/06 41-34 Honolulu

Purdue 11/25/06 42-35 Honolulu

Michigan St. 12/04/04 41-38 Honolulu

Northwestern 11/27/04 49-41 Honolulu

Alabama 11/29/03 37-29 Honolulu

 

ROAD WARRIORS

  • In the last decade (not including COVIDshortened 2020 season), UH has played no less than six road games a year, including a programhigh seven this season.

 

  • In those seven road games, UH will travel approximately 40,400 air miles, the highest total since 2016 when UH totaled 46,568 air miles, that included trips to Sydney, Australia and Ann Arbor, Mich., in back-to-back weeks.

 

RETURNING PRODUCTION

  • UH returns 66 letterwinners and 21 starters — seven on offense and 11 on defense — from last year’s squad. Below is UH’s returning production.

 

2021 Returning Statistical Production

Category Total Returning Pct.

Points 236 224 94.9%

Touchdowns 30 28 93.3%

Pass Yds 2,083 2,083 100%

Rush Yds 1,372 1,000 72.9%

Rec Yds 2,083 1,436 68.9%

Total Off 3,455 3,083 89.2%

All-Purpose Yds 4,118 2,854 69.3%

Tackles 604 543 89.9%

Tackles For Loss 60 54 90.0%

Sacks 18 16 88.9%

Interceptions 12 11 91.7%

 

MAGIC NUMBER

  • Over the last two decades, when UH’s offense generates 500+ yards of total offense, it usually results in a victory.

 

  • Since 2000, UH is 71-10 when generating 500+ yards of total offense. UH reached 500+ yards three times last season in head coach Todd Graham’s new offense, all resulting in victories.

 

500+ Yards of Total Offense in 2020

Date Opponent Yards Result

10/24/20 at Fresno State 552 W, 34-19

11/7/20 New Mexico 503 W, 39-33

12/12/20 UNLV 530 W, 38-21

 

O-LINE EXPERIENCE

  • The offensive line boasts 111 combined starts between five different players.

 

  • Ilm Manning and Gene Pryor are back at the allimportant tackle positions. Manning has started 34 of 36 career games and earned all-Mountain West second-team

honors in 2019. Pryor meanwhile has been a stalwart at right tackle, starting all but two games the last two seasons.

 

  • Solo Vaipulu enters his fourth year with the program with the second-most career starts (32) of any Warrior. He’s been a mainstay at guard since entering the program in 2018.

 

  • Kohl Levao has missed virtually all of the last two seasons, playing in just five of 24 games during that span. When suited he’s been a menace on the line and legitimate pro prospect with his size, power, and ability to play all three spots on the line. The 6-6, 340-pound senior has started games at center, guard and tackle for the Warriors.

 

DUAL THREAT

  • Jacksonville University transfer Calvin Turner was the team’s most versatile athlete last season, lining up at slot receiver, running back, wildcat quarterback and returner on kickoffs and punts.

 

  • The Savannah, Ga., native is college football’s active career leader in all-purpose yards (4,359).

 

  • Turner led the team with 11 touchdowns last season (6 receiving, 4 rushing, 1 kickoff) and reached the endzone in seven of nine games.

 

  • Named the Most Outstanding Offensive Player of the New Mexico Bowl after scoring twice — a 75-yard reception in the first quarter and a 92-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.

 

  • Led the team in receiving yards (546), kickoff return yards (324), and all-purpose yards (1,201). He was also the team’s third-leading rusher (345) and averaged 11.4 yards per touch including five plays of 60-yards or more..

 

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN

  • In his first full season as the team’s starting quarterback in 2020, Chevan Cordeiro displayed a strong arm and quick feet as the team leader in both passing and rushing.

 

  • Cordeiro finished with 483 rushing yards on the year and was the first UH quarterback to lead the team in rushing since Michael Carter in 1991 (1,092 yards).

 

  • Cordeiro had three rushes of more than 50 yards last season and owned the team’s four longest rushes of the year.

 

  • The Honolulu native also led the team with seven rushing touchdowns and boasted a teamhigh in rushing yards in six of nine games.

 

  • Set new career highs in completions (33), attempts (43), yards (410) and touchdowns (4) in UH’s win over New Mexico in which he also rushed for 39 yards and another score to account for 449 yards of total offense and five touchdowns.

 

  • Rushed for a career-high 116 yards and two touchdowns against Fresno State, becoming the third UH quarterback in the last 10 seasons to crack 100 yards rushing, joining Cole McDonald (2019) and Bryant Moniz (2011).

 

THE SMART MONEY

  • Super-senior Jared Smart is back for his third season and is the leader of the wide receiver group after finishing last season with a team-high in receptions and gained all-Mountain West honorable mention.

 

  • In his two years at UH, Smart has been a steady force with at least one reception in all 24 career games at UH with at least three catches in all but two of those contests.

 

  • In his first season with UH in 2019, finished second on the team in receptions (87) and receiving yards (1,129) and led the team with five 100- yard receiving games.

 

ALL DAE (DAE)

  • The future is bright for Dae Dae Hunter who came in last season as a heralded high school recruit out of Chandler High School in Arizona.

 

  • Hunter played in all nine games last year, rushing for 183 yards and two touchdowns while deferring to veterans Calvin Turner, Jr., and Miles Reed. With the departure of Reed, Hunter should certainly play a more prominent role this season.

 

A TACKLING MACHINE

 

  • Darius Muasau was simply all over the field last season, and this year was named to the preseason All-Mountain West first team and to the watch lists for both the Bronko Nagurski and Chuck Bednarik awards which are presented to the nation’s top defensive player.

 

  • Led all of FBS with 68 solo tackles and ranked seventh with 104 total tackles. Ranked fifth nationally in tackles per game (11.8) while also leading the team in team in tackles-for-loss (9.5) sacks (4.5), and quarterback hurries (7).

 

  • The Mililani native was one of just two UH players in the last nine seasons to hit the century mark in season tackles (104) and amazingly did it during an abbreviated nine-game season.

 

  • Named the New Mexico Bowl’s Most Outstanding Defensive Player after posting nine tackles, a sack, three quarterback hurries and grabbed his first career interception with a third-quarter pick.

 

CORTEZ ISLAND

  • Cornerback Cortez Davis is a legitimate shutdown corner often matching up with the opposing team’s top threat.

 

  • The native of Decatur, Ga., enters his third season with the Rainbow Warriors after earning all-conference accolades in each of his first two years.

 

  • Has started 21 of 23 career games at UH, and this preseason was one of just 40 players selected to the watch list for the Jim Thorpe Award, which annually recognizes college football’s outstanding defensive back.

 

LEADER OF THE PACK

 

  • No one can question the productivity of Khoury Bethley who has accumulated 193 tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss one and 13 passes defended in 38 career games.

 

  • Finished second on the team in tackles in 2020 with 70 stops and was the team-leader in with 9.0 tackles-for-loss and six pass break-ups.

 

  • Shined in UH’s last two bowl wins with singlegame highs in tackles (14), tackles-for-loss (3) and sacks (2) against Houston in last season’s New Mexico Bowl win over Houston and picked off two passes against BYU in the 2019 Hawai‘i Bowl, including an interception in the final minute, that later earned him AP All-Bowl team honors.

 

  • Led the team in tackles (83) and solo wrapups (61) in 2019.

 

 

 

 

BRUINS AT A GLANCE

 

AT A GLANCE

*UCLA finished 3-4 in 2020, losing 4 games by a total of 15 points.

*UCLA opens the season with three home games for the first time since 2000 when it defeated Alabama, Fresno St. and Michigan.

*UCLA’s last non-conference win was over Hawai’i in 2017; Bruins have lost last 8 battles with non-conference opposition.

*Only two of UCLA’s 12 opponents finished 2020 with a sub .500 record

*Dorian Thompson-Robinson had highest QB pass efficiency rating (156.3) in 2020 for Bruin starter since 2005 (Drew Olson-161.6)

*UCLA led Pac-12 in points scored (248) as Bruin offense averaged over 35 points per game (35.4) for only fourth time since 1999.

*UCLA led Pac-12 in TDs scored in 2020 (31).

*UCLA led Pac-12 in sacks in 2020 (3.29/g).

*UCLA led Pac-12 in lowest average rushing yards/attempt (3.6) which was UCLA’s lowest mark since 2007 (3.0).

*UCLA tied for Pac-12 lead in interceptions (9).

*UCLA ranked 12th in nation in rushing yds/game (230.6).

*UCLA averaged 5.1 yards per rush – last time greater was in 1976.

*TE Greg Dulcich rated 13th in NCAA in receiving yds per catch (19.9)

*LB Caleb Johnson ranked 3rd in Pac-12 in sacks (0.79)

*RB Brittain Brown’s 6.6 average per rush with at least 80 carries was best by a Bruin since 1988 (Shawn WIlls also 6.6)

 

BRUINS TO OPEN 2021 SEASON IN PASADENA AGAINST HAWAI’I — UCLA’s 2021 schedule will feature seven home games on Speiker Field at the Rose Bowl, including the first three contests of the season. The Bruins open against Hawai’i on August 28 in a 12:30 p.m. contest to be broadcast by ESPN. The Bruin IMG Radio Network will broadcast the contest, which will also be aired by Westwood One and over SiriusXM and the Varsity App.

 

The Hawai’i battle will be the Bruins’ earliest season-opener ever — UCLA has played five previous games in the month of August (Aug. 29, 2019 – UCLA 14, at Cincinnati 24; Aug. 30, 2014 – UCLA 28, at Virginia 20; Aug. 31, 2013 – UCLA 58, Nevada 20; Aug. 30, 2012 – UCLA 49, at Rice 24; Aug. 30, 1997 – UCLA 34, at Washington State 37). The Bruins are 65-32-5 all-time in season openers. It will be the first home season-opener for UCLA since the 2018 season (a 17-26 loss to Cincinnati). UCLA posted its last non-conference win over the Rainbow Warriors in 2017 in the Rose Bowl. It has dropped the last eight encounters with non-league opposition.

 

Fourth-year head coach Chip Kelly was named UCLA’s head football coach on Nov. 25, 2017. Kelly owns a collegiate record of 56-28 compiled in three seasons at UCLA and in four seasons as the head coach at the University of Oregon (2009-12). During that span in Eugene, his Duck teams captured first place or a share of first in the North Division of the conference (three outright conference championships 2009-11) and four BCS bowl games. Kelly guided Oregon to appearances in a National Championship Game (2010), two Rose Bowls (after 2011 and 2009 seasons) and the Fiesta Bowl following the 2012 season. Kelly was named the 2009 and 2010 Pac-10 Coach of the Year, 2010 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year, 2010 Walter Camp Coach of the Year, 2010 Sporting News Coach of the Year, 2010 AFCA Coach of the Year Award and 2010 Associated Press Coach of the Year. In six of his seven seasons as a collegiate head coach, Kelly has produced a top-15 rated NCAA rushing leader in yards per game average — 2020: Demetric Felton, Jr., 14th; 2018: Joshua Kelley, 9th; 2012: Kenjon Barner, 4th; 2011: LaMichael James, 1st; 2010: LaMichael James, 1st; 2009: LaMichael James, 9th.

 

THE SERIES WITH HAWAII

A few of UCLA’s greatest players — Josh Rosen, Kenny Washington and Francis Wai — have been featured in UCLA’s series wins over the Rainbow Warriors.

 

In the last meeting with the Rainbow Warriors, Josh Rosen was 22 of 25 for 329 yards passing and found Darren Andrews for three of his career-high five touchdown passes as UCLA defeated Hawaii 56-23 in the Rose Bowl in 2017. Theo Howard and Caleb Wilson each caught a touchdown pass. Demetric Felton and Bolu Olorunfunmi both added 1-yard touchdown runs in the victory.

 

When the Bruins squared off against Hawai’i in a 1938 meeting in Honolulu, a 32-7 win, twenty-six UCLA players sailed over to Hawai’i on the S.S. Matsonia for that game which was played before a capacity crowd of 18,000 in the so-called Pineapple Bowl. The game was the last for coach Bill Spaulding who went on to become UCLA’s Athletic Director. College Football Hall of Famer Kenny Washington was a key member of the team that season. He led the squad that year in scoring (60 points), passing (214 yards and 3 touchdown passes), and rushing (573 yards) and scored in the game on a 15-yard run. Johnny Baida scored two touchdowns and Charley Fenenbock also found the end zone for the Bruins on a 19-yard run.

 

Washington would go on to be named UCLA’s first All-American following the 1939 season.

 

Also on that 1938 squad was backup quarterback Francis Wai. He also participated on the Bruin basketball, track and field and rugby teams. Following graduation, he enlisted in the Hawaiian National Guard, and was later promoted to the rank of a Captain for a unit that served in the Pacific theatre in World War II. On Oct. 20, 1944, Captain Wai lost his life leading a unit that eventually captured Red Beach in Leyte, Phillipines. Sixth-five years later, President Bill Clinton awarded Francis Brown Wai the Congressional Medal of Honor for his heroism and valor. Francis Wai was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame in 2014.