Arizona at Hawai’i
When: Saturday, August 24th 10:30 PM EDT
Where: Aloha Stadium, Halawa, Hawaii (50,000)
How to Watch: CBS Sports Network, CBS Sports.com (subscription required)
See the 2019 CSJ Arizona team preview here.
The Coach Kevin Sumlin era did not get off to a good start in Tucson last year. A 5-7 campaign was book-ended by a pair of heartbreaking losses, including losing 41-40 at home to rival Arizona State that cost the Wildcats bowl eligibility. The Rainbow Warriors surrendered 35.1 points a game last season, gave up over 200 rushing yards a contest and allowed 25 plays of 40 yards or more. So expect Arizona to score a lot in this one.
Players to watch: The Wildcats return a wealth of experience on both sides of the ball and boast one of the most dynamic quarterback-running back duos in the country in Khalil Tate and J.J. Taylor. Tate entered last season as a Heisman candidate, but was slowed by early struggles and finished with 2,530 passing yards and 26 touchdowns. Taylor logged 1,434 rushing yards on 255 carries with six touchdowns.
Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors
See the 2019 CSJ Hawai’i Team preview here.
The Rainbow Warriors shattered expectations last year with eight wins and a bowl berth after most experts widely picked them to finish last in the the Mountain West. Hawaii led the Mountain West Conference with 310.3 passing yards per game and scored at least 42 points on five occasions. Hawaii’s offense will put pressure on an Arizona defense that ranked near the bottom of the Pac-12 in points allowed (32.6) and yards per play (5.73) last season. Additionally, the Wildcats finished 11th in the Pac-12 in pass efficiency defense. Those numbers are obviously a concern for Sumlin against Hawaii’s high-powered attack.
Players to Watch: QB Cole McDonald efficiently ran the pass-happy offense preferred by Coach Nick Rolovich and threw for 3,875 yards and 36 touchdowns last year. His top receiving weapon is senior WR Cedric Boyd, who had 79 catches for 970 yards and nine touchdowns. Look for this duo to be all over the field.
Fearless Predictions from the College Sports Journal Staff:
Kent: Hawai’i 55 Arizona 49 – Cole McDonald and the Rainbow Warriors will out score the Wildaats and win it late in the game on a come-from-behind late touchdown.
Ben: Arizona 42 Hawaii 35 – Cole McDonald is a talented Mountain West QB, but ultimately the Rainbow Warrior defense will not have enough depth to contain Arizona’s speed or strength.
Chuck: Arizona 52 Hawaii 49 – This is going to be an incredibly fun game which will feature a lot of offense. Hawai’i could possibly poach the upset but I think the Wildcats have barely enough to eke out the win.
Jamie: Arizona 41, Hawaii 24 – This game looks like an easy Arizona win. Khalil Tate is poised for a big season as the Wildcats QB. What better time to show that than opening weekend?
Originally from LaMoure, North Dakota, Kent is a 1996 graduate of North Dakota State University. His prior writing experience is over 15 years having previously worked with D2football.com, I-AA.org, and College Sporting News before coming to College Sports Journal in 2016. His main focus is college football is the Missouri Valley Football Conference within the Division I FCS. And in 2017, he began also to look at the FBS Group of Five conferences of the American Athletic, Conference USA, Mid-American, Mountain West, and Sun Belt.
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