Washington Huskies vs. Hawaii Rainbow Warriors Game Preview

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Joe Broback

Contributor at Champion Insiders
Joe is a writer covering the NFL, NBA, NHL and college football. He also currently writes for SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty, covering the American Athletic Conference since 2016. Joe enjoys collecting shoes, playing sports, and anything fitness related.
Joe Broback
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If the season ended today, Hawaii would be the Pac-12 champions. Yep, you read that right. The Rainbow Warriors have the best record in a conference where they aren’t a member. After going 2-0 against Arizona and Oregon State, Hawaii faces the Washington Huskies. It’s a vastly different test from the first two, but the Huskies are reeling after a stunning loss to Cal last week. Still, Cole McDonald and the offense face a secondary that will test them. How they do against that group determines the outcome.

How to watch: PAC12 Network
Start time: 6:30pm CT
Line: Washington -21.5
Location: Husky Stadium (Seattle, WA)

Washington Huskies keys to the game

  • Win the turnover battle
  • Don’t get in a shootout
  • Let Eason be a weapon

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors keys to the game

  • Limit turnovers
  • Hang on defensively
  • Don’t let the game get too big

Washington Huskies players to watch

QB Jacob Eason (411 yards passing, 4 TD – 1 INT)
WR Aaron Fuller (113 yards receiving, 2 TD)
S Myles Bryant (11 tackles, 1.0 TFL)
RB Salvon Ahmed (163 yards rushing, 2 TD)

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors player to watch

QB Cole McDonald (799 yards passing, 8 TD – 5 INT)
WR Cedric Byrd (21 catches, 285 yards, 4 TD)
WR Jojo Ward (14 catches, 259 yards, 5 TD)
S Kalen Hicks (19 tackles)

Why Washington wins

The Washington Huskies will bounce back after a tough loss last week, but it won’t be easy. Hawaii’s offense will test their secondary, but it’s not a challenge they won’t be prepared to face. Washington can bait Cole McDonald into turnovers, and winning that battle will make a huge difference. If they can slow down the Rainbow Warriors offense, that will make an impact too. Washington should be successful against Hawaii’s porous defense, but they need to be careful to not get into a shootout with Hawaii. They may be explosive, but the offense isn’t meant to win high scoring games that are back and forth. That means putting Jacob Eason in position to thrive. If Eason’s a factor offensively, the Huskies will be in good position to win. Just like his team, Eason must bounce back.

Why Hawaii wins

They weren’t the two best teams in the Pac-12, but Hawaii won both games. Beating Washington means Cole McDonald takes care of the ball and plays with the fearless attitude we saw all of last year. He also must reign in his risk taking a little. Hawaii doesn’t want him to be tentative in his decisions, but he can’t take the same risks against the Washington Huskies as he could with Arizona and Oregon State. Given what we’ve seen from the Rainbow Warriors defense, we can expect the offense to carry a lot of the weight in this game.


If it’s a shootout, Hawaii’s equipped to compete. If they start turning the ball over, Washington will capitalize. Slowing the game down could go in the Huskies benefit, especially if Cole McDonald’s in a groove. WASHINGTON 38 HAWAII 31

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