Utah State (4-5) at Hawaii (2-8)
Kickoff: Saturday, 9 p.m. MST
Venue: Clarence T.C. Ching Complex (9,346 capacity)
TV: Spectrum Sports
Livestream: Spectrum Sports PPV
Radio: 1280 AM/97.5 FM
Series: Utah State and Hawaii will meet for the 18th time. The Aggies lead the series 11-6 and have won six straight games in the series, including the last three on the road. Overall, Utah State is 5-4 all-time against the Hawaii in the islands.
Weather: Temperatures in the mid 70s with a slight chance of rain and 15 mph winds out of the northeast.
For Utah State: The Aggies are 4-5 overall after their victory over New Mexico. Utah State has a winning record in conference play (3-2) but is still battling to become bowl eligible after a rough non-conference slate. The Aggies now have a 28% chance of becoming bowl eligible, per ESPN.
For Hawaii: The Rainbow Warriors are 2-8 on the season and just 1-4 in Mountain West play, the lone win coming at home against Nevada. Hawaii has lost three straight games, but was competitive in losses against Colorado State and Wyoming, before getting blown out by Fresno State.
What to watch for
Can Utah State overcome its youth? Again?
The Aggies have dealt with myriad injuries this season, many suffered by their most seasoned contributors. As such, Utah State has had to play younger and younger players as the season has progressed.
Case in point, linebacker Max Alford. The reigning MW Freshman of the Week, after recording a career-high eight tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss against New Mexico, Alford started the season playing almost exclusively on special teams. Now he is an integral part of the Aggies defense, largely due to an injury to MJ Tafisi.
Across team, freshmen have been forced to fill in due to injuries — Bishop Davenport for Logan Bonner, Cooper Legas and Levi Williams, Terrell Vaughn and Ny Ny Davis for Kyle Van Leeuwen, Robert Briggs for Calvin Tyler Jr.
If the Aggies are healthier against Hawaii, a win should be in the cards, given the Warriors’ all-around struggles. Hawaii ranks last in the MW in total defense and is a run-of-the-mill team on offense, as head coach Timmy Chang works to figure out what kind of program he took over.
If Utah State is forced to go young again, though, the game could be either team’s as shown in the Aggies’ recent game against Wyoming and New Mexico.
Dedrick Parson, RB, Hawaii: If Hawaii is to have any chance against Utah State it will need to have success on offense and no one player has been more responsible for the Warriors’ success than Parson. The senior running back leads the team with 586 yards and 10 touchdowns, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 58.6 yards per game.
Utah State has proven vulnerable on the ground this season — think against Wyoming, Air Force, UNLV and New Mexico — and if Parson is able to find running room against USU, he might be able to keep the Warriors in the game.
“They have proven to be really really difficult to beat at home, especially. A lot of young guys going there for the first time, they will have to block out the distractions of the trip. ... We can’t let this one slip. We have to find a way to win and I think they will make that very difficult. A lot of close games, with the exception of Fresno. A lot of close games where they were right there at the end and I suspect that is what we will see out of those guys.” — Utah State coach Blake Anderson
“We want to win these games and we want to win for these seniors. The commitment to stay, to fight for the program, their school and their state says a lot to me. I love them for that. ... The objective is to win for these seniors and if we can do that, that is huge.” — Hawaii coach Timmy Chang
Utah State returns home for its final home contest of the season against San Jose State, on Saturday, Nov. 19. Hawaii hosts UNLV the same day, in another late night affair.
Utah State schedule
Aug. 27 — Utah State 31, UConn 20
Sept. 3 — No. 1 Alabama 55, Utah State 0
Sept. 10 — Weber State 35, Utah State 7
Sept. 17 — BYE
Sept. 24 — UNLV 34, Utah State 24
Sept. 29 — No. 16 BYU 38, Utah State 26
Oct. 8 — Utah State 34, Air Force 27
Oct. 15 — Utah State 17, Colorado State 13
Oct. 22 — Wyoming 28, Utah State 14
Oct. 29 — BYE
Nov. 5 — Utah State 27, New Mexico 10
Nov. 12 — Utah State at Hawaii
Nov. 19 — Utah State vs. San José State
Nov. 25 — Utah State at Boise State
All times MST.