The only time that the University of Hawaii Warriorsfootball team has opened with a record of 3-1 or better in the last 13 years was in the 2007 season on path to their BCS run. The Rainbow Warriors (2-1) travel to Madison, Wisconsin this Saturday to take on Big Ten foe, the No. 22/21 ranked Badgers (2-1). This non-conference matchup is set to kick off at Camp Randall Stadium at 7:00 p.m. CT/2:00 p.m. HT. The game will air live nationally on Big Ten Network (Oceanic Digital Ch. 248 and HD Ch. 1248; Hawaiian Telcom Digital Ch. 79 and HD Ch. 1079).
Rainbow Warriors Look to Reverse Trends
If the Rainbow Warriors hope to improve to 3-1 on the season, they will need to buck a few daunting trends. First, Wisconsin has won 34 consecutive non-conference home games, the second-longest active such streak in the FBS behind LSU (43). The Badgers have not lost such a game since Sept 13, 2003, against UNLV.
Second, Hawaii is 1-18 all-time against ranked opponents away from home (road or neutral site). The Rainbow Warriors' only such win was in 2008 at Fresno State. Hawaii is 9-21 against current members of the Big Ten, including 1-7 on the road. The Rainbow Warriors one road win against a current Big Ten member came in 1955 at Nebraska.
Third, Hawaii is 10-39 (.204) all time against nationally ranked opponents. The last win over a ranked team came against No. 19 Nevada at on in 2010. The Rainbow Warriors are on a current 6-game losing streak versus ranked teams.
Head to Head Series
Head coach Norm Chow’s squad hopes to duplicate the 1986 result between the Rainbow Warriors and the Badgers in which Hawaii won 20-17. This was the first matchup ever between the two universities, however Wisconsin has went on to win the next 5 meetings. The last victory came in 2009, where the Badgers dominated the Rainbow Warriors 51-10 in Honolulu.
Rainbow Warriors offense look to build off momentum
The Rainbow Warriors are led by senior quarterback Max Wittek as he rebounded from his outing at Ohio State. Wittek came back to form last weekend versus the UC Davis Aggies throwing for 2 touchdowns, 272 yards with no turnovers. Hawaii’s emerging star in the backfield is junior Paul Harris, who looks to improve on his record setting performance versus the Aggies, where he broke a 60 year old rushing record after sprinting for a 95 yard touchdown run in the victory. Freshman receiver Devan Stubblefield looks to carry momentum into this matchup, after a breakout career performance last week where he racked up 108 yards, on 6 catches and 1 touchdown.
Joel Stave tough to beat
The Wisconsin Badgers are led by senior quarterback Joel Stave, who is 10-2 in his last starts. His last 2 losses have come against ranked opponents Ohio State and Alabama, both on neutral sites. Stave has six touchdown passes in three games this season after having nine all of last season. He ranks second in the Big Ten in Total QBR (80.3) this season. Stave’s main target is senior receiver Alex Erickson who has hauled in 14 catches, 233 yards and 1 score this season. The Badgers only loss this season came on the opening weekend, when they loss to then No. 3 Alabama 35-17 in Arlington, Texas. Head Coach Paul Chryst who is in his first year as the head man in Madison has pulled off 2 victories following the loss, winning big at home versus Miami (Ohio) 58-0, and Troy 28-3.
Badgers’ rushing attack needs to improve
The leading rusher for the Badgers is junior running back Dare Ogunbowale, who has 2 touchdowns and 196 yards on 33 carries. However, in the first 3 games of the 2015 campaign, the Badgers have struggled running the football, an area where they have been prolific in years past. Wisconsin is averaging a Big Ten-low 142.3 rushing yards per game this season. Last season, the Badgers set school-records in rushing yards per game (320.1) and yards per rush (6.9). Wisconsin has not rushed for fewer than 200 yards per game in a season since 2006. A big reason for this is the injury to starting running back Corey Clement.
Familiar faces across the sideline
Wisconsin’s defensive coordinator Dave Aranda previously served as Hawaii’s defensive coordinator for two seasons under Chow, and was Greg McMackin’s defensive line coach the two seasons prior. Aranda had a successful stint with the Rainbow Warriors, especially in 2011 when his defensive unit led the Western Athletic Conference in sacks (35), which ranked 15th nationally. The season prior, UH led the nation in turnovers forced with (38), and tied a school record for defensive touchdowns (5). Another familiar face coach Daronte’ Jones who is in charge of the Badger’s secondary. Jones served 3 years under Coach Chow (2012-14) where he earned the assistant head coach role in 2014 before heading to Madison.