The Louisiana Monroe Warhawks (1-10, 0-7) will travel to the Hawaiian Islands as they take on the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors (2-10, 0-8) in non-conference action Saturday night. Louisiana Monroe won the only matchup between the two schools in their history with a 23-20 road win as a 6.5 point underdog on November 22, 1997.
Louisiana Monroe has dropped nine in a row after getting dumped 16-3 by Texas State on the road last Thursday. Hawaii has also lost nine a row as they were knocked off 42-23 at home by San Jose State last Saturday. The game kicks off at 11:00 pm ET from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii and will not be nationally televised. Hawaii is currently a 7 point favorite in this contest with the over/under set at 48.5 points.
Louisiana-Monroe did next to nothing as they made Texas State’s defense look like the second coming of the Steel Curtain. The Warhawks lost the total yardage battle 334-181, gave up 20 first downs while picking up 10 of their own and allowed Texas State to control the time of possession as the Bobcats held the ball for 35:40 to 24:20 in the contest. Louisiana Monroe committed the only two turnovers in the game and was held off the scoreboard the final 46 minutes after tying the game at 3 late in the first quarter.
The Warhawks are 87th in the nation in passing offense (202.7 yards) but they are currently just 124th in the nation in rushing offense as they average 102.9 yards per game on the ground. Louisiana Monroe scores 18.6 points per game, which leaves them tied for 115th in scoring offense while they stand 116th in scoring defense as they allow 37.5 points a night. Garrett Smith is the starter at quarterback and has hit 191 of 334 passes for 2,033 yards with 17 touchdowns and 11 interceptions; he’s second on the team with 250 yards and two scores on the ground. Earnest Carrington (24 of 59, 162 yards, TD, 5 INT, 62 rushing yards, TD) is the backup should Smith go down or get benched. Louisiana Monroe averages 3.2 yards per carry on the ground; Kaylon Watson is second on the team with 77 carries for 259 yards while Ben Luckett has 70 carries for a team high 400 yards plus two scores and DeVontae Michael (50 carries, 183 yards, 2 TD) is in the mix as well. Ajalen Holley leads the Warhawks with 52 receptions for 655 yards and five scores while Rashon Caesar chips in 31 catches for 325 yards and two scores; Watson has 19 catches out of the backfield. Jared Mapps (23 grabs, 216 yards, TD) and Marcus Green (49 catches, 535 yards, 5 TD) are secondary targets. Craig Ford has hit all 25 extra points and has booted 7 of 10 field goals this season with a long of 44 yards.
Hawaii was in a 35-0 hole at the half and the game was pretty much over at that point in time; the Rainbow Warriors made the game more respectable in the second half but they never seriously threatened. The Rainbow Warriors were outgained 509-415, lost the first down battle 23-18 and the time of possession battle 36:49 to 23:11 in the contest. Hawaii recorded a safety defensively but turned the ball over twice on offense while failing to record a takeaway in the contest.
The Rainbow Warriors are 95th in the nation in passing offense (198.8 yards) and are currently only 120th in FBS in rushing as they average 114.3 yards per game. Hawaii is averaging just 16.8 points per game while allowing 36.4 points per contest; that is 111th in the nation as far as scoring defense. The combination of Max Wittek and Ikaika Woolsey have been underwhelming as they have combined to complete 194 of 406 passes for 2,385 yards with 11 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. The run game is averaging only 3.7 yards per carry; Paul Harris leads the team with 170 carries for 966 yards and five scores; Steven Lakalaka has 48 carries for 187 yards and Melvin Davis contributes 59 carries for 218 yards and six touchdowns. Marcus Kemp is currently the leading receiver for Hawaii with 33 receptions for a team high 519 yards and two scores; Quinton Pedroza has 23 receptions for 294 yards and a score while Dylan Collie is the currently third on the team in receptions as he has 29 catches for 342 yards and a score. Devan Stubblefield (30 receptions, 351 yards, 4 TD) and Isaiah Bernard (21 grabs, 219 yards, TD) are other secondary targets in the passing game. Rigoberto Sanchez has booted 23 of 24 extra points and eight of 11 field goal attempts this season with a long of 50 yards.
Hawaii is 3-1-1 ATS in their last five after running for more than 200 yards in their last game and 10-4 ATS in their last 14 non-conference games. Louisiana Monroe is 1-4-1 ATS in their last six on fieldturf, 1-4 ATS in their last five after throwing for less than 170 yards, 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight after a straight up loss and 1-6-1 ATS in their last eight overall.
Both teams have had disappointing seasons with lengthy losing streaks this year. The one good thing for both teams is that the season is just about over. Hawaii is playing at home where the time difference can wreak havoc on opposing teams. They have a better running game than the Warhawks and better, though not by much, quarterback play. Look for the Rainbow Warriors to put those weapons to use and grind out a win to close their season.