Know Your Opponent: UCLA Football vs. Hawaii Warriors


The UCLA Football team has their second consecutive home game to open up the season as the welcome the Hawaii Warriors to the Rose Bowl. Here is what you need to know about Hawaii.

The UCLA Football team is still on a bit of a high after their epic 34-point comeback in their win over Texas A&M on Sunday, but the Bruins need to come down before they face their next opponent, the Hawaii Warriors.

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The Bruins showed two mentalities in their first game. One was of a team with no identity and a flawed gameplan (1st half) and one of a team that was willing to change their plan of attack and never quit (2nd half).

"Did You Know… The last time Hawaiian started 2-0 was in 2009."

The Warriors are a team that has already played two games and have shown consistency in both contests under Head Coach Nick Rolovich. They have shown they have weapons on offense to get down field and score as well as create havoc on defense.

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Hawaii Warriors Offense

Hawaii has scored a total of 79 points in their first two games with a balanced run-pass attack. QB Dru Brown has been instrumental in leading the offense who is averaging 478.0 yards per game.

In his two games, Brown has thrown for 545 yards and 5 touchdowns (quick side bar: though we will get into the Warriors defense against UCLA’s offense, comparatively, Josh Rosen threw for 491 yards and 4 TDs in one game). He is a bit hesitant at times, but seems to be meshing with his receivers.

Unfortunately he was without WR John Ursua this past weekend because of a foot injury, which is a blow to the receiving corps because he racked up 272 receiving yards and a touchdown in their season opener against UMass. Brown looked to another source in the passing game, Dylan Collie, who had 105 receiving yards and one touchdown against Western Carolina. But Hawaii also has another weapon in their arsenal, one that could potentially give the Bruins trouble.

Running back Diocemy Saint Juste had a field day this past weekend and could prove to be a problem for the UCLA run defense, which had troubles of their own last weekend. Saint Juste ran for 202 yards and one touchdown, 181 of which came in the first half. If he can get through the Bruins front, which often only has only six guys in the box, then he will be able to do some damage.

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Hawaii Warriors Defense

Josh Rosen had a horrible game that turned into a legendary game this weekend. Rallying his team from 34 points down. Hawaii does not seem to have the defensive fire power as Texas A&M, but the Bruins should not take the Warrior’s defense lightly.

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Hawaii sets up in a 4-3 base defense which will help them to quell UCLA’s run attack which still seems to lack some bite. Hawaii’s best chance to beat UCLA will be on the ground so they need to try and force the Bruins away from their passing game.

Upfront, Hawaii has a veteran in DL Meffy Koloamatangi who not only has 7 tackles and 2 sacks, but also had two block field goals in the game against Western Carolina over the weekend (Hawaii had three total blocked FGs in that contest).

Linebacker Jahlani Tavai is leading the team in tackles with 23, 2 for a loss, 2 sacks and a fumble recovered. He is a bit of a bruiser that has no problem getting into the backfield or chasing down a ball carrier, so UCLA has to keep him in check.

In the defensive back field, the Warriors have Manu Hudson-Rasmussen and Daniel Lewis protecting the skies and both have been very active in their first two games. This past weekend, Lewis had an interception when he basically ripped the ball away from the pass catcher and took it back 24 yards.

"Did You Know… The last time UCLA and Hawaii played was in 1939."

Final Word

Hawaii seems to know their identity and plan of attack. They have a good QB and RB, so they can hurt the Bruins in different ways. If they are going to try and beat UCLA, their best shot would be on the ground. UCLA would rather give up small yards than big plays with their bend-but-don’t-break defensive mentality. It will be hard to pass on UCLA who have a stellar secondary, so the Warriors have to avoid them as much as possible.

Next: The Go Joe Bruin 2017 season preview

As for Hawaii’s defense, they need to force UCLA to run, which is still a weakness for the Bruins. If they allow Josh Rosen to throw and he starts getting hot like he did in the final quarter against Texas A&M, then it will be a long day for the Warriors.


UCLA 35 – Hawaii 13