Game preview of Hawai'i for UCLA Football's season opener

The Bruins season opener is on the road against Hawai'i in this non-conference match up.
 Hawai'i Football
Hawai'i Football / Meg Potter/Sun-News / USA TODAY NETWORK

This is the first game of the 2024 season for UCLA and will be the second game for Hawai'i.

0-0. Saturday, Aug 31 . 4:30 PM PT. 518. CBS. fdfdsfdsfsdf. 0-0. 505. Honolulu, HI

UCLA Bruins (Big Ten) vs. Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors (Mountain West)

UCLA's Advantages:

• New Coaching Staff: Hawai'i has no game film on how this new coaching staff will operate UCLA’s defense, special teams, and especially their offense.

• Game Film: Due to Hawai’i playing a week earlier against Delaware State, UCLA will have film on them in preparation for their game against them.

• Expected Strong Rushing Attack: UCLA should once again boast a powerful running game, which could exploit Hawai'i's relatively expected weak run defense.

• Experience: The Bruins are expected to have a more experienced roster overall, especially at key positions on offense like at quarterback with Ethan Garbers.

Hawai'i's Advantages:

• Motivation as Underdogs: Hawai'i could come out with something to prove with the major publications favoring UCLA heavily.

• Capitalizing on Mistakes: If UCLA makes turnovers or struggles early due to this being their first game of the season, Hawai'i could jump on the opportunity and score early on the Bruins.

• Having already played a game: Hawai’i playing a game before allows them to clean up any mistakes in their first game before playing the Bruins in their second game of the season.

Let's name look at this match up by the numbers.

Last season for both teams: Hawai'i won only five games last season but they won three of their last four games to end the season on a strong note. UCLA won eight games last season including their bowl game against Boise State.

Historical Record against each other: UCLA is 4-0 against Hawai'i and the Bruins defeated the Rainbow Warriors in 2021 by a final score of 44-10.

Where do they rank in the various 2024 preseason 134 teams preseason rankings: College Football News rankings: Hawai'i No. 110 and UCLA No. 31. USA Today rankings: Hawai'i No. 112 and UCLA No. 65. College Football Network rankings: Hawai'i No. 78 and UCLA No. 65. ESPN Football Power Index rankings: Hawai'i No. 112 and UCLA No. 40.

Returning players for Hawai'i that will more than likely have the most impact for them in 2024.

Hawai'i: Offensive lineman Luke Felix-Fualalo: He was graded as the No. 3 offensive tackle in the Mountain West in 2023 according to Pro Football Focus. Offensive lineman Sergio Muasau: He started every game in 2023 at left guard. Defensive lineman Ezra Evaimalo: Pro Football Focus ranked him as the No. 2 interior defensive lineman. Cornerback Cam Stone: He was named for the third time to the honorable mention all-Mountain West team and he was named on the fourth team as a kick returner. Linebacker Jalen Smith: He led the team with nine tackles-for-loss and finished third in tackles with 67. Wide receiver Pofele Ashlock: He led all FBS level freshmen in receptions with 83 and receiving yards with 832, earning him a spot on the Football Writers Association of America Freshman All-American team for the 2023 season. Quarterback Brayden Schager: He topped the Mountain West in terms of touchdowns with 26 and passing yards with 3,542.

Early Prediction for the game.

UCLA may be a little rusty early and playing on the road may be difficult for the Bruins going into halftime. However, UCLA should be able to out score the high powered Hawai'i offense and win by a final score of 37-28.

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