Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Farewell to 2016: Hawaii Rainbow Warriors

2016 was a season of recurrent dominance on one side (San Diego State), and a resurgence on the other (Wyoming). The strength of the MWC was once again on the Mountain Division side of the league, as both Boise State and Air Force finished with 10 wins after bowl season was over with, and New Mexico finished with 9 wins. Wyoming, finished with 8 after being one of the worst programs in America in recent seasons. The Cowboys made it to the MWC title game after holding off charges from both Boise State and New Mexico, and while the season could have finished better for the Cowboys, the surge in success in Laramie had to be recognized as a huge move forward for Craig Bohl and his Cowboy program. In the West, Hawaii showed signs of life under Nick Rolovich, but the rest of the division, not including San Diego State, tanked once again, that side of the league will have 3 new head coaches in 2017. Here is a look back at the season that was in 2016.

Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
7-7 (4-4)

2016 Schedule
Lost to California 51-31
Lost to Michigan 63-3
Beat Tennessee-Martin 41-36
Lost to Arizona 47-28
Beat Nevada 38-17
Beat San Jose State 34-17
Lost to UNLV 41-38
Beat Air Force 34-27
Lost to New Mexico 28-21
Lost to San Diego State 55-0
Lost to Boise State 52-16
Beat Fresno State 14-13
Beat U Mass 46-40
Beat Middle Tennessee 52-35 (Hawaii Bowl)

MVP Offense: QB Dru Brown, WR Marcus Kemp, RB Steven Lakalaka
Sophomore Dru Brown came out of nowhere to take over the QB position, and ended up never giving it back. He passed for 2488 yards and 19 TDs to just 7 picks, and helped with a massive turnaround of the Hawaii program under Nick Rolovich. Brown added 306 yards rushing and added 4 scores. 
Kemp was the main target in the Warrior passing game, and posted a line of 73-1100-8 on the season. He averaged 15.07 yards per catch, and 78.6 yards per game as a senior. 
Lakalaka was not the leading rusher for Hawaii, but he did manage to rush for 13 scores on 416 yards rushing. He did that despite only averaging 7.29 carries per game. 
MVP Defense: LB Jahlani Kavai
Jahlani Kavai was one of the best defenders in the conference last season. He finished by leading the team in tackles with 129, averaging 9.21 per game. He finished with a whopping 19.5 TFLs to also lead the team, while adding 7 sacks. He also added 2 forced fumbles.
Others of Note
WR John Ursua emerged as a freshman, catching 53 passes for 652 yards and 3 scores. 
Two members of the secondary recorded solid tackle numbers as Trayvon Henderson recorded 90 tackles, and Damien Packer recorded 87. Henderson added 10.5 TFLs as well, and finished with 3 INTs, one of which went for a score. 
Even though Hawaii improved tremendously to 7 wins, the defense actually regressed, as they allowed 37 points per game. They allowed 35 and change last season. They gave up over 234 yards rushing per game, and another 227 yards passing. 
Best Win: Air Force 34-27
One game that proved how well the program is coming along was a win over Air Force that was followed up by a 3 game losing streak. Hawaii was able to get it together against a weak final 2 games in wins over Fresno State and U Mass, and received the unflattering under .500 bowl invite to stay home in Hawaii, where they turned that into a big win over Middle Tennessee. They lose that Air Force game, and the season ends with U Mass. 
Worst Loss: Arizona 47-28, Michigan 63-3
Losing to Arizona was not a huge deal at the time, but losing by 19 points to a 2 win football team looks bad in hindsight. It was early in the season, and perhaps, had the game been played in November, the score would have been closer, if not completely flipped. 
The loss to Michigan was an abomination, but one can hardly blame Hawaii. They traveled from Sydney, Australia to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for the game without so much as a minor stop over at home. It was too ambitious, and something that the administration never should have gone for. 
2017 Non Conference Opponents: 8/26 at U Mass, 9/2 Western Carolina, 9/9 at UCLA, 11/25 BYU
The Rainbow Warriors can manage a solid split against this schedule in 2017. I can see solid wins against U Mass and Western Carolina, and UCLA could even demonstrate an upset opportunity if the Bruins are as bad as they were in 2016. The BYU game is more dicey at this stage.

No comments:

Post a Comment