UH notebook: Warriors will face improved Rice offense

HONOLULU – The University of Hawaii football team’s defense has done an admirable job through the first four games, helping the Rainbow Warriors stay close in every game despite an often stagnant offense.

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HONOLULU – The University of Hawaii football team’s defense has done an admirable job through the first four games, helping the Rainbow Warriors stay close in every game despite an often stagnant offense.

But at 1 p.m. Saturday, UH (1-3) will face an improved Rice offense that has broken the 40-point barrier in each of its past two games (a 45-42 loss to Old Dominion and a 41-23 victory at Southern Mississippi).

The nonconference game will be televised on Oceanic Pay-Per-View (Digital Ch. 255) and broadcast on 790 AM in West Hawaii.

Rice (1-3) opened the season with road losses at Notre Dame (48-17) and Texas A&M (38-10) — each opponent was ranked No. 17 when they played. Despite scoring 27 points in those two losses, the Owls managed to move the ball — with 367 yards of offense vs. Notre Dame and 481 against Texas A&M, including 240 on the ground.

Rice then rolled up 526 yards, including 284 yards rushing, and scored six touchdowns in the loss to Old Dominion. This past Saturday, the Owls amassed 395 yards (217 rushing, 178 passing) and scored five TDs (plus two field goals) in an impressive road win at Southern Miss.

For the season, Rice is averaging 4.5 yards per rushing attempt, 220.5 rushing yards per game and has seven rushing TDs. Passing-wise, the Owls have completed 63.6 percent of their attempts, for an average of 221.8 yards per game and seven TDs.

By comparison, Hawaii has thrown only one touchdown pass all season, with an overall completion rate of 43.8 percent, and the Rainbow Warriors’ pass efficiency rating of 82.6 ranks 123rd out of 125 FBS teams. UH also ranks 115th in third-down conversions, at 29.3 percent.

Fortunately for the Rainbow Warriors, Hawaii’s defense has allowed only 21 second-half points all season, including two second-half shutouts against Pac-12 opponents (Washington and Colorado). Unfortunately, UH’s offense could only produce two Tyler Hadden field goals in each of those second halves, which was not enough in either case to result in a victory.

RAINBOW WAHINE RETURN HOME: The 24th-ranked UH women’s volleyball team returns home for a pair of Big West Conference matches against Cal State Fullerton and UC Irvine on Friday and Saturday, respectively.

Both matches are set for a 7 p.m. start time, and will be televised on OCSports and broadcast on radio via ESPN 1420AM.

The Rainbow Wahine (10-3 overall, 2-0 Big West) are coming off a pair of road sweeps at UC Davis and UC Riverside. Cal State Fullerton is 6-9, 0-2, and UC Irvine is 10-6, 0-2.

SOCCER TEAM OPENS BIG WEST PLAY AT HOME: The UH women’s soccer team also returns home this week to open Big West play against Cal State Fullerton and UC Riverside on Thursday and Sunday, respectively.

The Rainbow Wahine finished their nonleague schedule at 5-5, including a 3-1 record during a recent two-week road trip. One of the five losses came at home against defending National Champion and No. 1-ranked UCLA.

Both of this week’s games will be played at Waipio Peninsula Soccer Stadium , with a 7 p.m. start time Thursday and a 5 p.m. kickoff Sunday.

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UH leads the Big West and is ranked No. 39 in the nation in scoring average, at 2.20 goals per game. Ten players have scored, led by sophomore Storm Kenui and freshman Sonest Furtado with four goals each.

Cal State Fullerton is 2-7 and UC Riverside is 5-3-2.

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