Wyoming vs. Hawaii: Key players for Friday’s game

  • Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro (12) takes off on a draw play for a big gain against Fresno State defensive back Evan Williams during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Fresno, Calif., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Gary Kazanjian)

The key players for the Hawaii vs. Wyoming game Friday:

Hawaii

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Chevan Cordeiro

This is Cordeiro’s first season as Hawaii’s full-time starter, but Friday won’t be the first time Wyoming has gone up against the sophomore quarterback. Cordeiro led the Warriors to a 17-13 comeback win over UW in his first career start in 2018, and he’ll once again be at the center of Hawaii’s offensive game plan. Cordeiro is a different kind of quarterback than what UW saw last week in Nevada’s Carson Strong, who threw for more than 400 yards and four TDs. Cordeiro completed 20 of 31 passes for 229 yards in Hawaii’s opening win over Fresno State but was also the Warriors’ leading rusher with 116 yards and two rushing scores on just 13 carries. Bottom line: Slowing down Hawaii’s offense starts with containing Cordeiro both inside the pocket and out, which will be easier said than down for a UW defense looking for a bounceback performance.

Khoury Bethley

Bethley lines up at safety on the back end of Hawaii’s defense and can do a little bit of everything. Bethley led the Warriors with 83 tackles last season and also had three pass breakups and two interceptions. The 5-foot-10, 200-pounder picked up where he left off in Hawaii’s opener against Fresno State, recording seven tackles and matching the number of pass breakups he had all of last season. UW’s offense will have to know where perhaps Hawaii’s most active defensive player is before every snap.

Wyoming

Levi Williams

UW’s offense is now solely at the controls of Williams, who’s taking over as the starting quarterback after last week’s injury to Sean Chambers. After struggling to find its footing early against Nevada with Williams behind center, the Cowboys’ offense erupted for 22 points in the final 15 minutes of regulation to force overtime against Nevada. Williams ran for a pair of TDs and threw for 227 yards, but the redshirt freshman will be looking to improve on his efficiency through the air after completing just 51.6 percent of his passes in the opener. UW may need Williams and the rest of the offense to keep up against a Hawaii offense that averaged 34 points last season and matched that total in its win over Fresno State.

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Azizi Hearn

Hawaii is likely to air it out plenty against UW after seeing the success Nevada had in that department last week, meaning the Cowboys will need pressure up front and solid coverage on the back end. The Warriors also return their second-leading receiver from last season in Jared Smart, who will be another test for the Cowboys’ corners on the outside. Hearn led UW with two pass breakups last week and nearly made an acrobatic interception near the goal line on a controversial call that was ruled an incompletion. The Cowboys will need Hearn and the rest of their defensive backs to take their games up a notch this week.

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