Rice football looks to get back in the win column in their first road trip of the season. Here are a few things to know about their opponent: Hawaii.
After a 1-1 start in front of the home crowd, Rice football will take to the skies on a long flight to the Pacific. This weekend they’ll play the 2-0 Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on their home turf. Here’s a quick scouting report on Hawaii.
1. Nick Rolovich knows a thing or two about high-powered passing attacks
The run and shoot offense instilled by June Jones at Hawaii almost two decades ago has returned under new head coach Nick Rolovich. Jones had several stat-stuffing quarterbacks during his tenure, one of which was Rolovich.
Despite only seeing one season of meaningful action at the helm of the Rainbow Warriors’ offense, Rolovich put up plenty of yardage through the air. His 3,361-yard senior campaign still ranks ninth most in school history, and he did it in only 10 games.
In his third season as the head coach at Hawaii, Rolovich has brought back the aerial attack. Hawaii has topped 400 passing yards in his first two seasons. They’re on pace to top 500 attempts and 5,000 yards in 2018.
2. Advanced metrics haven’t caught up to Hawaii’s hot start
There’s only one team in the country with a 2-0 record: Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors posted back-to-back victories over Colorado State and Navy. The offensive explosion (102 total points) has been noteworthy, but this team isn’t ready for Alabama just yet.
Bill Connely’s S&P creates an aggregate ranking of all 130 FBS football teams based on a myriad of factors that go well beyond the first two games of the 2018 schedule. On those metrics, Hawaii ranks 119th in the nation, up 10 spots from where they started the year at 129th.
Rice checks in at 126th, a few spots behind Hawaii, but much closer than one might imagine from solely reading box scores. Hawaii is off to an impressive start, but they’re not perfect, particularly on defense
3. Points, points and (you guessed it) more points
Hawaii and Rice each hold the distinction of participating in 2018’s “Week 0”. After playing two games apiece entering Week 2 of the season, both squads have proven extremely productive within the redzone.
Hawaii and Rice have combined for 20 scores in 21 with the Rainbow Warriors a perfect 11-for-11. They’re averaging 51 points per game compared to Rice’s more modest 29 points per contest. No matter which way you slice it, the scoreboards at Aloha Stadium had best be ready when this game kicks off late Saturday night.