Hawaii looks for 3rd Pac-12 win facing No. 23 Washington
By TIM BOOTH
SEATTLE (AP) Nick Rolovich is having some fun with Hawaii's start to the season to the point of tweeting a picture of the Rose Bowl logo.
Why not? No team is dominating the Pac-12 quite like the Rainbow Warriors at this point in the year.
"I think beating two Pac-12 teams has given them a little bit of belief that they can handle it," Rolovich said.
Hawaii will get its shot at improving to 3-0 against the Pac-12 when it leaves the islands for the first time this season to face No. 23 Washington on Saturday. It's been a charmed beginning for the Warriors, opening the season with a solid win over Arizona before last week's rally for a 31-28 win over Oregon State.
While the Wildcats and Beavers don't represent the elite of the Pac-12, it's still a major accomplishment for Rolovich's rebuilding Warriors.
"They know Washington has been better than Arizona and Oregon State in the Pac-12," Rolovich said. "They understand it's on the road, it's going to be loud, it's going to be wet. We've got to get on a plane for the first time this year so there is a little bit more but I think this team will handle it well."
Washington (1-1, 0-1 Pac-12) is looking to rebound after last week's odd home loss to California . After sitting through a delay of 2 + hours due to severe storms, the Huskies played late into the night, making enough mistakes along the way for California to capitalize on and escape with a 20-19 win in a game that ended at 1:22 a.m.
The loss snapped Washington's 15-game home win streak and raised concerns about a defense that was run over in the second half and an offense that settled for too many field goals.
"I think we've got a really good team coming in here, because it's completely unique," Washington coach Chris Petersen said. "That's one thing, you don't see it. They're back to the run-and-shoot, which you don't see a lot. ... You don't see what they're doing out there. They're good at it."
Other things to watch as the schools meet for the first time since 2014, a 17-16 win by the Huskies in Petersen's first game with Washington:
Washington QB Jacob Eason was fantastic in the opener, throwing for four touchdowns and looking confident. His second game was a much bigger struggle as California's secondary flustered the Huskies quarterback. Eason was 18 of 30 for 162 yards and an interception. He wasn't helped by his receivers, who dropped at least six passes.
"I thought he played well, and I think he's going to continue to grow in the system," Petersen said. "I think he's still getting used to some things, but you put the tape on and kind of see what he was looking at, and it makes sense. But I thought he did a good job."
BACK FROM THE BENCH
Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald was benched in the fourth quarter of the opening win against Arizona after throwing four interceptions. He responded well to the decision by Rolovich by throwing for 421 yards and four touchdowns against Oregon State. He was also much better protecting the ball, with only one interception against the Beavers. McDonald is fourth nationally in yards passing (399.5) and TD passes (eight).
McDonald and his bevy of pass catchers will be tested by Washington's standout secondary led by senior safety Myles Bryant.
Washington has been able to get to the quarterback through two games. The Huskies have seven sacks after two weeks. A year ago, Washington had just eight sacks through six games. Seven different players have been credited with at least a half-sack so far. The Warriors have allowed only four sacks.
Hawaii has never defeated three teams from Power Five conferences in the same season. The Warriors have lost six straight and are 1-16 all-time against ranked teams away from home. They haven't defeated a Pac-12 team away from the islands since beating Washington State in 2009.
The Warriors would like to end those streaks.
"We're not looking at Washington any different than we did Arizona or Oregon State," McDonald said. "We're not going in there with cocky heads. We're going in there with the mindset to work and the mindset to compete and play a full game."
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Updated September 13, 2019