FACTS & STATS: Site: War Memorial Stadium (29,181) -- Laramie, Wyoming. Television: Time Warner Oceanic. Home Record: Hawaii 0-5, Wyoming 3-2. Away Record: Hawaii 0-5, Wyoming 1-4. Neutral Record: Hawaii 0-0, Wyoming 0-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 0-7, Wyoming 2-4. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 12-8.
GAME NOTES: Yet again the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors try to put a tally in the win column for the first time this season, as they challenge the Wyoming Cowboys in a Mountain West Conference showdown in Laramie on Saturday afternoon.
Hawaii has come up empty in all 10 opportunities in 2013, going so far as to take San Diego State to overtime last weekend before bowing in a 28-21 final at home. The 10-game slide for the Rainbow Warriors is the second-longest in program history, two shy of the mark set back in 1998 when they went winless during a 12-game schedule.
The Rainbow Warriors have now bowed in 12 straight road contests dating back to 2011, including eight in league play.
As for the Cowboys, they started out the season well enough with three wins in four tries, but since taking down New Mexico the second week of October the team has come up empty in four consecutive games. The latest setback took place against Boise State on the road, allowing the Broncos to rip off 48 unanswered points to capture a 41-point victory on the blue turf.
This is the first meeting between the two squads since 1997 when the Pokes posted a 35-6 win in order to move out to a 12-8 advantage in the all-time series.
The Rainbow Warriors led San Diego State by a touchdown late in the fourth quarter last Saturday night, but the Aztecs not only tied the contest at Aloha Stadium, but they also scored a TD in overtime to capture the road victory. Joey Iosefa ran for 150 yards and a score for the hosts on a school-record 37 carries. Iosefa is now the first Hawaii player since 2010 to run for at least 100 yards in back-to-back games.
Sean Schroeder completed half of his 36 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns, but he was picked off once and sacked three times on the night. Hawaii's offense ran 84 plays and finished with just 355 yards, a far cry from the 499 yards produced by the Aztecs on 11 fewer snaps.
While the Rainbow Warriors still possess a decent passing attack that ranks 28th in the country with 279.5 ypg, the run game has again led the team down in a big way, even with Iosefa's recent exploits. Had it not been for the running back's last two weeks of top performances, one can only imagine how much further down Hawaii would be in rushing than it is now with a mere 96.5 ypg (115th nationally).
While Hawaii's passers have been picked off a total of 20 times, the defense for the Rainbow Warriors has responded with just nine picks, three of those coming from Trayvon Henderson who has started only one game this season. Not surprisingly, the team is tied for 116th in the country in terms of turnover margin with minus-1.0 per outing.
The Cowboys got off on the right foot against Boise State at Bronco Stadium, with quarterback Brett Smith hitting Robert Herron for a 19-yard TD at the 11:01 mark of the first quarter, but the offense dried up after that in what became a lopsided loss.
Smith completed 27 of his 39 pass attempts for 207 yards, but was sacked three times and tossed a pair of interceptions. Herron finished with 10 catches for 86 yards, but other than that there was very little good that happened for a Wyoming group that generated only 55 net rushing yards.
The lack of production in the running game probably had more to do with the fact that Wyoming was fighting from behind for much of the game than anything else. As it stands, the Pokes have a very lively rushing attack that is averaging 196.2 ypg and has scored 20 touchdowns, nine of those coming from Shaun Wick.
Smith is second on the team with 437 yards rushing and has landed in the end zone three times, but he is far more important as a passer who has connected on 63.6 percent of his attempts for 271.5 ypg and 21 TDs, seven of those scores going to Dominic Refran who has 64 catches for 747 yards.
The battle for the Paniolo Trophy may be rekindled this weekend in Laramie, but one has to wonder how much fight the visiting squad will put up after being beaten down time after time this season. Expect Smith to pick his spots and find holes in the Hawaii defense that should result in a comfortable win for the hosts.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Wyoming 35, Hawaii 24
Saturday, November 23, 2:05 p.m. (et).