FACTS & STATS: Site: Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium (34,000) -- Annapolis, Maryland. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Hawaii 0-4, Navy 3-0. Away Record: Hawaii 0-4, Navy 1-4. Neutral Record: Hawaii 0-0, Navy 0-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 0-6, Navy 0-0. Series Record: Hawaii leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Sporting one of the longest losing streaks in the nation, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors again try to secure their first victory of the 2013 campaign, this time against the Navy Midshipmen in Annapolis on Saturday afternoon.
Currently a member of the Mountain West Conference, the Rainbow Warriors are one of the handful of programs still without a victory this season, not to mention coming off their most lopsided defeat of 2013. Because of the shooting at LAX, Hawaii was delayed in Los Angeles for 12 hours and didn't arrive until early in the morning of game day in Logan where they were due to challenge Utah State. The road-weary Rainbow Warriors ended up being smoked by the Aggies in a 47-10 final, the team's 11th straight road setback.
The last time Hawaii began a season 0-8 was in 1998 when it finished winless over a 12-game slate.
As for the Midshipmen they too were on the road last weekend, but their trip to South Bend to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish was far less eventful, which might be why Navy hung around before suffering the 38-34 setback. The loss was the third in the last four outings for a team that is just 1-4 on the road this season, but undefeated at home through three bouts.
Hawaii is 2-0 in the series with Navy, thanks to a 24-17 win in the most recent contest four years ago.
Quarterback Sean Schroeder converted just 13 of his 26 pass attempts for 213 yards and a score, while being picked off three times as Hawaii suffered the loss at Utah State last Saturday. The squad managed a mere 59 rushing yards on 25 attempts and had trouble slowing down the Aggies who generated more than 500 yards of offense as they cruised to the comfortable outcome.
Even as the Rainbow Warriors were allowing USU to churn out yards and points with relative ease, the defense did manage to tie a season-high with 12 tackles for loss, three of those coming from Art Laurel. Charles Clay recorded a career-high 14 tackles, the most by a Rainbow Warrior this year.
Laurel not only leads Hawaii in total stops with 58, he is also tops in terms of TFL with 11, followed closely by Brenden Daley who has 57 stops overall and 10 TFL, even though he has come off the bench in three contests. Also applying significant pressure at the line of scrimmage is Beau Yap with his seven TFL and team-best 3.5 sacks, not to mention five quarterback hurries.
With Hawaii again being painfully inept at running the ball, averaging just 73.3 ypg to rank 120th in the nation, it is up to Schroeder to give the group a fighting chance and although he had his string of 300-yard passing games recently snapped, the signal caller is still the team's best offensive option.
The Midshipmen pushed Notre Dame to the limit last weekend, forcing the Fighting Irish to come from behind in the four-point decision. Quarterback Keenan Reynolds not only converted 6-of-9 passes for 88 yards and a touchdown, he also carried the ball 22 times for 53 net yards and three scores to throw a scare into the hosts. Chris Swain ran for a team-best 85 yards and a TD as Navy generated 331 yards on 70 attempts in the matchup, one that saw the visitors control the clock for close to 38 minutes as they converted 10-of-16 on third down.
Defensively, the Midshipmen were far too lenient, surrendering 506 yards on a mere 56 snaps. Big plays were the order of the day for the Irish as they controlled the ball for just over 22 minutes, which means Navy should have been relatively fresh on that side of the ball.
Reynolds has managed to bring an added element to the Navy offense, completing 54.2 percent of his passes for close to 100 ypg and five TDs, so at least opponents have to consider dropping into coverage from time to time instead of simply crowding the box and waiting for any number of ball carriers to try and bust through. Reynolds is also first on the unit with 599 yards and 14 TDs on the ground, one of six players to have run for at least 200 yards this season.
With an average of 297.0 ypg on the ground, the Midshipmen rank ninth in the nation. It also helps that the squad is disciplined enough to be penalized only 2.75 times per game for an average of 23.1 ypg, both of which are the top marks in the FBS.
As long as the Midshipmen can again control the pace of the game and eat up the clock with a sustained running attack, Hawaii will have limited opportunities to counter and that will work right into the hands of the home team.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Navy 31, Hawaii 21
Saturday, November 9, 3:30 p.m. (et).