The Arizona Wildcats enter their final non-conference contest against the Rainbow Warriors of Hawai’i with a 1-1 record. After a sloppy win against Grambling State, UA looks to start the first winning streak of 2016 against a stumbling Hawai’i team.
This will be another tune up opportunity for the Wildcats before entering their conference schedule.
Let’s take a look at the Rainbow Warriors…
2016 Record – 1-2; Week one versus Cal 31-51, Week two versus Michigan 3-63, Week three versus UT-Martin 41-36
Key Offensive Players – Ikaika Woolsey (QB), Diocemy Saint Juste (RB), Marcus Kemp (WR), Dejon Allen (OL), RJ Hollis (OL)
Key Defensive Players - Jalen Rogers (CB), Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea (DE), Kory Rasmussen (DT)
Hawai’i has had a tough go in their first two games. Not only have the outcomes been hapless, they’ve racked up an obscene amount of frequent flyer miles as well. Their week one matchup against Cal took place in Sydney, Australia. The following week, they had to travel to Ann Arbor to play Michigan. In total, these two roundtrips combine for approximately 19,000 miles!
I would imagine they’re pleased that week four’s trip to Tucson is a measly 3,000 miles away from home.
One of their key defensive players from the 2015 team was defensive tackle Kennedy Tulimasealii. He was First-Team All-Mountain West as a junior but was dismissed from the program for violating team policies. This was a tough blow to an already young defense.
As the depth chart stands, the Warriors are starting only four seniors on the defensive side. Two of those seniors, Jalen Rogers and Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea, are familiar with the Tucson area.
Rogers is an alumnus of Cienega High School in Vail. He spent two years at Mesa Community College prior to his Hawai’i arrival.
Kema-Kaleiwahea actually played for UA during the 2012 and 2013 seasons. He was a major contributor during those two seasons as he played in 25 games, 12 as a true freshman. You may remember him as Keoni Bush-Loo.
There is another high school player from Arizona, RJ Hollis. He is the starting right tackle. He played his high school ball at Mountain Pointe in Phoenix.
Hawaii’s defense currently ranks 126th in points against and the offense is tied for 91st in scoring with 25 points per contest to this point. It’s important to note that there are 128 teams in the FBS.
Aside from the Tucson homecoming for Rogers and Kema-Kaleiwahea, Hawai’i probably won’t enjoy their visit. This is UA’s last chance for tweaking before they enter conference play. Expect the Wildcats to show some all-around urgency. It is imperative that they have a superb performance in all phases of the game before Washington comes to town.