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Hawai’i vs. Arizona: Cliff Notes on the Warriors

Random notes about Saturday’s Arizona/Hawaii game

NCAA Football: UNLV at Hawaii Marco Garcia-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Every year, the Hawaii Warriors travel the most miles of any NCAA team. This year it’s a ridiculous 46,568 miles aided by that 10,142 mile round trip to Sydney to face California in the opener. All of those frequent flyer miles is a perk of Hawai’i football and is a part of the recruitment sales pitch. This wonderful three part series on the program mentions the school foots the transportation bills of their Mountain West conference opponents for all home games in Honolulu. It’s unknown if the picking up the tab practice is applicable to the non-conference Arizona games in 2019 and 2025.

Hawai’i road game local start times are always an issue due to the vast time zone difference. This year three Warrior "Mainland" games translate into 6 a.m., 8 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. island kickoffs.

We Meet Again

Warriors head coach Nick Rolovich is in his first year as the top guy. At the age of 37, he is the youngest head coach in the program’s history since former UA head coach Dick Tomey was at the helm in 1977. Rolovich was the University of Nevada offensive coordinator in the 2012 New Mexico loss against Arizona and he mentored quarterbacks Cody Fajardo and Colin Kaepernick.

Senior defensive lineman Makani Kema-Kaleiwahea did transfer from UA in 2015. Kema-Kaleiwahea grew up in an adoptive family on O’ahu and was previously named Keoni Bush-Loo. He and his wife brought the other children to move in with them in Tucson as the situation back home turned into an abusive one. He transferred back to the islands, found better placement homes for three of the kids, adopted two of the remaining ones, and continued his football career with the Warriors. He and his wife were honored at the Casey Excellence for Children Awards.

"Punters are People Too."

For the second straight week, Arizona will face a "Mr. Everything." Rigoberto Sanchez handles all kicking chores and is fresh off a 55-yard field goal on the road in Ann Arbor two weeks ago. It was the second-longest kick in school history. Sanchez had five PATs, five punts, four kickoffs, but zero field goals in last week’s 41-36 victory over UT-Martin. Sanchez is one of five kickers in all of FBS who is a Mr. Everything. Grambling State is in the FCS division, so last week’s headliner, Jonathan Wallace, is not part of this exclusive club.

Pronunciation Help

Nervous about pronouncing those Hawai’i names on Saturday? Here’s some help with a few starters:

No. 5 DE Makani Kema–Kalelwahea: mah-KAH-knee keh-mah-kah-lay-veh-HAY-ah

No. 78 C Leo Koloamatangi: KO-low-ah-MAH-tungy

No. 22 RB Diocemy Saint Juste: DEE-awesome-ME saint-just


The circle decal on the back of the Hawai’i helmets read "KMT". It stands for K. Maerk Takai, who was a former U.S. Congressman and UH swimmer that died of cancer over the summer.

The Hawai’i apostrophe

The school released game notes explaining the origin: In the Hawaiian language, it’s called an ‘okina, which translated literally in English means separator. Phonetically it is referred to as a glottal stop, similar to the sound that would be made in the English oh-oh. The ‘okina is actually a letter in the Hawaiian language and typed out looks like a backward, inverted apostrophe.

What’s in the Hawaii Scrapbook?

College football diehards in their 30’s have a special place in their hearts for Hawai’i football because of the great Timmy Chang. He amassed 17,072 passing yards and 117 touchdowns from 2000 to 2004, broke all collegiate passing records, and is currently second on the NCAA’s career passing yardage list behind Case Keenum.

Chang was the West Coast spread offense before it became widely adopted. That offense gave us insane numbers, like his 2003 line of 33/46 for 534 yards and five touchdowns against Louisiana Tech. After graduation, his professional career never materialized, but he did chuck a video camera onto a roof during a fight and got six months probation. Currently he’s the offensive coordinator at Emory & Henry College.