Stevens: Will Time Be On Lobos' Side Vs. Struggling Hawaii?

Oct. 8, 2012

New Mexico Lobos at Hawaii Warriors - Mountain West Football

When/Where: 10 p.m. (MT) Saturday - Aloha Stadium -- Honolulu Game Story, Game Tracker, Stats

By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/

In pointing out trouble spots for the New Mexico Lobos' journey to Honolulu to play the struggling Hawaii Warriors, maybe the main thing to point out is the clock.

"It's really late in the day on Saturday," said Lobo Coach Bob Davie referring to the 6 p.m. start time in Aloha Stadium that converts to a 10 p.m., start New Mexico time.

Davie might have to extend his Lobos' curfew for a game that will finish Sunday morning back in Albuquerque. The time travel and simply the travel can be a problem for visitors to Honolulu. The Lobos will arrive on Hawaii soil around 11 p.m. Mountain time on Thursday.

For sure, they'll get to bed late on Thursday and try to make a quick adjustment on Friday to the time shift. Meanwhile, the Warriors will be trying to make a whole lot of adjustments both on offense and defense.

The Warriors are struggling. They are rated No. 118 out of 120 FBS schools in offense. They are 116 in scoring (20.4 points) and 116th in third-down conversion.

Those numbers have to be sweet sights for a New Mexico defense rated No. 86 and giving up 425.7 yards per game. That's one slot above Hawaii's defense which yields 425.8 yards per game.

Another problem for Hawaii is that the Lobos' strength on offense - running the football - is the Warriors' Achilles Heel.

Hawaii gave up 194 yards on the ground to San Diego State, 355 rushing yards to Nevada and 396 to Brigham Young. Hawaii's average yield is 214 rushing, good for No. 106 in the nation.

And here comes the No. 8 rushing team in America - New Mexico, averaging 271.7 yards on the ground.

The UNM running backs and the unsung heroes on the line - Darryl Johnson, LaMar Bratton, Dillon Farrell, Garrett Adcock, Korian Chambers, Jamal Price, Calvin McDowney, Josh Baggett, Jack Lamm and Dillon Romine - have to like the possibility of moving the football on the ground in Hawaii.

For sure, that's the Lobos' main means of movement. UNM is dead last in passing holding down the 120th slot with 48.8 passing yards per game. Only UNM and Army average fewer than 100 passing yards a game.

The Hawaii defense definitely bends up front. USC only picked up 81 yards on the ground but the Trojans bombed Hawaii for 394 yards passing.

Hawaii is off to the program's first 1-4 start since 2005. They have given up at least 47 points in the past three games.

Coach Davie says, "They are a totally different team at home than they are on the road."

Still, Hawaii was bombed 69-24 in Aloha Stadium by Nevada which had its way with Hawaii in rolling out 575 total yards.

Said Davie: "We're not Nevada. I don't think we are going to go in there and score 69 points."

Fair enough. But it doesn't look like you need too many points in order to beat Hawaii. They averaged 12 points a game vs. USC, Nevada, BYU and SDSU.

The Warriors are having trouble on both sides of the ball and both sides need to improve in order to adjust the scoreboards. The Hawaii defense needs to do something to get the Hawaii offense on the field more. The Hawaii offense needs to find ways to stay on the field - and get into the end zone.

The Warriors also lost 49-10 at Southern California, 47-0 at Brigham Young and 52-14 at San Diego State. They also won at home 54-2 over Lamar. Hawaii was outgained 412-to-173 by San Diego State where the Warriors lost three fumbles and went 2-of-11 on third downs.

Hawaii's junior quarterback Sean Schroeder said the problem is "lack of execution." Even in Hawaii's rout of Lamar, the Warriors only went 3-of-11 in third-down conversions. Hawaii had 149 total yards at BYU with 41 yards rushing.

There have been questions about the Hawaii quarterback position, but first-year coach Norm Chow says he's sticking with Schroeder. Chow says he likes Schroeder's toughness.

The Schroeder-led Warrior offense has averaged 20.4 points in five games and the Hawaii defense is giving up 43.8 points. Hawaii averages 104.2 yards on the ground and 162.4 passing. Unlike the Lobos, who have hung their offensive hat on running the ball, the Warriors have no signature attack.

They attempt to be multiple. They have run the ball 171 times and have thrown the ball 157 times. They have been outscored 55-to-10 in the first quarter.

Hawaii's top rusher is 6-foot redshirt freshman Will Gregory with 351 yards and a 4.7 average per carry. Schroeder has gone 87-of-157 with seven scores and five interceptions. He completes 55.4 percent of his passes. No other Hawaii quarterback has thrown the ball in 2012.

Schroeder made a long jump in his collegiate career - Duke to Honolulu. He did not play at Duke and the game against Southern Cal was his first action on a football field since his senior year in high school in 2008.

His top target is Jeremiah Ostrowski with 20 catches for 181 yards. Ostrowski, who often comes out of the slot spot for his receptions, played on the Hawaii basketball team last season. He had 13 assists vs. New Mexico State in last year's WAC semis.

Trevor Davis, a 6-foot-1 sophomore, has 15 grabs for 208 yards and Billy Ray Stutzmann has 13 catches for 150 yards, but has missed two games.

Warrior Mike Edwards is a decent kick return man but his 126.4 all-purpose average has been tainted by all the kickoffs the Warriors see. Edwards also tops the Hawaii defensive stats with 22 solo tackles in five games.

Chow is in his first year at Hawaii and trying to return the program to the glory years of the run-and-shoot offense. He is trying to do that with a new offensive set - the pro set.

He takes over a program that has seen losing season in two of the three years before Chow. Before that skid, Hawaii went to bowl games in seven of ten seasons and was known for a high-scoring, quick-strike offense. Coach coached 27 years at Brigham Young.