3-2-1, football: The Daily’s primer on Hawai’i

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McDonald 9/13

Cole McDonald prepares to take a snap in Hawai'i's season opening win against Arizona in Honolulu. 

Fresh off the heels of its upset loss to Cal, Washington welcomes Hawai'i to Montlake for the first time since 2011. Read up on UH before the rainbow Warriors take the field at Husky Stadium. 

3 numbers to know

2,682: Miles between Husky Stadium and Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawai’i. The Rainbow Warriors encounter their first road test of the season after hosting Pac-12 foes Arizona and Oregon State. Saturday’s meeting will be the first between the Dawgs and Warriors since 2014 when the Huskies opened Chris Petersen’s UW campaign in Honolulu with a 17-16 win.

857: Through two games the Warriors have accumulated a whopping 857 yards through the air, good for third in the country. The Warriors play a run-and-shoot offense and will be looking to throw the ball deep on Saturday against the young UW secondary.

8: Total number of turnovers committed by the Rainbow Warriors this season, tied for most in the nation through two games. Quarterback Cole McDonald is responsible for five of those turnovers, throwing four interceptions against Arizona and one against Oregon State.

It will be important for the UW pass rush to pressure McDonald into tough throws, and keep the Warrior’s prolific passing offense, which ranked ninth in FBS in passing yards per game last season, off the field.

2 players to watch

Cole McDonald - QB

McDonald is a dual-threat catalyst for the Rainbow Warriors. He broke out in a big way last year for Hawaii, passing for 36 TDs and rushing for four more. Through two games this season, McDonald has accumulated 799 yards and eight TDs through the air along with 40 yards rushing on the ground.

For the Warriors to escape Seattle with a win, McDonald will need to keep the ball out of the hands of the Washington DBs. Look for the Rainbow Warriors to rely on McDonald early and often to try and pull off the upset.

JoJo Ward - WR 

Senior receiver JoJo Ward had a career game last weekend against Oregon State with 10 catches for 189 yards and four touchdown receptions. With John Ursua having departed for the NFL, this season has presented a larger role for Ward. The senior has already hauled in five TD grabs thus far in the young season, only four short of his total of nine last year. The UW secondary will certainly need to limit Ward’s damage on Saturday to avoid losing in back-to-back weeks for the first time since 2015.

1 recap of last week

It was a tale of two halves for the Rainbow Warriors’ defense against Oregon State last Saturday in Honolulu. The Beavers engineered four touchdowns and only one punt in the first half. After exchanging touchdowns in the first quarter, the Rainbow Warriors found themselves down 28-14 late in the second quarter before McDonald engineered an 11 play, 70-yard scoring drive to cut the lead to seven before the half. 

The Hawai’i defense then stepped up big time in the second half, holding the Beavers scoreless. The OSU offense sputtered with four punts, two turnovers on downs, and a missed field goal. Hawai’i also had its own troubles in the second half. After tying the game at 28-28, the Rainbow Warriors offense followed with drives ending in a fumble, and then two missed field goals by kicker Ryan Meskell. With 2:17 remaining in the game Meskell finally connected and put the Rainbow Warriors ahead for good at 31-28.

Reach contributing writer Anthony Edwards at sports@dailyuw.com. Twitter: @edwardsanthonyb

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