Football beat writer
Prediction: UCLA 41, Hawai’i 20
Yes, Hawai’i has won five straight games, but those wins have come against programs like Massachusetts, Middle Tennessee and West Carolina. Whatever the Bruins’ shortcomings, UCLA is in another tier as far as opponents go.
The Rainbow Warriors do boast a few threats that could allow them to spring a surprise, though: Quarterback Dru Brown, an athletic dual-threat playmaker, is similar to Texas A&M’s Kellen Mond, who gave UCLA trouble last week, and running back Diocemy Saint Juste has the ability to take over a game.
That said, the Bruins’ significant talent advantage should make for an easy victory. If UCLA’s still-unproven offensive line can provide him some time against a Hawaii defense that has five sacks in each of its first two games, Josh Rosen will have a great opportunity to continue building upon his Heisman Trophy resume. Watch for tight end Caleb Wilson, fresh off a 15-catch, 208-yard effort against A&M, to have his way with a Hawaii defense that allowed 179 yards to Massachusetts tight end Adam Breneman in the Warriors’ season opener.
Prediction: UCLA 48, Hawai’i 21
I really wanted to give Hawai’i more of a shot here, I really did.
But this UCLA team is coming off one of its biggest wins in recent memory. Josh Rosen opened up his junior campaign with a Heisman-like performance and there’s really no reason to expect him not to slow down in week two.
He’s gelling with his receivers and has found a go-to target in tight end Caleb Wilson. This game also presents seriously favorable match ups on the outside for the more speedy receivers like sophomore Theo Howard.
Hawaii’s starting two new corners this year and has given up 545 yards passing to Massachusetts and Western Carolina.
The first half will see three passing touchdowns from Rosen. I also really expect the running game to finally take a step in the right direction this week. Junior Soso Jamabo averaged 6.6 yards a carry last week in a limited role.
He and fellow junior running back Bolu Olorunfunmi are going up against a front seven that the offensive line should be able to handle.
Hawai’i’s quarterback Dru Brown will connect with either John Ursua or Dylan Collie for a score in the second or third quarter, but I expect running back Diocemy Saint Just to see most of the offensive load.
That being said, I also think the Bruins will try to run the ball for the majority of the second half, barring an unlikely poor showing by Rosen in the first. At this point we might see younger backs sophomores Brandon Stephens and Jalen Starks be involved in the mix.
This along with Memphis next week should really be stepping stones towards a huge matchup against No. 14 Stanford week four. I’ll be really shocked if this game is still competitive after the early third quarter.
Prediction: UCLA 55, Hawai’i 34
I’m expecting a little bit of an offensive bloodbath.
My best guess is that junior quarterback Josh Rosen will have a field day up against Hawai’i’s secondary, which might make it a little bit harder for the Bruin defense to keep focused all game long.
I have Rosen and his receivers accounting for six of the Bruins’ seven touchdowns. No one’s been too high on the running game lately, but I’m giving them a touchdown.
JJ Molson will go 2-for-3 on his field goal attempts, and that the one he’ll miss won’t really mean that much at all in the larger context of the game. He’ll still beat himself up about it.
Most of the Hawai’i points will come in the second and third quarters. The second quarter because UCLA will have a comfortable lead by that point, and the third quarter because this is the first game that will be featuring a 15-minute half time instead of a 20-minute one.
This is because the Pac-12 is trying to shorten games, and I’m thinking the UCLA defense will still be a little winded in the third.