VIDEO: Hawaii football ain’t afraid of no ghosts

Hawaii exorcised some demons at Nevada on Sept. 28 and will confront some old ghosts at Boise State on Saturday. Pictured, Derek Thomas and Kendall Hune tackled Nevada receiver Kaleb Fossum. / Photo by Steven Erler, Special to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser

The ghosts of road struggles past had no hold on Hawaii football when it took to Chris Ault Field at Mackay Stadium field on Sept. 28.

UH entered that game 1-8 all-time against Nevada in Reno. That, and constant drizzle in chilly weather mattered not as the Rainbow Warriors put together their most complete game of the season — and arguably in years — in steamrolling the Wolf Pack 54-3.

Now the Rainbow Warriors (4-1, 1-0 Mountain West) prepare to embark for Boise, Idaho, home to the No. 14 Boise State Broncos (5-0, 2-0) and “The Blue”, as they refer to their signature blue turf field at Albertsons Stadium. UH and BSU square off at 4:15 p.m. HST on ESPN2.

“(We learned at Reno) that they’re not scared of ghosts,” head coach Nick Rolovich said of his players to local media after Tuesday’s practice. “They’re not scared of Christmas past. They’re very now, here and now, and they’ve really taken that approach all offseason.”

Should UH (0-6 at Boise, 3-12 overall in the series) prevail coming off a welcomed bye week, it would represent one of the biggest wins in program history, likely putting the Warriors in the top 25 and the thick of the Mountain West title race.

NOTE: Corrects UH road record from 0-7 all-time at Boise mentioned previously.

The Broncos, starting a true freshman quarterback in Hank Bachmeier, opened the season with an impressive win at Florida State. BSU is coming off a 38-13 win at UNLV, but there have been close calls, too. Boise edged Marshall on The Blue, 14-7, on Sept. 6 and had to scrap for a 30-19 home win over Air Force on Sept. 20.

UH’s closest call to winning there came in 2006, when a very good — some say the best — Warriors team was in it all the way before losing by a touchdown, 41-34.

Since then the losses have gone: 27-7 (2008); 42-7 (2010); 55-0 (2015). The most lopsided to date was a 69-3 pasting in 2004.

So yes, there are ghosts, as there are for just about every other program to play the blue-clad players on the Smurf Turf. The most recent exception was Fresno State winning 19-16 there in overtime for the 2018 MWC championship.

Players Cole McDonald, Kaimana Padello and J.R. Hensley were of one mind in not paying that any mind Tuesday.

“We’re extremely poised. We obviously know the history of Boise State and Hawaii, but for us players, some of us who’ve never played Boise, it’s just another game on the schedule,” the said McDonald, who’s coming off a 25-for-30, four-touchdown, no-interception game at Nevada.

Hensley, the senior left guard, spoke of preparing for “faceless opponents” in not deifying teams like Washington and Boise.

Padello, the senior rush end who recorded two tackles for loss in Reno, helped UH not allow a touchdown for the first time since Nov. 15, 2014 at San Jose State.

“When you hear big-name schools, Alabama, Florida State, Boise State, you think about, ‘man, these guys are good teams,’ just because of what they’ve done previously,” Padello said. “But what it really just comes down to is executing your job to the best you can do. Coach Rolo has really preached that, our coaches have always preached it. It’s never about them. It’s about us.”


  1. BUCK FOISE October 8, 2019 12:53 pm

    Lord, I hope and pray that UH can just be competitive against Boise… I remember all of those embarrassing losses @ “The Blue”, most of them on National TV. 69-3 (2004) , 42-7 (2010), 55-0 (2015)… let’s not forget that the 2004 UH team had some really good players like Chad Owens, Timmy Chang, etc… the 2010 WAC Co-Champs team had Bryant Moniz, Kealoha Pilares, Alex Green, and Greg Salas… Sooo, what I’m trying to say is that even with our best teams, we usually get smoked @ Boise in front of the whole entire country… I really hope that I’m wrong and UH finally flips the script.. we will see… but at the same time, I won’t be surprised if we get blown out by 4-5 touchdowns…. With that being said… I hope the Boyz and coaching staff maximized their BYE week and come out focused and prepared. 49-47 Hawaii in an old fashioned shoot out . GO WARRIORS!!! 🌈🏈🔥

  2. H-Man October 8, 2019 12:58 pm

    JR’s nickname should be ” Red Beard, the Pirate.” And Rolo should wear that hat for the game and cover one eye with a patch.

  3. Derek October 8, 2019 2:17 pm

    Hawaii can win this game IF:
    1) Corey Batoon comes up with a defensive game plan and will slow down the Broncos and limit big plays.
    2) If Cole McDonald is efficient again like he did at Nevada
    3) Hawaii limit their turnovers and Hawaii create some turnovers too
    4) Win the special teams.

    Hawaii cannot start the game the same way as they did against Washington. You want to be close at the half to have a chance to win in the second half.

    I do believe that this Boise St. team is not as good as in past editions in terms of talent and explosiveness. Boise teams in the past would score 40, 50, even 60 points on a regular basis. It’s
    obvious to me. Now they seem to score in the high 30s, and low 40s. They scored only 14 against Marshall, at home. So I am hoping it’s a close game that will probably come down to a field goal that will win the game. You listening Meskell? I’ll go on a limb and call it an upset, Hawaii 38, Boise State 35. You hear me Meskell?

  4. Matt October 8, 2019 5:08 pm


    That’s an interesting statement you put up. I do also would like to point out that, on the surface, the numbers by both teams do look interesting. Here’s where it stands:

    Point average scoring:
    Hawaii – 37.0 ppg
    BSU – 32.6 ppg

    Total rushing yard average:
    Hawaii – 123.8 ypg
    BSU – 151.4 ypg

    Total receiving yard average:
    Hawaii – 356.8 ypg
    BSU – 323.0 ypg

    Total yard average:
    Hawaii – 480.6 ypg
    BSU – 482.2 ypg

    Penalty average:
    Hawaii – 5.4
    BSU – 5.6

    Penalty yard loss average:
    Hawaii – 52.8
    BSU – 55.2

    Third down percentage:
    Hawaii – 42.6
    BSU – 46.7

    Fourth down percentage:
    Hawaii – 75.0
    BSU – 33.3

    QB Completions/Passes/Interceptions:
    Hawaii – 146 – 205 – 9 = 71.2%
    BSU – 115 – 186 – 3 = 61.8%

    Opponent points average allowed:
    Hawaii – 27.4
    BSU – 16

    Points scored in 1st half average:
    Hawaii – 11.5
    BSU – 8.1

    Points scored on 2nd half average:
    Hawaii – 7.0
    BSU – 7.4

    Opponent points average allowed in 1st half:
    Hawaii – 9.9
    BSU – 4.6

    Opponent points average allowed in 2nd half:
    Hawaii – 3.8
    BSU – 2.2

    Average time of possession:
    Hawaii – 33:27
    BSU – 31.12

    With these stats, this is probably gonna be coming down to these things for Hawaii and Boise State;

    1) Good decisions on offense.

    2) Whose defense will make good plays.

    3) Managing the clock efficiently.

    We’ll just have to see what happens then. This should be an interesting fight.

  5. Young Warriors Fan October 8, 2019 5:08 pm

    My two cents…..watching the UNLV/Boise St. game….I only saw one explosive play. It was a 75 yard touchdown that looked like there was a coverage breakdown on the UNLV secondary. They try some “trickery” but I think the Warriors will be ready for that (credit to the film crew). Stats on 3rd down against UNLV (1-12) is not very good. They tried to pound the ball up the middle, little success. To me the Warriors need to be ready for the sideline quick pass and the screen pass.

    Defensively I think the Warriors are ready! No penalties, a couple of picks and rattle that freshman QB!

    Cole and the offense need to stay humble and don’t force the ball into situations. Open the “touchdown” flood gates!

  6. BigIslandSmokemeat October 8, 2019 7:16 pm

    Washington losing again…does that drop our RPI?

  7. Allansa October 8, 2019 7:35 pm

    Thanks Matt.
    I like your comparisons.

  8. Kazu October 8, 2019 7:48 pm

    Boise by 17

  9. H-Man October 9, 2019 11:22 am

    Boise St colors: Orange and Blue. Warriors should feel at home since it should remind them of Aloha Stadium.

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