Melquise Stovall, like the rest of the University of Hawaii football team, was not intimidated by UH’s first two opponents just because they come from a so-called “Power Five” conference, and UH plays in a “Group of Five” league, the Mountain West.
In fact, in Stovall’s case, as a freshman he played for Cal, another school from the same conference as Arizona and Oregon State. Hawaii vanquished the latter two Pac-12 teams to get off to its third 2-0 start in as many seasons.
In 2016, Stovall caught 42 passes for 415 yards and three touchdowns. He grabbed four receptions for 61 yards in his college debut, including a 14-yard touchdown. That was in Sydney, Australia — against, and you knew this if you are up on recent UH football history — the Rainbow Warriors.
In another connection, Cal upset Washington, 20-19, last week as the Warriors were beating the Beavers 31-28. Hawaii visits Seattle on Saturday as a 21-point underdog to some angry Huskies. Stovall caught 1 pass for 10 yards for Cal against Washington in 2016.
Stovall said he is happy for his former teammates, and watched a replay of the Cal-Washington game to get some tips for this week against UW.
“I was interested in seeing the things Cal did right and also the things they didn’t do right that we can learn from,” he said after practice Wednesday.
Stovall missed nearly all of the 2017 season due to injury. In the spring of 2018, he transferred to a junior college after he had been suspended from the Bears for “conduct detrimental to the team,” according to information from Cal.
He caught 17 passes for 289 yards and two TDs in six games at Riverside City College last fall.
In his Aug. 24 UH debut against Arizona, Stovall returned two kickoffs for 65 yards and two punts for 8.
This past Saturday against Oregon State, Stovall got into the game as a receiver, catching three passes for 42 yards. He also returned a kickoff 65 yards, totaling 93 yards on two kick returns and 10 yards on three punts.
Stovall used the bye week between the Arizona and Oregon State games to his advantage, receivers coach Andre Allen said.
“He’s been doing things the right way, making good reads. He showed us he can do it. He’s always had the talent to be a big-time guy in this (run-and-shoot) offense,” Allen said. “He’s going in the right direction. … It was just understanding the offense because other guys are counting on you to do the right thing consistently. In the two weeks in practice he really showed he could do it and gained our confidence.”
Said Stovall: “I showed the coaches that I’d learned certain option routes, showed that I know the offense.”
The long kickoff return Saturday came after the Beavers’ first score, in the first quarter, and put UH in position to tie it at 7 just two Cole McDonald passes to JoJo Ward later.
“It felt good to get the momentum back,” Stovall said. “Everybody did their job and I just had to run.”