College Football Preview: Navy (0-0) at Hawai’i (1-0)

Navy at Hawai'i Game One

Navy at Hawai’i Game One (image: NavySports)

Navy Midshipmen at Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors

Saturday, September 1, 2018; 11:00pm ET
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu

The Side-by-Side Stats

As the 2018 season is just upon us, here’s a comparison between some of the big numbers frin Navy and Hawaii’s 2017 seasons.

Record: NAVY: 7-6… Hawai’i: 3-9
Total Points Scored: NAVY: 397 points (46th in the nation)… Hawai’i 274 points (107th in the nation)
Total Rushing Yards: NAVY: 4,568 yards (2nd in the nation)… Hawai’i: 2,018 yards (69th in the nation)
Total Times Running the Ball: NAVY: 822 times (5.6 yards per carry avg.)… Hawai’i: 420 times (4.8 yards per carry avg.)
Total 1st Downs: NAVY: 276 (48th in the nation)… Hawai’i: 238 (93rd in the nation)
Average Yards Per Play: NAVY: 6 yards (44th in the nation)… Hawai’i: 5.7 yards (59th in the nation)
Times Offense was Penalized: NAVY: 53 (for 528 yards)… Hawai’i: 94 (for 826 yards)

A Look at the QB’s

Malcolm Perry, Navy
For the first time in his career, Malcolm Perry begins the college football season as a starting quarterback. After an impressive 2017 campaign in which he started nine games at slot back but only three behind center, the junior spent the spring and summer learning Navy’s triple-option offense.

A notoriously hard system to master, the triple-option does fit nicely with Perry’s skill set. With incredible speed, great hands and a sizzling intellect, Perry’s only real flaw is his lack of passing experience (he’s attempted only two passes in his collegiate career.)

Ivin Jasper, Navy’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, assured the junior QB is “ready to play” after a strong fall camp. Jasper added, “(Perry) will make a lot of plays out of nothing. He’ll make me right as a play caller.”

Cole McDonald, Hawai’i 
Redshirt sophomore, Cole McDonald, impressed last week in Hawai’i’s season opener at Colorado State. After a 2017 season in which he attempted only nine passes for 22 yards, McDonald cemented his place as the Rainbow Warrior’s starting QB by leading Hawai’I to an upset 43-34 win.

Throwing for 418 yards while making 27 of 37 passes in his first career start behind center, McDonald also ran for 96 yards, scoring twice. Hawai’i’s run-n-shoot offense out-performed expectations versus Colorado State. McDonald led the offense to 617 total yards, UH’s highest total in almost five years. Hawai’i scored in six of its first seven possessions, in large part thanks to McDonald’s dynamic performance.

Hawai’i Players to Watch

Cedric Byrd (junior, WR)
John Ursua (redshirt junior, WR)
Fred Holly III (redshirt sophomore, RB)
Dayton Furuta (redshirt junior, RB)
Solomon Matautia (redshirt junior, LB)
Ikem Okeke (junior, DB)
Penei Pavihi (sophomore, LB)

Keys to a Navy Win

  1. Navy must control the clock. With Cole McDonald showing an innate skill at the run-n-shoot offense in last week’s upset win, the Midshipmen have to keep the ball out of the redshirt sophomore’s hands.
  2. Navy must win the possession game, especially late. A fourth quarter shootout between quarterbacks needs to be avoided.
  3. An offensive line led by Andrew Wood and Jake Hawk must help convert third downs, keeping Navy’s offense on the field and Hawai’i’s offense off of it.

Chloe Stowe

Full-time novelist and blogger, Chloe Stowe loves to spin a tale almost as much as she loves her Nats and Navy sports (on Twitter, she's the #NavyMaven and #curlyWchick). This season will be her first as the Director of Nationals Coverage for the Maryland Sports Blog.

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