Hawaii - Oregon State TV viewer guide
Game day: September 7, 5 p.m. PT
Stadium: Reser Stadium – Corvallis, Ore.
Hawaii - Oregon State TV info: Pac-12 Networks
Story lines: Welcome back to Pac-12 country, Norm. After spending nearly 40 years in the college and pro game as a guru of an offensive assistant that included stops at Conference of Champions schools USC, UCLA and his alma mater, Utah, Norm Chow finally got his first head coaching gig. As an added bonus, it came at Hawai’i, the state in which he grew up and went to high school. There was everything to love about this hire, but it was a rocky first season on the island for Chow and Co. It started off with a 49-10 loss to then-No. 1 USC at the Coliseum and ended as a 3-9 campaign that included six 30-plus-point losses.
Surprisingly enough, the offense is what held Chow’s Warriors (now Rainbow Warriors) back. Hawai’i averaged just 297 yards per game, which was third-to-last among all FBS schools. Fall camp didn't exactly get off to a great start, either, when it was announced that offensive coordinator Aaron Price was no longer with the team, leaving Chow to take an expanded role with the attack. There is hope for improved stats in 2013, though, and that’s because there’s a new quarterback in Oahu. With his transfer year out of the way, Ohio State transplant Taylor Graham looks to inject some life into Chow's pro-set offense. He didn't take a snap in Columbus, but he was a highly touted recruit coming out of high school, when he was rated the No. 14 quarterback in his class nationally by Rivals.
[Related: 2013 Oregon State football schedule]
As good of a season as he could have in 2013, he might be hard-pressed to find open receivers against a very stout Beavers secondary. While 2012 Pac-12 interceptions leader Jordan Poyer is no longer in Corvallis, the other three starters in the defensive back corps return for another year with Mike Riley, and Ryan Murphy, Rashaad Reynolds (how could we forget this play he made against Wisconsin?) and Tyrequek Zimmerman aren’t anyone to laugh at.
Additionally, the battle to replace Jordan Poyer at cornerback was one of the good things for Oregon State this spring. Corners Sean Martin and Steven Nelson really proved their worth in March and April, so much so that Mike Riley has said he would like to have them both on the field at the same time. As such, the Beavers have taken the pressure off the cornerback battle because they plan on playing three cornerbacks at the same time so much. One other name to take note of in the scondary? Freshman Dashon Hunt, because he wants to be the next Jordan Poyer and isn't going to redshirt this year.
Also, as Corvallis Gazette-Times reporter Cliff Kirkpatrick points out, this game also serves as a recruiting tool for the Beavs. Five current Beavers (Titus Failauga, Manase Hungalu, Devon Kell, Ali’i Robins and Mana Rosa) hail from the Aloha State, and it gives Hawaiian high schoolers a chance to see what life on the Mainland is like. Additionally, sixth-year safety Steven Christian is a Hawai'i graduate and transferred to Oregon State last year, so this game will have extra meaning to him.
The Beavers will also make a return trip to Hawai’i in 2014, which brings us to this: Get ready to see the Rainbow Warriors a lot in the near future, Pac-12 football fan. Norm Chow plays host to his former Trojans to open the 2013 season, while his boys will welcome Oregon State and Washington to Aloha Stadium in 2014. The Rainbow Warriors also make a trip to Colorado next season (and then host the Buffs and travel to Seattle in 2015), so you’ll encounter this Mountain West foe a good bit.
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Tue 4/25 | 5:30pm PTLive