Lamar football team squares off with Hawaii Saturday
Fresh off an impressive shutout win over Prairie View A&M, the Lamar University football team will head the furthest west its ever gone to battle Hawaii on Saturday evening from Aloha Stadium.
The first ever gridiron meeting between the Cardinals and Warriors will kick off at 11 p.m. CT. The game will be carried live in the Golden Triangle on Fox 4 and can be heard on KLVI 560 AM with Harold Mann providing the play-by-play and former LU linebacker Bo Brown serving as analyst.
“You have to almost embrace the distractions that go with it,” said LU head coach Ray Woodard about the road trip. “It’s going to be a great trip for us. We’re going out there early enough, and then we’re going to focus on Hawaii.
“I don’t think you can take the vacation part from it away. We’re going to go swimming. We’re going to have a luau. We’re going to go to Pearl Harbor. I’m excited about that. That’s part of it. But, I think, you can focus at the times you need to focus. We’re going to make sure that we have plenty of rest. We don’t play until Saturday night. We’re going to be smart Saturday. I just think, from a player’s standpoint, if you take a team to Hawaii and have them in the hotel where they can look out and see where we are, it’d be more harmful than good. We’re going to enjoy it, but we realize what we have to do.”
Just like the first one, Lamar’s (1-1) second road game of the year will come against a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) team. The Cardinals fell 40-0 at Louisiana-Lafayette before rebounding for a dominating 31-0 win over Prairie View A&M from Provost Umphrey Stadium.
Oklahoma State transfer Kevin Johnson accounted for three touchdowns against the Panthers, catching two and running one in. Sophomore running back Herschel Sims accounted for the other score with a 4-yard run in the fourth quarter.
Junior quarterback Ryan Mossakowski looked impressive in his home debut as he connected on 21-of-30 passes for 224 yards and a pair of scoring tosses. Mossakowski hooked up with nine different receivers in the game to keep the PV defense guessing.
Lamar’s defense was equally impressive with junior defensive back Chad Allen leading the way with a career-high 11 tackles. Through two games, Allen leads Lamar with 20 total tackles which is good enough to rank fourth in the Southland Conference.
The Cardinal defense, which didn’t allow Prairie View inside its own 20-yard line, registered four sacks against the Panthers. Lamar is allowing less than 300 total yards per game through the first two contests of the season.
The game will also mark the return to UH for Lamar offensive line coach and special teams coordinator Dennis McKnight. The NFL veteran twice served under current SMU head coach June Jones at Hawai`i, including in 2007 when the Warriors went 12-0 in the regular season and played in the 2008 Sugar Bowl.
The Warriors (0-1) opened the season at then No. 1 USC and fell 49-10. Hawai`i has a first-year head coach in Norm Chow and returns six offensive starters and four defensive starters off last year’s 6-7 team. Chow has been a part of three National Championship teams as an assistant.
“I think if we were playing a team that wasn’t any good or didn’t have the history that they have, it’d be a little bit more difficult,” said Woodard about preparing his team to face Hawaii. “But you turn on the film, and you can tell that’s a very good football team. It gets your team’s attention real fast. You don’t have to sell how good Hawaii is to this team, they can tell.”
The Warriors put up 31.5 points per game in 2011 and averaged just over 400 yards of total offense per game. All-Western Athletic Conference quarterback Bryant Moniz is gone off last year’s team, but Duke transfer Sean Schroeder was 24-of-39 for 208 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions in his first career game for the Warriors.
UH lost a pair of players on defense who registered at least 100 tackles in 2011. Junior cornerback John Hardy-Tuliau is the leading returning tackler after posting 73 stops a year ago. Fellow junior Mike Edwards led the Warriors with seven tackles and three pass breakups against the Trojans.