OSU's Reuben Jackson had six catches for 126 yards in his last two games.
Warriors are red-hot
Oregon State has a way of running into Hawaii when UH is hot.
On Nov. 25, 1989, the Rainbows beat the Beavers 23-21 to improve to 9-2 with their fourth win in a row. UH finished with a 9-3-1 record after losing to Michigan State 33-13 in the Aloha Bowl.
Hawaii vs. Oregon State
Kickoff: 7:05 p.m.
The Line: Hawaii by 7 1/2
On Dec. 25, 1999, Hawaii beat Oregon State 23-17 in the Oahu Bowl, capping the biggest one-year turnaround in college football history. UH finished 9-4 in June Jones' first year as coach.
Tonight, the 8-4 Beavers try to end the longest single-season winning streak in UH school history. The 10-2 Warriors have won nine in a row and are ranked No. 24.
Here's what to watch for -- or listen for if you're stuck in traffic on the way to sold-out Aloha Stadium:
When Oregon State has the ball: Running back Yvenson Bernard is steady and sturdy. He's had more than 100 yards rushing in 11 of his last 19 games.
"He reminds me of the San Jose State guy (Yonus Davis), but bigger," UH defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville said. That means even if the Warriors corral the 204-pound Bernard at the line of scrimmage, it is unlikely he'll go down before contact like Davis did on several occasions.
Quarterback Matt Moore has thrown 144 passes without an interception.
UH cornerbacks Gerard Lewis and Myron Newberry are solid tacklers and almost always in the right place. And Lewis came up with a big interception to set up UH's winning TD against Purdue. Their lack of height, however, told on them against the Boilermakers' tall receivers. Oregon State's starters -- 6-foot Sammie Stroughter and 5-10 Ruben Jackson -- don't provide much of a vertical mismatch, but Stroughter is a big-time talent with 1,100 receiving yards.
"I don't want anyone else, to be quite honest, right now back there than those two guys. They're playing very well and they're playing smart," Hawaii coach June Jones said of Lewis and Newberry. "They're doing what we want them to do. There's something to be said for that."
When Hawaii has the ball: Running back Nate Ilaoa didn't practice much, but will likely play with a painful heel bruise. His level of effectiveness might determine the outcome, especially if the Beavers take a chance and don't account for him in the game plan.
When healthy, Ilaoa is devastating. Although he fumbled the ball away twice leading to two touchdowns for Purdue, Ilaoa was the difference in UH's win. He rushed for two touchdowns and a career-high 159 yards. It was also his third game of the year with more than 200 total rushing and receiving yards (211).
If the 254-pound Ilaoa needs to be spelled, the job goes to 296-pound Reagan Mauia. Jones said Mauia's 16-yard catch-and-run on a shovel pass to restart UH's sputtering offense in the fourth quarter was the play of the game. Still, Mauia's blocking is his strongest attribute, and he may get more playing time to help the Warriors' offensive line against a solid Oregon State defensive line.
"They have a very good front four," Jones said. "And that matches up with our strength."
Center Samson Satele leads the nation with 51 starts in a row.
UH quarterback Colt Brennan is on pace to break the NCAA records for touchdown passes in a season (he has 51 and needs three more to tie) and pass efficiency rating (he is at 186.7 and the mark is 183.3).
The Oregon State secondary, led by safety Sabby Piscitelli (three interceptions), hopes to knock him off track. But while the Beavers are 30th nationally in total offense allowed, they've been vulnerable against the pass (60th at 300.8 yards per game). That could be a problem against the Warriors, who lead the nation with nearly a quarter mile by air per outing.
Special teams: UH's Dan Kelly had to lobby for the chance to kick a 52-yard field goal last week. After making his career-long effort and a 22-yard chip shot, the sophomore is now 10-for-11 for the season. His only missed field goal was blocked.
"I think I have Coach Jones' confidence now," Kelly said.
His OSU counterpart, Alexis Serna, is one of the country's most highly touted kickers. He's made 21 of 28 field goals this year, including a 58-yarder against Cal.
Stroughter returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown in the Beavers' win against USC, and UH's Ross Dickerson went 100 yards on the opening kickoff against Idaho.
Since then, Warriors opponents have elected to receive when winning the coin toss.
Oregon State tight ends vs. Hawaii defense
Mention "tight end" and Hawaii fans freak out.
They either decry June Jones' reluctance to employ one in his four-wide offense or fret over the inability of the UH defense to stop the opposing team's player at that position.
Sometimes the complaining is completely justified, like last week when Purdue's Dustin Keller caught six passes for 69 yards and two touchdowns.
Tonight's challenge may be even more difficult, as UH tries to stop Oregon State's Joe Newton.
The 6-foot-7, 256-pound senior is one of the best in the country at his position. He caught 28 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns -- relatively modest numbers, but good considering he is just one of many offensive weapons for the Beavers.
"He's about as good as I've ever seen," UH defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville said. "He's big, but he moves well."
The Beavers like to throw to Newton on crossing patterns, especially near the goal line. They'll also use him often in combination with backup Jason Vandiver (6-4, 262).
There's a popular misconception that the strong safety is solely responsible for the tight end. For UH, it depends on the particular defensive call.
"Sometimes I wish it were that way," defensive backs coach Rich Miano said. "Because I think Jake (Patek) could lock him up."