Hilltoppers, Helton preview Hawaii trip


Tucker Allen Covey / College Heights Herald

Redshirt senior linebacker Will Ignont leads the Hilltoppers onto Feix Field ahead of their matchup against Austin Peay in Bowling Green, Ky. on Saturday, Aug. 27. WKU won 38-27.

Camden Bush, Football reporter

WKU Football previewed its next challenge, a game in Honolulu against the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, in its weekly press conference Monday morning at the Paul Just Media Center in Diddle Arena. 

This weekend’s matchup with Hawaii is not just any other game. Head coach Tyson Helton started his career as an assistant coach at Hawaii and looks forward to the reunion. Helton spoke at length about his respect for Hawaii’s current team and of the people within the program.

“Looking forward to the trip and looking forward to a highly competitive game,” Helton said. “I think we’re going to face a really, really good football team, I think they match up well with us. I think it will be a four quarter game. We better show up and play our best game if we want to win.

While at Hawaii as an assistant coach, Helton saw Timmy Chang lead the Rainbow Warriors at the quarterback position. In his return, Helton will face off against Chang in a head coaching battle. Chang took the Hawaii head coach role this season.

“Timmy is just a great guy, just a pure hearted guy,” Helton said. “Just so excited for him that he gets to go back home to be the head coach in Hawaii and lead that team. He is the perfect guy to do it.”

Chang had a rough coaching debut Saturday against Vanderbilt, losing the season opener  63-10. Despite Hawaii being blown out in its first game, Helton still believes the Rainbow Warriors are a dangerous opponent. 

“Their running back is very talented, a very talented player who had two unfortunate fumbles. They just got their hand on the ball at the right time,” Helton said. “And it just so happened it popped out of the guy’s hands, it was just one of those weird kinds of deals. And so if he does not do that, it’s just a totally different game. And you’re going to have those games sometimes.”

Helton also saw some things in the Hawaii-Vanderbilt game that he thought could be of use for the Hilltoppers. Vanderbilt ran for over 400 yards against the Rainbow Warriors, including 163 yards from their quarterback on the ground.

“Austin [Reed] is very athletic too, so I think some of the things that their [Vanderbilt] quarterback did, he can do as well,” Helton said. “We just haven’t shown that part of our offense, everybody thinks we just like to throw it around the park, but from year to year the dynamics of your football team changes and you’ve gotta take what the defense gives you.”

Kickoff in Honolulu is set for Saturday, Sept. 3 at 11 p.m. CT.

Football reporter Camden Bush can be reached at [email protected]