Aggies, Warriors to light it up

It’s common knowledge that Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan has inflated passing statistics, mostly because he operates the ultimate wide-open offense, often against weak competition.

The poor man’s version of Brennan is New Mexico State quarterback Chase Holbrook, who puts up similarly big numbers and does it in obscurity for a bad team.

Put those quarterbacks on the same field, along with two coaches — the Warriors’ June Jones and the Aggies’ Hal Mumme — who know nothing about being conservative, and the result should be one of the most entertaining games of the season.

Hawaii is a 291/2-point home favorite over New Mexico State today, and money has come in on the Warriors. But the game’s best bet, according to handicapper Bryan Leonard, is over the total of 791/2.

“Simply put, Hawaii is a scoring machine,” said Leonard, noting the Warriors have produced at least 41 points in 16 of their past 17 games. “Hawaii has not faced an offense with this much talent, and the Warriors always get their points. This should be a shootout.”

Holbrook returned from an injury last week to pass for 404 yards and three touchdowns in a 45-31 victory over Idaho. He also helped the Aggies score an average of 27.7 points in games against Auburn, New Mexico and Texas-El Paso.

Hawaii (7-0) is averaging 52.1 points, while ranking 31st nationally in total defense and allowing 24 points per game.

“But those defensive numbers are a complete fraud when you consider the Warriors have played very weak scoring units,” Leonard said.

Hawaii’s list of opponents is laughable — Charleston Southern, Idaho, Louisiana Tech, Northern Colorado, San Jose State, UNLV and Utah State.

The Aggies and Warriors met the past two seasons and combined for 79 and 77 points.

“Keep in mind that last year’s 49-30 Hawaii victory was played under the old timing rules which eliminated 9 percent of the game’s plays,” Leonard (footballwinners.com) said. “The new kickoff rules also increase scoring, so expect the kickoff specialists to be very busy.”

Leonard analyzes two more of his plays today (home team in CAPS):

Central Michigan (-21/2) over KENT: The Chippewas are 3-0 in the Mid-American Conference with victories by 20, 21 and 25 points. Central Michigan has covered in 12 of its past 13 MAC games. Kent has faced two conference foes at home, losing to Miami (Ohio) by seven and Bowling Green by 11. Freshman Giorgio Morgan starts at QB, after junior Julian Edelman got hurt last week.

WASHINGTON STATE (+6) over Ucla: This is a great spot for the Cougars, who had an extra week to prepare after four straight Pac-10 losses. They beat the Bruins four of the past five years, with the lone loss coming in overtime. UCLA is down to second-string QB Patrick Cowan, but his health is a major concern.

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