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Oct. 18—University of Hawaii quarterback Brayden Schager is set to pass the point of no return.
Schager has played in four games—the maximum needed to count this as a redshirt season. But it appears those plans to use this season as an eligibility-clock mulligan have been discarded as co-captain Chevan Cordeiro continues to mend. Three weeks ago, Cordeiro suffered an upper-body injury while attempting to tackle a New Mexico State player.
With Cordeiro not fully ready for quarterback assignments, Schager started in an upset of Fresno State on Oct. 2 and Saturday's road loss to Nevada. Schager is only the fourth true freshman quarterback to start for the Rainbow Warriors since 1996.
That season—Fred von Appen's first as UH head coach—freshman Josh Skinner was elevated to starter for the road game against Wyoming. Because of travel delays, the Warriors did not arrive at the hotel in Laramie until 1 a.m. on game day—11 hours ahead of the noon kickoff. In what was dubbed "Rout 66, " the Cowboys overpowered the Warriors, 66-0. Skinner was 7-for-19 for 72 yards and an interception in his only start of the season.
After junior-college transfer Nick Rolovich was inconsistent (by run-and-shoot standards ) in 2000, freshman Timmy Chang moved into the starting lineup. In his first two starts, both losses, Chang was a combined 49-for-92 for 579 yards and four touchdowns. He was intercepted twice. Chang finished with 3, 041 passing yards and 19 touchdowns and 19 interceptions in 12 games.
Tyler Graunke and Ikaika Woolsey both started games as second-year freshmen. Graunke started in the 2005 season opener against USC and also the regular-season finale against San Diego State. In both games, Colt Brennan entered in relief.
In his first two starts in 2013, Woolsey was a combined 8-for-22 for 100 yards in losses to Fresno State and San Jose State.
Schager has had uneven performances in his two starts. Against Fresno State, Schager was 11-for-27 for 116 yards, but he rallied the Warriors by leading three fourth-quarter scoring drives. Against Nevada, Schager's four interceptions were a result of trying to pierce passes through double coverages. Head coach Todd Graham said interceptions come from a combination of factors, and "we win or lose together."
But Graham has expressed confidence in Schager's youthful leadership and football knowledge. The deep-vertical calls were designed to take advantage of Schager's arm strength.
Graham is not putting a time frame on Cordeiro's return to full-time duties. Graham had hoped to craft a role for Cordeiro against Nevada. "I'm not going to put him out there until I know he's ready, " Graham said.
For the first time in two years, a limited number of ticket-holders will be allowed to attend a UH-hosted football game when the Warriors play New Mexico State in Saturday's rematch. Last month, the Warriors beat the Aggies in Las Cruces, N.M. UH is allowed up to 1, 000 spectators for the game at the Ching Complex. New Mexico State is bringing its allotment of 10 sponsors.