Quarterback Dan McGwire says he'll take a vendetta onto the field Saturday night when San Diego State hosts Hawaii in a Western Athletic Conference game.
"I don't think (the Rainbows) hit me once above the waist last year. Everything was below the waist," McGwire said about Hawaii's 31-24 victory over the Aztecs last season."I hyperextended my knee when I took a shot directly in the knee and it moved backwards. I don't know if they intended to do it or if that's how they're taught, but it made me upset because I don't think it's clean football."
Hawaii's defensive strategy is attack a throwing quarterback like McGwire with a five-man front and various blitzes.
"They take great pride in putting a quarterback out of the game," said Aztecs coach Al Luginbill, whose team is 3-4 overall and 2-2 in league play. "They hit (quarterbacks) hard . . . (but) I don't think they're a cheap-shot football team."
Hawaii, 5-3 and 2-2 in the WAC, will be playing its final road game of the season.
The Rainbows have won just one of their previous three road contests this year, a 19-7 victory over Utah seven weeks ago. Their last road game was a 12-10 upset loss four weeks ago to Texas-El Paso.
"Historically, we have been a fairly good road team. Whether we're playing at San Diego or at home, you have to be a little better to win on the road," Hawaii coach Bob Wagner said.
"People got misled by last year's team because we lost both of our road games. The year before, we were 3-0 on the road and 6-3 at home. I think too much is made of us playing on the road."
Hawaii's defense will face an Aztecs offense that ranks No. 4 in the nation in scoring with an average of 41.3 points a game.
McGwire is third nationally in passing efficiency, and two of his receivers are in the top six. Patrick Rowe leads the country with 120.4 receiving yards a game and Dennis Arey is No. 6 with a 106-yard average after five 100-yard outings in the Aztecs' last six games.
Hawaii's defense, led by outside linebacker Mark Odom, has allowed a WAC low of 17.3 points a game.
"They have an excellent defensive team with impact players. Mark Odom is as good of an outside linebacker as you'll see in college football," Luginbill said.
"They've developed a defensive tradition. They're very aggressive and attack. We'd like to develop a tradition like that here."
The Aztecs had the worst-ranked defense among the nation's 106 Division I-A teams until last week, when they held Utah to 200 yards offense in a 66-14 win at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium. It was the first time this season that San Diego State's defense held an opponent under 300 yards.
Other weekend games on the WAC schedule find BYU at Wyoming, Utah at New Mexico, Air Force at Army and CSU playing host to Tulsa. Texas-El Paso is idle for the second straight week.
Air Force (4-5) takes aim on the Commander-in-Chief's Trophy and a possible Liberty Bowl berth when the Falcons face service-academy rival Army (4-4).
CSU can stay in the bowl picture with a victory over Tulsa (2-7), which has been victimized by injuries and a tough schedule.