Rainbow Warriors Reclaim Paniolo Trophy With 17-13 Win
(Hawaii Athletics) - The University of Hawai'i football team rallied past Wyoming, 17-13 in a Mountain West thriller to reclaim the Paniolo Trophy, Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
Freshman quarterback Chevan Cordeiro threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to JoJo Ward with 1:26 remaining and time ran out on the Cowboys, who drove to the UH 14-yard line but spiked the ball with no time remaining.
With the win, UH is off to a 3-0 start in the Mountain West Conference for the first time ever and posted its 200thall-time win at Aloha Stadium.
The Rainbow Warriors (6-1, 3-0 MW) did not lead the entire contest prior to Ward's touchdown. Down 13-10, Cordeiro, who started in place of an injured Cole McDonald, led UH on a 10-play, 68-yard drive to retake the lead. The bulk of the damage came on the drive's final play as Cordeiro scrambled to his right and floated the game winner to an open Ward in the corner of the end zone.
Cordeiro looked every bit the part of the freshman starter through the first three quarters but still managed to throw for two touchdowns and 148 yards on 19-of-29 attempts.
The game proved to be a defensive struggle through the first half as the teams merely traded field goals. In fact, both teams combined for just 237 total yards in the first half. It was the lowest scoring half that UH has been involved in since a 2003 game at Nevada in which UH trailed 6-0.
In the second half, Wyoming (2-4, 0-2 MW) scored the first touchdown of the game on a 61-yard interception return. Defensive lineman Carl Granderson dropped back into coverage and took a Cordeiro pass uncontested into the end zone.
Two drives later, Cordeiro responded with his first career touchdown to wideout Cedric Byrd with less than a minute in the third quarter to tie things up, 10-10.
While UH held Wyoming under 100 yards of offense for the first three quarters, the Cowboys got a pair of big plays in the fourth quarter. Nico Evans' 63-yard run set up a short field goal by Cooper Rothe, who remained a perfect 8-for-8 on the season. UH then responded with the game-winning drive.
The Warrior defense picked up in a game where the offense struggled early. Linebacker Penei Pavihi led the team with 10 tackles, while the entire defense came up with five sacks, tying a season high. Defensive lineman Kaimana Padello added to his team lead with two sacks on the night.
The Warriors will next step out of MW play for a non-conference road game at Brigham Young, Saturday, Oct. 13. Kickoff is set for 8:15 p.m. MDT/4:15 HT.