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Hawaii football loses close Mountain West conference opener to reigning champs 17-13

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Hawaii football loses close Mountain West conference opener to reigning champs 17-13

There's no beating around the bush here: Hawaii's 2021 Mountain West Conference opener vs. San Jose State on Saturday night was ugly. 

After a 2019 game that featured a combined 0 punts between both teams, this year's game saw 22. Throw in a 4-for-18 third-down conversion ratio, a fumble, a missed 48-yard field goal and an 18-for-39 night for Chevan Cordeiro through the air and you have one heck of a conference-opening loss.

The game, however, didn't start that way for Hawaii. After a good defensive stand by the UH defense, Calvin Turner capped off a 10-play, 71-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown run that would prove to be the only touchdown on the night for the Rainbow Warriors. 

A flat first quarter for San Jose State was met swiftly with a two-touchdown second quarter thanks to two Nick Starkel touchdowns: a 13-yarder to Isaiah Hamilton and a one-yarder to Jermaine Braddock. 

In the second half, Hawaii made it inside San Jose State's red zone twice, but failed to convert those two trips into touchdowns. Matt Shipley's 25 and 23-yard field goals both sailed in to give Hawaii a one-point deficit. 

By game's end, both teams had managed double-digit punts in a defensive slugfest that somehow featured over 600 combined yards of total offense. 

Cordeiro and company had a chance to win the game with seconds left on the clock in the fourth quarter, however a final-second heave sailed out of the back of the end zone. 

All in all, Nick Mardner led the way for UH with 97 yards on five catches. Defensively, Khoury Bethley and Jonah Laulu both racked up a sack and two tackles for loss, while Blessman Ta'ala added two tackles for loss himself. 

The Rainbow Warriors fall to 1-3 on the season and will await a road trip to former WAC rival New Mexico State next Saturday in Las Cruces. 

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