HONOLULU via Hawaii Athletics– The University of Hawai'i Rainbow Warrior football won its regular-season home finale in thrilling fashion, defeating UNLV 35-28 Saturday night at Aloha Stadium. Spurred by the magic of freshman quarterback Chevan Cordeiro and an inspired defense, UH reeled off 22-unanswered fourth-quarter points for its biggest comeback in more than 10 years. 
 
With the win, UH (7-5, 4-3 MW) claimed the Island Showdown Trophy; became bowl eligible; and snapped a four-game losing streak. Hawai'i also ensured its first winning regular-season since 2010. 
 
The Rebels (3-8, 1-6 MW), who took a 28-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, watched their 15-point lead slip away at the hands of Cordiero who threw touchdown passes on three consecutive possessions for UH. 
 
On his very first pass, Cordeiro hit JoJo Ward for a 64-yard touchdown strike to give the Warriors life. The freshman then connected with Ward on a 20-yard strike on the following drive. After the UH defense held, highlighted by linebacker Penei Pavihi's critical sack, the stage was set to complete the comeback. Cordeiro hit John Ursua for the 68-yard game-winning score with 1:25 remaining to send the Aloha Stadium crowd into a frenzy.
 
Cordeiro replaced starting quarterback Cole McDonald who finished with 175 yards on 14-for-30 passing and two interceptions. The Honolulu native threw for three touchdowns on only five attempts and finished with 158 yards. Ursua, who finished with 148 yards, and Ward, who totaled 109 yards, crossed the century barrier in the same game for the third time this season. 
 
The defense was crucial in the victory for the Warriors, forcing two punts and two turnover-on-downs in the fourth quarter. UNLV scored an early touchdown on a short field to start the quarter following McDonald's second interception, but would do no more damage on its next four drives. Pavihi led the way for the UH defense with a career-high 13 tackles, including two tackles-for-loss.
 
In the first half, the Rebels appeared to be on their way to victory behind a strong rushing attack. While the Warriors took an early lead on a Ryan Meskell field goal, UNLV stormed back with 21 straight points before Meskell's second kick closed the half at 21-6.
 
UH gained momentum in the third quarter. The Warriors shaved the deficit to 21-13 on McDonald's 3-yard run, a play set up by a key by 24-yard pass play on fourth down to Cedric Byrd. The UH defense kept the Rebels scoreless in the third quarter, including a fourth-down stop. But that momentum fizzled late in the third quarter when McDonald was intercepted in UH territory. The Rebels parlayed that to a touchdown that pushed their lead back to double-digits, before UH made its stirring comeback. 
 
Following the game, 18 seniors participated in the traditional "Senior Walk" ceremony.
 
UH will close its regular-season on the road when it travels to San Diego State Saturday, Nov. 24. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT/5:30 p.m. HT.