HONOLULU – The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior football team lost its second straight conference game and its first home game of the season following a 56-26 loss to Air Force Saturday at Aloha Stadium. The Warriors fell to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the Mountain West.
Air Force took an early lead and used an efficient offense that also broke several big plays to maintain that advantage throughout. UH stayed within striking distance, trailing by nine points early in the fourth quarter. But the Falcons slammed the door with 21 unanswered points to defeat UH for the third time in the last four meetings to regain possession of the Kuter Trophy.
Back-up quarterback Mike Schmidt came off the bench to rush for 120 yards and three touchdowns while passing for 147 yards and one score. Schmidt replaced an injured DJ Hammond III in AFA's first possession and directed seven scoring drives in nine possessions while leading an offense that rushed for 353 yards on the ground.
Both teams moved the ball well in the first half, with each offense scoring on four drives. It was Air Force however that made the most of their possessions, scoring touchdowns on each of their first four drives to take a 15-point second-quarter lead. UH, meanwhile, settled for two field goals but was able to cut the deficit to 28-20 at the half after Melquise Stovall's second touchdown of the game late in the half.
The Falcons kept it going with its opening drive of the second half and on a 4th-and-2 got a 10- yard scoring run to once again go up by 15 points. UH cut deficit to 35-26 on the first play of the fourth quarter when Cole McDonald found JoJo Ward for a 10-yard touchdown. However the Falcons put the game away with a pair of Schmidt touchdowns including a 61-yard scamper.
McDonald passed for 404 yards and three touchdowns and eclipsed the 400-yard mark for the second time this season and fifth of his career. The junior moved past Dan Robinson for fourth all-time on the UH passing yardage list.
Receiver Jared Smart caught a career-high 11 passes for 140 yards and while Ward tallied six receptions for 89 yards.
The Warriors now head back on th