Heartbreak in Halawa, UH falls to Fresno St. after late comeback
HONOLULU – Cesar Silva's 37-yard field goal as time expired lifted Fresno State to a 41-38 win over Hawai'i Saturday at Aloha Stadium. The Rainbow Warriors dropped to 5-4 overall and 2-3 in the Mountain West with their third loss in the last four games.
Fresno State pulled off the win despite a furious rally by UH who erased a 14-point deficit in the waning minutes of the game. Behind backup quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, Hawai'i scored a pair of touchdowns in a 65-second span—aided by a recovered onside kick—to tie the game with just 1:08 remaining.
However, the Bulldogs (4-4, 2-2 MW) had the final word with a 9-play, 55-yard drive to set up the game-winning field goal. Ronnie Rivers ran for 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 19 carries, including a key 13-yard run on the final offensive play of the drive.
UH held a 24-14 lead at halftime, but it was all Fresno State after the break as the Bulldogs scored 24 unanswered points to pull away. It marked the Bulldogs eighth win over the Warriors in the last nine meetings and their six consecutive win over the Warriors in Aloha Stadium.
Hawai'i got off to a slow start as the Bulldogs got on the board first. But after going scoreless in the first quarter, UH exploded for 24 points –17 of them unanswered—in the second quarter to take a 24-14 lead at the break. During that stretch, placekicker Ryan Meskell converted a career-long 50-yard kick.
The Rainbow Warriors racked up 309 yards of offense in the first half with a balanced attack and took momentum into the locker room when Cole McDonald found JoJo Ward for a 48-yard scoring strike to give UH a 10-point lead. The final 3:35 of the half featured 24 total points by both teams after only 14 points combined in the first 26+ minutes of action.
Fresno State got its offense going in the second half. The Bulldogs scored on four consecutive drives, including a pair of Rivers' touchdown runs in the third quarter. Rivers' 4-yard run with one minute left in the third quarter gave the Bulldogs a 31-24 lead and the Bulldogs extended the lead to 38-24 early in the fourth quarter.
Cordeiro entered the game at the midway point of the fourth quarter. After nearly leading the Warriors to a score on his first drive, the sophomore directed a 6-play, 63-yard drive that included a 50-yard connection to Nick Mardner. Miles Reed punched it in for the score. On the ensuing kickoff, Darius Muasau recovered the onside kick and Cordeiro directed the Warriors on a 5-play, 49-yard drive capped by his 10-yard touchdown run.
Cordeiro finished the night with 5-of-9 for 71 yards passing and four carries for 33 yards.
The Warriors continue their homestand by hosting San Jose State Saturday, Nov. 9. Kickoff is 6:00 p.m. at Aloha Stadium