UH football Mountain West title game bound after 14-11 thriller over SDSU
HONOLULU – The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior football team made history in Halawa with a 14-11 Mountain West victory over San Diego State Saturday night at Aloha Stadium. With the win, UH captured a share of the West Division title and earned a spot in the conference championship game for the first time in school history.
The Rainbow Warriors (8-4, 5-3 MW) will face Mountain Division representative Boise State in the title game, Dec. 7 in Boise, Idaho a week after UH wraps up the regular season with a non-conference match-up against Army West Point at Aloha Stadium.
Facing one of the nation's top defenses, Hawaii managed just two scoring drives – both of which resulted in touchdowns and consumed more than 90 yards and at least 14 plays. Meanwhile, UH's defense, which has given up one touchdown in the last seven quarters, held the Aztecs (8-3, 5-3) to 89 yards rushing, their second lowest of the season.
Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro came off the bench to rally the Warriors once again. He entered the game on UH's second possession and directed a season-long 96-yard drive on 14 plays. The drive was fueled by 53 rushing yards by Cordeiro and capped by an 11-yard Fred Holly III run that put UH up 14-3 with 5:15 left in the third quarter.
The Aztecs answered on their ensuing possession with a 16-play drive that resulted in a Ryan Agnew 5-yard touchdown run on 4th-and-goal. Agnew converted the 2-point conversion on another run up the middle to cut the deficit to 14-11 with 12:58 left.
After the teams traded punts, the Aztecs got the ball back with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter. Agnew drove SDSU down to the UH 31, setting up a 48-yard field goal attempt by Matt Araiza, however his kick went wide right igniting a wild Hawai'i celebration.
UH, which entered the game averaging 35.8 points per game, were held to their lowest output in a win under head coach Nick Rolovich. The Warriors also finished with season-lows of 215 yards passing and 347 yards of total offense. Cordeiro was 9-of-16 for 71 yards and led the team with 59 yards rushing on eight carries.
Hawaii set the tone on its opening possession. The Warriors put together a methodical 15-play 92-yard drive that took 8:30, capped by a Jason-Matthew Sharsh 8-yard touchdown catch from Cole McDonald. McDonald was 6-of-7 on drive, which included two acrobatic catches by Sharsh in the endzone and Jared Smart on a key 3rd down.
SDSU got its first break of the game with Luq Barcoo's interception at the UH 39 with 1:29 left in the half. The Aztecs parlayed that turnover into a 27-yard field goal by Araiza as the Aztecs made it a 7-3 game at the half.
Kickoff for next week's Senior Night game against Army West Point is 7:30 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network. UH's 24 seniors will be honored following the conclusion of the game.