Hawaii closes season with win over UNLV

Sports

Hawaii linebacker Isaiah Tufaga (17) celebrates his fumble recovery against UNLV during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

The University of Hawaii football team closed its season with a 38-21 win over UNLV, putting an end to a 2020 campaign that was mired with ongoing uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Hawaii finishes its 2020 season at 4-4, while UNLV drops to 0-6. That UH was able to successfully play all eight of its scheduled games serves as a victory in itself. On Saturday, the Rainbow Warriors finally got the fast start they craved all season long, forcing a UNLV three-and-out on the game’s first possession and then taking their first 7-0 lead of the year on Chevan Cordeiro’s 54-yard read option keeper.

Hawaii doubled its lead with 13:27 remaining in the second quarter after freshman Dae Dae Hunter took a handoff on a sweep for a 1-yard score. The Rainbow Warriors then extended their lead to 21-0 on Calvin Turner’s 28-yard rush with 1:45 left in the first half, but UNLV responded less than a minute later on Max Gilliam’s 19-yard pass to Kyle Williams to cut the UH lead to 21-7 heading into halftime.

The ‘Bows put themselves back up by three touchdowns on true freshman walk-on Koali Nishigaya’s 4-yard rushing score with 13 minutes left in the third quarter.

UNLV made it a two-score game with 9:34 left in the third quarter after Charles Williams’ 2-yard score. Cordeiro threw an interception in the ensuing possession but made up for it with his second rushing touchdown of the day, making the score 35-14 in favor of UH with 1:16 left in the third quarter.

Just as the hosts seemed to gain separation, the Rebels responded with Williams’ 49-yard house call with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.

Matthew Shipley’s 44-yard field goal proved to be the only points scored in the fourth quarter, preserving the game’s final score.

Cordeiro completed 20 of his 33 passes for 252 yards and an interception while adding 88 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Gillam completed 16 of his 27 passes for 187 yards, one touchdown and one interception.

Darius Muasau was the game’s leading tackler with 18 tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a sack. It was his eighth straight game leading the Rainbow Warriors in tackles.

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