Hawaii football edged by San Jose State, 17-13

Sports

HONOLULU, HI – SEPTEMBER 18: Derrick Deese, Jr. #87 of the San Jose State Spartans makes a catch and is immediately tackled by Khoury Bethley #5 of the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors during the first half of an NCAA football game at the Clarance T.C. Ching Complex on September 18, 2021 in Honolulu, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

The University of Hawaii football team had a chance to win on the game’s final play, but lost to defending Mountain West Conference champion San Jose State 17-13 on Saturday night at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex.

Hawaii dropped to 1-3, while SJSU improved to 2-1.

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After falling behind 21-0 after one quarter at Oregon State last week, the Rainbow Warriors got on the board first on Calvin Turner’s 1-yard touchdown with 3:29 remaining in the first quarter. The ‘Bows led 7-0 after one quarter and played inspired defensive despite missing their best player in Darius Muasau, who was not eligible to play in the first half because of a targeting call in the second half of the Oregon State game. UH allowed just five rushing yards in the first quarter.

San Jose State tied the game at 7 on Nick Starkel’s 13-yard pass to a wide open Isaiah Hamilton on a wheel route with 5:26 left in the first half.

SJSU took a 14-7 lead with 2:20 remaining in the second quarter after Starkel’s second touchdown pass of the day, a one-yard pass to Jerm Braddock.

Hawaii recovered a fumble at the SJSU 31 with 10 seconds left and had a chance to score before the half was over, but Matthew Shipley’s 48-yard attempt went wide right.

Even without Muasau, the Rainbow Warriors held the Spartans to 24 rushing yards in the first half.

Hawaii cut the San Jose State lead to 14-10 after Shipley’s 25-yard field goal with 8:05 left in the third quarter. On its next offensive possession, Shipley made a 23-yarder to cut the SJSU lead to 14-13 with 3:29 left in the third quarter.

After a sure-fire touchdown was dropped by Braddock, Hawaii got the ball back after a sack and a punt. As both teams continued to exchange punts, Hawaii got the ball back on its own 20 with 4:42 left but coughed up possession on a Jared Smart fumble. From there, SJSU made Hawaii burn the remainder of its timeouts and took a 17-13 lead on a 26-yard field goal by Matt Mercurio with 1:19 left.

Hawaii drove all the way to the San Jose State 21 and had a desperation heave with one second left but couldn’t convert.

The game featured a whopping 21 punts between the two teams, with San Jose having 11 and Hawaii with 10. The contest also featured a multitude of drops from both sides.

Cordeiro completed 18 of his 39 passes for 242 yards, while Nick Mardner’s five receptions for 97 yards were both game highs.

For San Jose State, Nick Starkel completed 23 of his 50 passes for 235 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, while Kair Robinson ran for a game-high 62 yards on 21 carries.

DJuan Matthews and Khoury Bethley each had a team-high six tackles for UH, while Bethley had two tackles for loss. San Jose State’s Nehem Shelton had a game-high nine tackles and two pass breakups.

Next up for the Rainbow Warriors is a game at New Mexico State next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. HST.

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