A spirited rally was all for naught for the University of Hawaii football team in a 41-34 loss to San Diego State at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex on Saturday night.
Hawaii falls to 2-5 overall and 0-2 in Mountain West Conference play, while San Diego State improves to 3-4, notching its first conference win in the process.
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San Diego State struck early after a blocked UH punt on the game’s opening possession, which led to a quick 22-yard field goal by Jack Browning.
The Aztecs extended their lead to 17-0 with 12:25 left in the second quarter following touchdowns by Lucky Sutton and Deshawn McCuin, the latter of which was a 70-yard pick-six.
Hawaii trimmed the deficit to 17-14 by halftime with a pair of passing touchdown from Brayden Schager to Pofele Ashlock and Alex Perry. The Rainbow Warriors then managed to tie the game at 17 on Matthew Shipley’s 46-yard field goal with 8:34 left in the third quarter.
From there, Saturday’s contest became a back-and-forth affair. Hawaii took its first lead of the game, 24-20, on Nick Cenacle’s 52-yard touchdown reception as the third quarter clock expired.
San Diego State then scored a pair of touchdowns a little more than a minute apart from each other, as Mekhi Shaw hauled in a 69-yarder with 13:33 remaining, followed by a 2-yard rushing score by Sutton with 12:27 left that was aided by a Pofele Ashlock fumble.
Hawaii cut the SDSU advantage to 34-31 with 10:22 remaining on a 1-yard rush by Landon Sims, only to turn the ball over again which led to a Jaylon Armstead 1-yard score, which was aided by a Sims fumble. In all, Hawaii coughed up the ball thrice, losing the ball each time.
In total, Schager completed 29 of his 47 passes for a career-high 427 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.
Defensively, Peter Manuma and Meki Pei each had a game-high nine tackles for UH.
Hawaii will next head to the road to face New Mexico for a noon HST kickoff on Oct. 21.