In its final home game of the season, the University of Hawaii football team sent its seniors off on a winning note with an anxiety-filled 50-45 victory over Colorado State at Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex on Saturday night.
A crowd of 5,315 watched the Rainbow Warriors jump out to a 36-10 lead, only to see the Rams cut it to a one-possession game on three separate occasions in the fourth quarter behind 419 yards in the second half from the visitors.
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Hawaii improved to 5-7 overall and 2-5 in Mountain West Conference play, while Colorado State dropped to 3-8 overall and 2-5 in conference competition.
The Rainbow Warriors received to begin the game and took a 3-0 lead on Matthew Shipley’s 42-yard field goal with 12:52 left in the first quarter. The Rams answered on their first drive of the game on Cam Butler’s 69-yard receiving touchdown with 11:33 remaining in the first. Shipley’s third field goal in the first quarter alone gave Hawaii a 9-7 lead with 4:03 remaining in the opening period.
Colorado State took a 10-9 lead with 12:42 remaining in the second quarter on Cayden Camper’s 30-yard field goal. On the next drive, Hawaii took a 16-10 lead on Chevan Cordeiro’s 15-yard run with 9:35 remaining in the second quarter on what was the first touchdown drive that went over one play in duration since the team’s Oct. 30 loss to Utah State.
Hawaii added to its lead after Cordeiro found a wide-open Zion Bowens for a 93-yard touchdown with 3 minutes left in the first half. Hawaii extended its lead to 29-10 with 13 seconds left in the first half on Cameron Lockridge’s 40-yard interception return, a lead that carried into the break.
UH streched its lead to 36-10 on Cordeiro’s 42-yard touchdown pass to Nick Mardner with 9:09 left in the third quarter, but CSU cut the lead to 36-17 on a wide-open 3-yard touchdown reception by Gary Williams with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
Another Butler touchdown helped CSU cut the UH lead to 36-24 with 13:53 remaining. After forcing a three-and-out, CSU cut the lead to 36-31 with 7:01 remaining on David Bailey’s 31-yard rush. After the teams exchanged touchdowns, Dedrick Parson’s 37-yard rush with 2:27 remaining gave UH a 50-38 lead, only to see Williams trim the CSU deficit to 50-45 with 17 seconds remaining. However, UH recovered the ensuing onside kick and was able to run out the clock from there.
Cordeiro completed 23 of his 41 passes for two touchdowns, no interceptions and a season-high 406 yards, while Bowens’ 172 yards on six receptions were a game high.
Colorado State quarterback Todd Centeio completed 29 of his 48 passes for five touchdowns, two interceptions and a game-high 527 yards.
Defensively, UH linebacker Darius Muasau had a game-high 13 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and two sacks while forcing three fumbles.
The Rainbow Warriors close out their season with a road game at Wyoming on Nov. 27. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. HST.