Hawaii football runs out of gas in 34-17 loss at Nevada


Hawaii quarterback Brayden Schager (13) hands the ball off to Dae Dae Hunter (0) during the first half against Nevada in an NCAA college football game in Reno, Nev., Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes)

After staying competitive for nearly three quarters, the University of Hawaii football team ran out of gas late in a 34-17 loss at Nevada on Saturday.

The Rainbow Warriors trailed 20-17 at halftime but were outscored 14-0 in the second half after losing the turnover battle 5-0.

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Hawaii drops to 3-4 overall and 1-2 in Mountain West Conference play, while Nevada improves to 5-1 overall and 2-0 in Mountain West games.

After Chevan Cordeiro was out again as he continues to heal from a shoulder injury, true freshman Brayden Schager got the starting nod for the ‘Bows but threw four interceptions. Schager ended up completing 22 of his 39 passes for 205 yards. Cordeiro appeared briefly to punt in the fourth quarter.

The Wolf Pack drove swiftly down the field on the game’s opening possession but settled for a 23-yard Brandon Talton field goal with 9:46 left in the first quarter. Hawaii answered with a 75-yard touchdown run from Dae Dae Hunter on the team’s first play of the game on offense.

After the first quarter ended with Hawaii leading 7-3, the Wolf Pack took the lead back on Toa Taua’s 6-yard rush with 12:58 remaining in the second quarter. Not to be outdone, Hunter ran for an 81-yard touchdown on UH’s next play from scrimmage to put the ‘Bows back in front.

Nevada jumped back in front on Taua’s second touchdown of the day with 9:39 left in the first half, which was preceded when a Calvin Turner fair catch fumbled off of Hugh Nelson, whose back was to the ball. After Matthew Shipley’s 28-yard field goal tied the game at 17, Nevada took a 20-17 lead into the half on Talton’s 45-yard field goal with 55 seconds left in the second quarter.

The Wolf Pack extended their lead to 27-17 with 10:44 left in the third quarter on a 28-yard score from Carson Strong to Romeo Doubs. After Schager threw an interception at the Hawaii, Nevada drove all the way to the Hawaii 3 and decided to go for it on fourth-and-goal, a decision that was rewarded by Tory Horton’s touchdown grab from Strong to put the Pack up 34-17 with 2:25 left in the third quarter.

Hunter had a game-high 181 rushing yards on eight carries for UH, while Khoury Bethley had a game-high 13 tackles. For Nevada, NFL Draft prospect Carson Strong completed 34 of his 54 passes for 395 yards and two touchdowns.

The Rainbow Warriors will return home to take on New Mexico State on Oct. 23 at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex. It will be the first Hawaii football game where fans are allowed to attend since 2019, as 1,000 masked fans vaccinated against COVID-19 will be allowed to enter. However, the vast majority of the ticket allotment will go to families of players, coaches and staff.

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