Hawaii football wins season opener at Fresno State


Hawaii football (courtesy Hawaii Athletics)

The Todd Graham era at the University of Hawaii is off to a 1-0 start after a 34-19 Rainbow Warrior win at Fresno State.

It is the first win for the program at Fresno State since 2016.

The game got off to an inauspicious start for the Rainbow Warriors. Sophomore receiver Lincoln Victor fumbled the opening kickoff, and the Bulldogs promptly capitalized with a 7-yard touchdown by Ronnie Rivers.

Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro was sacked four times in the first quarter but also ran for two scores in the first half, guiding the Rainbow Warriors to a 17-13 lead at halftime. The ‘Bows defense forced two turnovers in the first half, led by graduate transfer linebacker Quentin Frazier, who had four tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack and a forced fumble at the break.

Cordeiro ended up completing 20 of his 30 passes for 229 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. The Rainbow Warriors did their damage on the ground, running the ball 53 times for 323 yards and four touchdowns. It is the most yards UH had run for in a game since it rushed for 344 yards in a 38-17 win over Nevada in 2016.

Cordeiro was the game’s leading rusher with 116 yards on 13 carries. Graduate transfer Calvin Turner had the two other touchdowns for the ‘Bows, carrying the ball eight times, primarily out of the wildcat formation, for 60 yards and two scores. Lead back Miles Reed added 109 yards on 21 carries.

Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener completed 17 of his 31 passes for one touchdown and three interceptions.

The ‘Bows defense forced four turnovers, led by Eugene Ford’s two interceptions. Defensive end Darius Muasau had a game-high 10 tackles, including a sack.

Graham is the first UH football head coach to win his debut since Bob Wagner in 1987.

The Rainbow Warriors will remain in the mainland and departed for Denver on Saturday night. The ‘Bows will bubble up there before making their way to their next game at Wyoming (0-1), which is set for Friday at 3:45 HST. The game will be televised nationally on FS1.

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