Inside The Numbers of Hawaii’s Mountain West opening blowout at Nevada

Sports

Hawaii wide receiver Cedric Byrd II (6) reacts after scoring a touchdown against Nevada in the first half of an NCAA college football… (AP Photo/Tom R. Smedes)

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Cole McDonald threw four touchdown passes, including three to Cedric Byrd II, and Hawaii beat Nevada 54-3 on Saturday night in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams.

McDonald completed 25 of 30 for 312 yards and Byrd had seven receptions for 87 yards. Jason Sharsh had nine catches for 123 yards – both career highs – and a score for Hawaii (4-1).

Byrd had TD receptions of 36 and 2 yards, Justice Augafa returned a punt blocked by Andrew Choi 2 yards for a score and Miles Reed scored on a 9-yard run to make it 28-0 with 5:33 left in the second quarter. After Brandon Talton’s 36-yard field goal got Nevada (3-2) on the board with 36 seconds left in the first half, Byrd ran 29 yards on a trick play and then had a 7-yard reception to set up a 44-yard field goal Ryan Meskell to give the Rainbow Warriors a 28-point halftime lead.

Hawaii, which had lost seven of its last eight against the Wolf Pack, won at Nevada for just the second time in 10 all-time tries. It was the second-highest margin of victory in series history; the Rainbow Warriors lost 73-12 in Honolulu on Dec. 17, 1948.

SERIES INFORMATION

  • UH ended a five-game losing streak in Reno and picked up its first win there since 2007.
  • It was only UH’s second win in Reno in 10 tries. UH improved to 10-14 overall against the Wolf Pack.
  • The 51-point margin of victory was UH’s largest in 10 all-time wins over Nevada.
  • Eight of the last nine meetings have been decided by double-digits.
  • This marked the fourth time since 2012 that Nevada was Hawai‘i’s conference-opening opponent (2012, ’13, and ’16). UH is now 2-2 in those games.

STREAKS/TRENDS

  • With the win, UH ended a 10-game losing streak in the state of Nevada, dating back to 2009.
  • UH is tied with Auburn for the longest streak in the country at 135 games without allowing a punt block. Hawai‘i last had a punt blocked by Notre Dame in 2008.

TEAM NOTES

  • UH’s 51-point win was its largest margin of victory in a Mountain West road game. The previous mark was 17 points at San Jose State (34-17) in 2016.
  • It also marked the second-largest margin of victory ever in a conference road game (WAC & MW). The largest is 53 points (63-10 at Utah State, 2006).
  • It’s the third-largest overall road win (55-0 at Redlands, 1948; 63-10 at Utah State, 2006).
  • UH’s 31-3 halftime lead was its second largest ever in a road game, second only to UH’s 41-10 lead at Idaho in 2007 (per Elias Sports Bureau).
  • UH’s 54 points were its most on the road since 2013 (59-56 loss at Wyoming).
  • The three points were the least allowed by UH on the road since a shutout of San Jose State in 2014.
  • UH went turnover-free for the first time this season, while generating a season-high three takeaways (two interceptions, fumble recovery).
  • The 203 yards by Nevada was the least yards allowed by UH this season.
  • UH scored 24 points in the second quarter, it’s most explosive quarter this season.
  • UH built a 28-0 lead for the second straight game.
  • UH owns a 4-4 mark in Mountain West openers.
  • UH is 8-13 in road/neutral games under head coach Nick Rolovich, including a 7-6 mark in Mountain West road games.
  • The Warriors are 5-5 in their last 10 national TV games dating back to last season. Prior to 2018, UH was 2-36 in their previous 38 nationally-televised games.

INDIVIDUAL NOTES

  • Cole McDonald completed his first seven passes and finished 25-of-30 for 312 yards and four touchdowns.
  • McDonald has thrown for at least one touchdown in 17 of 18 games dating back to last season.
  • McDonald has thrown for at least 300 yards in four of five games this year and has 11 such games for his career.
  • McDonald moved past Dru Brown (5,273) for sixth on the school’s all-time passing yardage list and now has 5,526 passing yards for this career.
  • McDonald is 105 yards behind Garrett Gabriel (5,631) for the No. 5 spot
  • McDonald also moved into UH’s top five in total offense with 6,124 yards.
  • Cedric Byrd II scored on touchdown catches of 36, 2, and 20 yards.
  • Byrd II has found the endzone in four of five games.
  • Byrd II scored multiple touchdowns in a game for the second time this season and for the fourth time in his career.
  • Byrd’s 29-yard run late in the second quarter on a kneel-down fumblerooski was UH’s longest rush from scrimmage this season.
  • Jason-Matthew Sharsh set career highs in receptions (9) and receiving yards (123) while finding the endzone for the first time this year with a 12-yard catch in the third quarter.
  • It marked Sharsh’s first-ever 100-yard game.
  • Ryan Meskell set a new career-long when he nailed a 44-yard field goal at the end of the first half.
  • UH blocked its first punt of the year when Andrew Choi stuffed a Nevada punt in the second quarter that Justice Aufaga returned 2 yards for a UH touchdown.
  • The last time UH scored off a blocked punt was last year vs. Navy.
  • Sophomore quarterback Justin Uahinui saw his first career action and tossed a 14-yard touchdown to Robert Funkhouser late in the game, the first touchdown for both players. 
  • True freshman Bubba Wa‘a made his first career start at right guard. He’s the third different player in as many games to start at right guard.
  • Junior linebacker Jeremiah Pritchard returned to action for the first time in three games and got the start, finishing with a pair of tackles
  • Kalen Hicks recorded his first career interception with a pick of Christian Solona in the third quarter. Hicks finished with a team-high seven tackles. 
  • Ikem Okeke also snatched an interception, his second this season

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