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Hawaii 49, PSU 35

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

The University of Hawaii football team bounced back from last week’s season-opening loss to UCLA with a 49-35 victory last night over Portland State. It was the first game ever held at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex. The Rainbow Warriors are now 1-1 on the young season and will hit the road again this week to take on Oregon State. (The Beavers are 0-1 after dropping their opener last night to Purdue, 31-20.)

Here are five quick takes from Hawaii’s victory:

♦ Just as it would be unfair to overreact to the Rainbow Warriors’ crushing loss to a much superior UCLA team, it would be similarly unfair to try to accurately assess Hawaii after beating the Vikings. As Bobby Curran mentioned last week, players at the FCS level are usually not as skilled or physically imposing as their D1-A counterparts. FCS athletes with good speed usually lack size, and FCS athletes with good size usually lack speed. This was evident early on in the game, as Hawaii raced out to a commanding 28-0 lead in the first quarter. What FCS players do not lack, of course, is heart and determination. Credit the Vikings for fighting back and making the contest competitive in the second half.

♦ After being held to just 26 yards against UCLA (averaging 1.2 yards a carry), the UH ground attack put up 268 yards against PSU (5.6 average). Sophomore running back Dae Dae Hunter rushed for a career-high 128 yards on just 16 carries. QB Chevan Cordeiro, the team’s leading rusher in 2020, again used his legs effectively, finishing with 66 yards on the ground.

♦ Despite the win, Hawaii clearly still has work to do. The Rainbow Warriors committed six fumbles against the Vikings, losing the ball three times. The UH receivers are still dropping passes, and Cordero’s lone interception was the result of a pass bouncing off a receiver’s hands. Inexplicably, preseason All-Mountain West selection Calvin Turner suffered from a case of the dropsies, both in receiving and on punt returns. He’ll clean that up.

♦ Although surrendering 477 yards and 35 points, the UH defense had its moments. Hawaii forced four PSU turnovers (2 fumble recoveries, 2 INTs). They sacked Vikings QB Davis Alexander twice and had 7 tackles for loss.

♦ Store this nugget in your memory, because it will be the answer to a trivia question some day: Wide receiver Nick Mardner became the first person to score at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex. Mardner caught a 23-yard TD pass from Cordeiro in the game’s opening drive..

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