By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
In a thrilling upset, the University of Hawaii football team erased a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit to shock 18th-ranked Fresno State, 27-24, at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex. The victory snapped Hawaii’s 13-game losing streak against nationally ranked teams.
The win was even more remarkable considering that the Rainbow Warriors’ starting QB, Chevan Cordeiro, was a last-minute scratch due to an undisclosed injury. Hawaii started true freshman Brayden Schager, who until today had thrown just six passes all season.
Hawaii is now 3-3 on the year, and 1-1 in Mountain West play. The Bulldogs fell to 4-2 (1-1).
♦ STAT OF THE GAME: Hawaii took advantage of six Bulldog turnovers, including five by QB Jake Haener (4 INTs, 1 fumble). Three of those turnovers led to UH scores, and two halted Fresno State drives in the red zone.
♦ TURNING POINT: Schager struggled for the game’s first three quarters, completing just 7 of 21 pass attempts. In Hawaii’s first possession in the fourth quarter, however, the true freshman got going. On 3rd and 4 at the FSU 26, Schager found a wide open Caleb Phillips, and the TE rumbled in for a TD. Schager’s next three passes were also complete, including an 18-yard strike to Calvin Turner for another score. Schager finished the game 11 for 27 for 114 yards, 2 TDs and no INTs.
♦ UH OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: All-purpose back Calvin Turner finished the game with 100 total yards (59 rushing, 41 receiving) and 2 TDS. Honorable mention goes to RB Dae Dae Hunter, who carried the Hawaii offense for much of the game. Hunter finished with 127 yards rushing on 21 carries (6 yards per carry).
♦ UH DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Safety Khoury Bethley had a game to remember, picking off Haener twice and also sacking Haener and forcing a fumble. The senior defensive leader also had 9 total tackles (6 solo). Think he has a chance to be named the MW Defensive Player of the Week?
♦ UH SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE GAME: Placekicker Matthew Shipley was 2 for 2 on field goal attempts, including a 33-yarder with 3:33 left in the game to put Hawaii ahead. Shipley has been an unsung hero for the Rainbow Warriors all season, connecting on 6 of 7 FG attempts ang going 20 for 20 on extra point attempts.
♦ GAME GRADE: A-minus. The Hawaii defense hung tough throughout the game, and the offense turned it up when it mattered most. The victory says a lot about the team’s toughness, heart and ability to overcome adversity. It was a statement win.
♦ WHAT’S NEXT: The Rainbow Warriors have a week off before resuming conference play with a road game against Nevada on Saturday, Oct. 16. The Wolf Pack knocked off Boise State earlier today, 41-31, to go 3-1 on the season.
PHOTOS BY CHANEL TSUTSUSE:
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