By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
Ouch. Any remaining hope of challenging for the Mountain West Conference championship dissolved in the cool, thin air in Logan, Utah today, as the University of Hawaii football team got trounced by Utah State, 51-31, in front of 19,219 fans at Maverik Stadium. Hawaii has now lost five straight games to the Aggies. The Rainbow Warriors are now 4-5 on the season (1-3 in conference play). Utah State improved to 6-2 (4-1).
♦ STAT OF THE GAME: Hawaii went into the game hoping to pound the ball against the Aggies, but that turned out to be a bust. UH held to 12 total rushing yards on 22 carries. That’s 0.5 yards per carry. If the Rainbow Warriors could have established an effective ground attack early on, the game certainly would have been more competitive.
♦ TURNING POINT: It’s tempting to say the game turned when USU went up 17-0 early in the second quarter, as slow starts have been a recurring problem for Hawaii. But, to be fair, Hawaii pulled to within 17-10 and only trailed 20-10 at halftime. But then the second half started, and Hawaii surrendered three straight TDs; the Aggies scored on drives of 75, 80 and 69 yards. That was just too much to overcome.
♦ UH OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Chevan Cordeiro returned to the lineup and produced a gutty performance, going 23 for 39 for 296 yards, three TDs and a pick. His threat as a runner was held in check, and he missed on some big opportunities at times, but Cordeiro showed why the Hawaii offense is simply better when he’s taking the snaps.
♦ UH DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Seriously? When you give up 44 points and 564 yards to the opposing offense, it’s hard to find positive performances. But we’ll give the nod to linebacker Darius Muasau, who compiled a season-high 16 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss.
♦ UH SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE GAME: Placekicker Matthew Shipley booted a career-best 49-yard FG midway through the second quarter. The sophomore out of Liberty Hill, Texas has now made 10 straight FGs without a miss. He is 10 of 11 for the season.
♦ GAME GRADE: D. And the “D” stands for “dismal,” “disappointing” and “depressing.” Just a poor performance overall. The good news is, Hawaii is a resilient team. They’ve bounced back from losses with wins on three occasions this season.
♦ WHAT’S NEXT: The Rainbow Warriors return home to face MW West Division leader San Diego State on Saturday, Nov. 6. This will be the first time that the Clarence T.C. Ching Complex will be allowed to host fans at full capacity. Rainbow Warrior fans have been clamoring for this opportunity. After today’s disappointing loss, however, will Warrior Nation show up in force? Let’s hope so.