By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
San Diego State took advantage of a lackluster UH offensive performance to hold off the Rainbow Warriors, 17-10, at the Clarence T.C. Ching Complex on the UH campus. More than 5,000 fans attended the game; it was the first time fans were allowed to attend a Rainbow Warrior football game at full capacity. With tonight’s loss, Hawaii now needs to win their final three games to be bowl eligible.
♦ STAT OF THE GAME: 18. After displaying an anemic ground attack in the first half – 12 carries for 37 yards – instead of opening up the playbook, Hawaii still proceeded to run the ball 18 more times for 48 yards in the second half. It’s true that QB Chevan Cordeiro was having a poor game, but the ultra-conservative play calling didn’t help him. Cordeiro never could get into a rhythm.
♦ TURNING POINT: The Hawaii defense played well enough to keep the Rainbow Warriors within striking distance throughout the game. Because of that effort, the game came down to the final play – a five-yard completion to Dedrick Parson to the SDSU 18 in the middle of the field. The game clock expired before Hawaii could get another play off. That’s inexcusable.
♦ UH OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: The Hawaii offense was certainly…offensive. No player on the offensive unit played particularly well. We’ll just give the nod to Calvin Turner, who had 59 total all-purpose yards and Hawaii’s lone TD.
♦ UH DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: The defense as a whole did their job, and deserves all the credit for keeping this game competitive. It was a collective effort, but linebacker Darius Muasau stood out just a bit with his four tackles, QB sack, 1.5 TFL and a forced fumble.
♦ UH SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE GAME: Kicker Matthew Shipley connected on his lone FG attempt – a 22-yarder in the fourth quarter – and is now 12 for 13 on the season.
♦ GAME GRADE: C-minus. The offense gets a D, the defense gets an A and special teams get a C. But the story coming out of this game has to be the offensive play calling, which gets a D-minus. Plain and simple, the Aztecs have a great defense, but Hawaii made them look like the 1985 Chicago Bears. With more creative and aggressive play calling on offense, the football-starved UH fans in attendance might have witnessed a happier ending.
♦ WHAT’S NEXT: The Rainbow Warriors hit the road again, this time to face the UNLV Rebels this coming Saturday at 11:00 a.m. The Rebels picked up their first win of the season today, beating New Mexico, 31-17. For Hawaii, it will be their first opportunity to play at the $1.9-billion Allegiant Stadium, home of the Rebels and the Las Vegas Raiders. Hawaii will be favored to win, but don’t let the Rebels 1-8 record fool you. Five of their losses were by eight or fewer points. And while Hawaii is 16-12 in their history against UNLV, UH is only 5-9 when the games are in Vegas.