By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
It got a little hairy toward the end, but the University of Hawaii football team managed to outlast Colorado State tonight, 50-45, in a wild one at the Clarence T.C. Ching Complex. With the win, the Rainbow Warriors improved to 5-7 on the season (2-5 in Mountain West play), while the Rams fell to 3-8 (2-5). The turnstile attendance was announced at 5,315.
♦ STAT OF THE GAME: “14-3.” Hawaii scored 14 points off CSU’s two turnovers, while CSU could only muster three points after forcing three UH turnovers. Otherwise, the statistics for both teams were remarkably similar. The Rams actually produced more total offensive yards than Hawaii, 651 to 535.
♦ TURNING POINT: In a game that featured 12 touchdowns, the fifth TD proved to be the difference. On Hawaii’s second possession of the second half, UH QB Chevan Cordeiro connected with WR Nick Mariner on a 42-yard score. That put the Warriors up, 36-10, seemingly putting the game out of reach. CSU responded with three straight TDs of their own, but ultimately couldn’t get over the hump.
♦ UH OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: This time around, we had several worthy candidates to choose from. But hello, Zion Bowens. The seldom-used senior receiver busted out with an outstanding performance, snaring six receptions for 172 yards and a TD. His 93-yard score, which came near the end of the first half, was the program’s longest TD reception since Oct. 11, 1957, when Don Botelho connected with Colin Chock for a 95-yard scoring play.
♦ UH DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Again, we had several quality options here. But veteran linebacker Darius Muasau was the clear standout, recording 13 total tackles (12 solo), two sacks, 2.5 TFLs, a pass breakup and THREE forced fumbles. That’s MW Defensive Player of the Week-type stuff.
♦ UH SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE GAME: From whodaguy to You da guy! After not recording a single stat all season, junior defensive back Jalen Perdue made his debut as a kick returner, and he opened a lot of eyes. Replacing Calvin Turner, Perdue returned five kickoffs for 112 yards, including a long of 37.
♦ GAME GRADE: B. There’s no criticizing the offensive play calling tonight. The offense executed when it had to, and Cordeiro looked the best he’s been since his injury. The defense gave up too many points in the second half – 35, specifically – but hey, a win is a win. Let’s enjoy it.
♦ WHAT’S NEXT: The season comes to an end next Saturday, with Hawaii traveling to Laramie, Wyoming, to take on the Wyoming Cowboys. The Cowboys are 6-5 after blitzing Utah State earlier today, 44-17. Hawaii has lost to Wyoming six straight times in Laramie. Saturday’s contest will kick off at 10:00 a.m. HST. Look for Bobby Curran’s exclusive game preview on Tuesday.