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Hawaii holds off Colorado 34-17

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    University of Hawaii Warrior football player Allen Sampson runs the ball against the Colorado Buffalo in a game on Saturday afternoon.
    Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz is wrapped up by the Colorado defense back Travis Sandersfeld in the third quarter.
    Hawaii's Art Laurel dives but comes up a yard short after his interception during second-half action.

With Colorado closing hard, Hawaii running back Joey Iosefa scored from 22 yards out off a shovel pass from Bryant Moniz to secure Hawaii’s 34-17 win in today’s nonconference football game at Aloha Stadium.

Hawaii had built a comfortable 17-point halftime lead but Colorado answered the call with two touchdowns in the third quarter and had cut the margin to 24-17.

On the opening drive of the second half, the Buffaloes went 73 yards on only six plays to close within 17-7 with 12:02 left in the third quarter. Two big pass plays were the difference. The first was a 52-yard screen pass from Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen to running back Rodney Stewart.

The UH defense was confused prior to the snap and should have called timeout. Instead, the big play woke up the Buffaloes, who scored on the next snap as Hansen found Paul Richardson for a 15-yard score. Will Oliver added the PAT as CU moved to within 10.

Hawaii responded with a 47-yard kickoff return by Mike Edwards that put life back into the Aloha Stadium crowd that was still a little stunned by CU’s score. The drive started at the Colorado 48 and once again Moniz had UH moving in the right direction.

Several pass plays and runs gave UH a first and goal at the 7. Two plays later, Moniz faked the handoff up the middle and then bootlegged in from 1 yard out to make it 24-7 with 5:59 left in the third quarter.

But Colorado came right back, driving 63 yards on only four plays to cut the margin to 24-14 with 1:51 remaining in the third. Hansen teamed up with Richardson for a second time, this time from 21 yards out as Miller added the PAT.

Moniz was sacked on the first play of the ensuing series by Buffaloes defensive end Chidera Uzo-Dirbe and Colorado recovered the fumble at the Hawaii 34 as the crowd implored the home team to hold firm. But Hansen was now in a groove and completed a 19-yard pass to Tyler McCulloch to give CU a first and 10 at the 15.

The UH defense rose to the occasion, forcing two plays for losses, setting up a huge third and 12 at the 17 to start the fourth quarter. Hansen was pressured from the start and ended throwing the ball away. It set up a 34-yard field goal by Miller that cut Hawaii’s margin to 24-17 with 14:51 left in the game.

Hawaii didn’t do anything offensively on the ensuing series, but the Warriors defense was tough again, forcing a punt. Iosefa ended Hawaii’s next drive with the 22-yard touchdown catch and run to build the margin to 14.

On the ensuing series, Colorado was forced to go for it on fourth down, deep in Buffaloes territory. Hansen’s pass was intercepted by Art Laurel, who appeared to score a touchdown on the runback, but just missed. It set up a 22-yard field goal by Tyler Hadden to make it 34-17 with 4:52 remaining.

Hawaii led 17-0 at the half not on the arm of Moniz, but with his feet.

He scored twice on runs of 57 and 14 yards in the second quarter against a Buffaloes defense designed to stop the aerial assault of Moniz, not his running ability. Moniz had nine carries for 120 yards that included three sacks by Colorado.

Moniz’s first touchdown came early in the second quarter on the opening play of a drive that began at the UH 43. Moniz faked a handoff, then kept it up the left side and went untouched for a 57-yard touchdown that gave UH a 10-0 advantage with 10:39 left in the half after Kenton Chun added the PAT.

And Moniz wasn’t done yet. With 2:14 left in the half, UH moved the ball methodically down the field on a drive that began at its own 13. Moniz had a 10-yard scamper on a big third-down play and then found Billy Ray Stutzmann for a 28-yard completion that gave UH the ball at Colorado’s 14.

After a UH timeout, Hawaii dialed up an option play to the short side of the field that resulted in a 14-yard touchdown scamper for Moniz, who again, went in untouched. Chun added the PAT to give UH a 17-0 advantage with 24 seconds left in the half.

After both teams traded three and outs to start the game, the Warriors set up shop at their own 16, but quickly moved down the field on a pair of nice runs by Moniz off broken pass plays.

The first one of 22 yards on a third-down play gave the Warriors their first first down of the season. Two plays later, Moniz broke off a 34-yard run and another 12 yards was tacked for a late hit.

That put the Warriors first and 10 at the Colorado 13, but two incomplete passes and a sack led to a 38-yard field goal by Chun that hit the right upright, but fell over the bar to make it 3-0 with 9:49 left in the first quarter. Moniz was 1-for-7 for 3 yards on his first two series.

By game’s end, Moniz hit 20 of 33 for 178 yards and one score. But it was his three touchdown scampers that proved to be the difference. He rushed for 121 yards for the game.

CU’s Hansen hit 16 of 30 for 223 yards and two scores, but it wasn’t enough. Stewart had 52 yards rushing on 18 carries for the Buffaloes. He also caught four passes for 98 yards.

The UH defense limited CU to 240 total yards. The Warriors had 343.

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