The fate of the Warrior Nation was on the line in today’s nonconference football game between Hawaii and old nemesis Brigham Young University. If the Warriors had won, they were in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve. Lose, and head coach Greg McMackin’s time here was likely done.
Well, lose the Warriors did as BYU used a 28-point third quarter to seal a 41-20 victory over Hawaii before an Aloha Stadium crowd of 30,765. The season-ending defeat dropped UH to 6-7 for the season. BYU is 9-3 heading to the Armed Services Bowl in a few weeks.
Down three at the half, BYU took the opening drive of the third quarter and marched 72 yards on nine plays to regain the lead in this see-saw affair. The last play was a 12-yard touchdown pass from Riley Nelson to Ross Apo, their second scoring connection of the game. Justin Sorensen added the PAT to give BYU a 17-13 advantage with 11:13 left in the third quarter.
And it was only a sign of things to come for BYU.
On the ensuing series for UH, Joey Iosefa fumbled on a shuffle pass that was scooped up by BYU defensive back Joe Sampson and returned 26 yards for the touchdown as he gave the shaka sign to the Aloha Stadium crowd after he scored. Sorensen added the PAT to make it 24-13 BYU with 9:36 left in the third.
BYU put the game out of reach on a 1-yard scoring run by Bryan Kariya that was set up on a 40-yard completion from Nelson to Marcus Matthews. Sorensen added the PAT as BYU stretched its lead to 31-13 with 4:51 left in the third period.
But the Cougars weren’t finished as they scored their fourth touchdown of the third quarter on a 38-yard scoring pass from Nelson to Cody Hoffman, who grabbed the pass one-handed. Sorensen added the PAT to make it 38-13 BYU with 1:10 left in the third.
The Cougars added a 37-yard field goal by Sorensen to make it 41-13 with 9:44 left in the game. UH finally countered with its only score of the second half, a 23-yard touchdown pass from Shane Austin to Miah Ostrowski to make it 41-20 BYU with 5:55 left in the game as Tyler Hadden added the PAT.
Both teams spent the opening period probing for weakness before Hawaii broke out on top 6-0 on a 1-yard touchdown scamper by quarterback David Graves. Kenton Chun missed the PAT to make it 6-0 UH with 2:55 left in the first quarter.
BYU responded with a methodical nine-play, 83-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Nelson to Apo as Sorensen added the PAT to make it 7-6 BYU with 10:22 left in the second quarter.
After BYU missed its second field-goal try of the half, the Warriors struck quickly on a 79-yard touchdown pass from Graves to Trevor Davis on a hitch screen. BYU was blitzing on the play, clearing the way for Davis to go the distance untouched. Hadden added the PAT to make it 13-7 Hawaii with 3:41 left in the half.
BYU responded with a 33-yard field goal by Sorensen with 39 seconds left in the half. Ipo dropped a sure touchdown pass, but had the ball stripped by Richard Torres to keep from connecting for the second time in the game.