Two weeks after making his head coaching debut, Norm Chow led the University of Hawaii football team into Aloha Stadium for the first time as the Warriors’ beat Lamar 54-2 tonight in their home opener.
Like the two coaches who came before him, Chow endured a lopsided loss in his first game at UH. June Jones and Greg McMackin picked up their first UH wins against FCS (previously Division I-AA) opponents and Chow extended that trend against the Cardinals of the Southland Conference at tonight’s game before an Aloha Stadium crowd of 29,011.
The Warriors had a bye following a 49-10 loss at USC on Sept. 1.
Lamar opted to receive the opening kickoff and the Warriors defense forced a three and out. The Warriors’ initial drive stalled at the Lamar 46, but a punt by Scott Harding was muffed and Will Gregory recovered for the Warriors at the Cardinals 16.
On the next play, UH quarterback Sean Schroeder connected with receiver Trevor Davis on a touchdown pass. Tyler Hadden added the extra point to give UH a 7-0 lead at the 9:25 mark of the first quarter.
The Warriors punted on their next two possessions, then added to the lead with a five-play drive covering 80 yards. Completions to Davis accounted for 69 of those yards as he caught a 19-yard pass then broke free deep downfield and hauled in a throw from Schroeder for a 50-yard gain to the Lamar 8. Two plays later, running back John Lister scored the first touchdown of his UH career with a 7-yard run and Hadden’s kick pushed the lead to 14-0 with 8:10 left in the second quarter.
A third-down sack by UH safety Bubba Poueu-Luna forced Lamar’s fifth punt of the first half and the Warriors took five plays to extend the lead to 21-0. The drive was highlighted by Gregory’s 23-yard run to the Lamar 9 and Schroeder found Darius Bright for an 8-yard touchdown pass.
Lamar’s sixth punt was blocked by UH’s John Hardy-Tuliau, and Ne’Quan Phillips recovered the loose ball at the 21 and went untouched to the end zone and UH took a 28-0 lead into halftime.
UH’s special teams struck again to open the third quarter. Mike Edwards fielded the kickoff at the 5-yard line, slipped away from a would-be tackler and found open field up the sideline for a 95-yard return. It was UH’s first kickoff return for a touchdown since Ryan Mouton’s 90-yard return at Fresno State in 2008.
Hawaii extended the lead to 38-0 on a 32-yard field goal by Hadden with 9:07 left in the third and then to 41-0 with 8:10 remaining on a 31-yard field goal by Hadden that was set up by a turnover on the kickoff.
The Warriors scored again with 14:10 left in the game as Schroeder threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Chris Gant, the first score of his UH career. Hadden added the PAT to make it 48-0 Hawaii. The Warriors added another score with 8:27 left in the game when John Lister scored from 3 yards out. The PAT was botched and the Cardinals avoided a shutout as Adrian Guillory returned it untouched for a 2-point conversion.