Trying to break the nation’s longest road losing streak, the Hawaii football team traveled to Boulder, Colo., today where the Colorado Buffaloes won 21-12.
It was the 14th consecutive road loss and it dropped Hawaii to 1-3 for the season, despite another 100-yard rushing performance by Steve Lalalaka. It couldn’t offset poor performances by UH quarterbacks Ikaika Woolsey and Jeremy Higgins as they went a combined 14-for-41 for 130 yards and no touchdowns.
Lakalaka gained 123 yards on 19 carries, but when the Buffaloes needed a stop, the 2-2 Pac-12 team found a way to get it done.
Higgins came in to start the second half after Woolsey struggled to finish drives over the opening two quarters. Higgins drove Hawaii into Colorado territory, but the Warriors couldn’t convert a third-and-1, setting up Tyler Hadden’s third field goal of the day.
He connected from 41 yards out to cut Colorado’s advantage to 21-9 with 12:38 left in the third quarter. And the Warriors weren’t done yet.
UH linebacker TJ Taimatua intercepted a Sefo Liufau pass, who was hit as he threw it, and returned it deep into Colorado territory to set up a third-and-goal from the 6, but once again, the Buffaloes held on a Higgins incompletion to force a field goal by Hadden. He hit the 24-yarder with 7:48 left in the third to make it 21-12 Colorado.
Both teams got off to slow starts with turnovers on their opening drives of the first half. Colorado quarterback Liufau was intercepted by Ne’Quan Phillips on the first play of the game, but Woolsey gave it back when he fumbled on a third-down pass play deep in Colorado territory.
From there, the Buffaloes went on a sustained drive in the thin Rocky Mountain air at Folsom Field before being forced to punt midway through the opening period. Hawaii had a three-and-out with three running plays gaining 1 yard, but the defense came up with a huge stop on fourth-and-2, giving UH the ball at its own 39 late in the first quarter.
Lakalaka picked up 22 yards on the first play of the ensuing series as Hawaii quickly moved into the red zone with a nice completion by Woolsey for a first-and-10 at the Colorado 16. The drive stalled, forcing a 35-yard field goal by Hadden to make it 3-0 UH with 3:03 left in the opening period.
Colorado came right back and scored on a 71-yard touchdown pass from Liufau to Nelson Spruce, who beat Dee Maggitt on the play as the PAT was good to make it 7-3 with 2:46 left in the opening period.
The Warriors crafted a nice drive following the big play by Colorado, driving steadily down the field on runs by Lakalaka and completions by Woolsey to set up a first-and-goal at the 3, but Colorado held as Hadden hit the 25-yard field goal to cut the lead to 7-6 with 11:19 left in the second quarter.
The Buffaloes wasted little time moving down the field, driving into field-goal range on a nice mix of runs and passes by Liufau to set up a first-and-10 at the UH 13. From there, freshman Shane Fields scored on a reverse to extend Colorado’s lead to 14-6 as Will Oliver added his second PAT with 11 minutes left in the half.
The Buffaloes extended the lead with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Liufau to George Frazier on a big third-down completion with 4:04 left in the half to make it 21-6 Buffaloes. Twice the Buffaloes converted big plays on third and fourth downs to keep the drive alive against a weary UH defense.
Spruce had 13 catches for 172 yards. Liufau completed 29 of 45 for 287 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw two picks. UH quarterback Tyler Graham came in late, moved the ball out toward midfield before throwing a pick himself. The senior went 3-for-5 for 25 yards starting his only drive at the UH 1.