A week after completing seven of 24 passes against Ohio State, Hawaii quarterback Max Wittek flipped those numbers on Saturday, missing on just seven of his 24 attempts in Saturday’s win over UC Davis.
Wittek finished with 272 yards and two touchdown passes while completing 71 percent of his throws. He entered the game at 42 percent coming off a rough day at Ohio State.
"I don’t think we lost confidence last week. It was just a good team and we saw on film that we gotta catch the ball, we gotta hit the right receiver," Wittek said. "It’s there, but it’s just a matter of executing and it’ll give us good momentum going into the next game that we executed tonight."
UH scored on eight of its first 10 possessions, including drives of 98 and 97 yards in the second half.
Big block for Butler
UH defensive back Dejaun Butler was perhaps the unlikeliest member of the group of four Rainbow Warriors to score their first career touchdowns in Saturday’s win.
Butler blocked a UC Davis punt in the fourth quarter, picked it up just outside the end zone and walked in to score UH’s fifth touchdown of the second half.
Butler’s punt block was UH’s second of the season, adding to Keelan Ewaliko’s block against Colorado. His touchdown was UH’s first off a blocked punt since 2012, when John Hardy-Tuliau blocked a punt against Lamar and Ne’Quan Phillips returned it 21 yards for a score.
Along with Butler, receiver Devan Stubblefield and running backs Paul Harris and Melvin Davis scored their first UH touchdowns in the win. Davis had two short-yardage touchdowns.
"Melvin Davis, great effort down in there," UH offensive coordinator Don Bailey said. "He’s a big back, ‘Big Smooth’ as they call him. But he’s not only power but he can move it once he hits the hole, and he always falls forward."
Jerrol Garcia-Williams set a career high with 15 total tackles, 12 solo, from his inside linebacker spot.
Garcia-Williams’ total was UH’s highest since Corey Paredes made 15 stops against New Mexico State in 2010.
Garcia-Williams missed most of last season due to a knee injury and entered Saturday’s game with eight total tackles in UH’s first two games. He had eight stops in the first half on Saturday and his total surpassed his previous high of nine against UNLV in 2013.
Clarke starts 40th
Despite missing practices last week due to a foot injury, Hawaii left tackle Ben Clarke was again in the lineup on Saturday, extending his consecutive starts streak to 40.
While Clarke — who has started every game of head coach Norm Chow’s tenure at UH — played the first half, Leo Koloamatangi took over at left tackle in the second.
Receivers Quentin Pedroza and Vasquez Haynes and tight end Tui Unga did not suit up for the game.
Linebacker Julian Gener returned to the starting lineup after sitting out against Ohio State and made five tackles, including two for losses.
Ewaliko sparks UH
For the second straight home game, Keelan Ewaliko provided a spark on special teams for the Rainbow Warriors.
After UC Davis took a 10-6 lead with 1:56 left in the second quarter, Ewaliko fielded the ensuing kickoff in the end zone and broke loose down the sideline before being caught at the UC Davis 2. A review of the play showed Ewaliko stepped out of bounds at the UC Davis 35, but the 65-yard return set up a four-play scoring drive and UH took the lead for good on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Max Wittek to Devan Stubblefield.
The Aggies kept the ball away from Ewaliko on their subsequent kickoffs until late in the fourth quarter, when he had the ball jarred loose and UCD recovered at the UH 6 with UH up 47-24.
Sanchez up and down
UH punter/kicker Rigoberto Sanchez got off to a rough start when he bobbled a punt snap on the Warriors’ opening possession of the game. The fumble gave UC Davis possession at the UH 31 and the Aggies took the early lead with a field goal.
Sanchez came back by hitting field goals of 27 and 46 yards to give UH its first lead.
UH gives up TD pass
The Rainbow Warrior defense went nearly 10 quarters before giving up a touchdown through the air this season.
UC Davis ended the run with 1:56 left in the second quarter when Ben Scott found fullback Derek Baljeu open in the right flat for an 8-yard touchdown pass to give the Aggies a 10-6 lead. UH kept the Aggies out of the end zone while building a 33-10 lead until Scott connected with Chris Martin on a 69-yard completion early in the fourth quarter.