Only two weeks removed from the first of a pair of Midwest trips, the University of Hawaii didn’t have much to lose going into today’s nonconference football game at No. 22 Wisconsin.
The Rainbow Warriors had already secured two wins; a goal most followers of the program believed was a must at this point of the season if bowl hopes are to be realized. With that said, Hawaii didn’t go all the way to Madison, Wis., to be a million-dollar punching bag. Play loose, play well and who knows what might happen before a capacity crowd at Camp Randall Stadium.
Unfortunately for the Warriors, the Badgers weren’t going to get caught short in this one, as they won in dominating fashion 28-0, limiting Hawaii to 15 rushing yards. The loss dropped Hawaii to 2-2 for the season entering next week’s Mountain West Conference opener at Boise State. Wisconsin is now 3-1 and has allowed only three points in its last three games. The Badgers have won 10 in a row at home.
Running back Taiwan Deal rushed for 147 yards and two scores to lead the offensive attack. Quarterback Joel Stave completed 14 of 23 for 164 yards and a score to aid the Badgers, who produced 512 yards. Hawaii had only 255 as UH quarterback Max Wittek completed 15 of 32 for 189 yards, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
The Badgers built a two-touchdown advantage in the first half thanks in part to Deal. He rushed for 102 yards and two scores to put the Big Ten program firmly in command. But a quick three-and-out to start the second half and a trick play by Hawaii put a little fear into the student section early in the third quarter.
Makoa Camanse-Stevens completed a 51-yard halfback option pass to Paul Harris to set up a big first down deep in Wisconsin territory. Hawaii had a first-and-goal on the 1 after a huge completion from Wittek to Quinton Pedroza, but a late hit by offensive lineman Dejon Allen put it back to the 16 and eventually resulted in a missed 49-yard field-goal attempt by Rigoberto Sanchez.
The Badgers drove back into Hawaii territory on their ensuing offensive series, but had to settle for a 51-yard field-goal attempt by Rafael Gaglianone that missed wide left midway through the quarter. But it was all Wisconsin from that point.
The Badgers put together another bruising drive the next time they had it against a tiring UH defense, setting up a big third-and-11 at the UH 12. Stave hit a wide-open Austin Traylor for a touchdown with 53 seconds left in the third quarter. The PAT by Gaglianone was good to make it 21-0 in favor of the Badgers, who went 80 yards on 11 plays.
Wisconsin wasn’t through, believing one more touchdown was needed to impress on everyone just how much the Badgers dominated this game. And that’s just what they got, this time moving 67 yards on eight plays to put an exclamation point on this one. The final TD was a 9-yard scoring run by Dare Ogunbowale, with Gaglianone adding the PAT to make it 28-0 with 7:29 remaining.
Wisconsin scored first on a similar bruising 16-play, 97-yard drive that took up most of the first quarter. The Badgers kept it between the tackles, gaining 30 yards on their first four running plays, giving Stave a chance to air it out.
He gained 3 on his first pass play, then quickly went back to the ground as Wisconsin moved out rugby style to midfield. Stave gained 10 on his next pass completion to the tight end, and then it was back to ground and pound to set up first and goal at the UH 5, needing 14 bruising plays to get there.
Play 16 that completed the statement-maker was a 2-yard run by running back Deal with 4:27 left in the opening quarter. Gaglianone hit the PAT to make it 7-0 Wisconsin thanks to the picture-perfect eight-minute drive.
Wisconsin added to that margin with another long scoring drive, this one going 73 yards on nine plays, the last one a 2-yard run by Deal set up on a questionable pass interference call in the end zone against Hawaii. The PAT was good to make it 14-0 Wisconsin with 38 seconds left in the half.