New Mexico defeats Hawaii 28-21
  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019
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New Mexico defeats Hawaii 28-21


    New Mexico linebacker Austin Ocasio bowled over Hawaii wide receiver Marcus Kemp in the second half tonight at Aloha Stadium.


Any chance for a Merry Christmas for the University of Hawaii went down hard tonight as New Mexico converted three big plays in the second half to secure a 28-21 Mountain West Conference victory before a rain-soaked Aloha Stadium crowd of 19,158.

The loss dropped Hawaii to 4-5 for the season and 3-2 in conference play. The Rainbow Warriors would need to win three of four the rest of the way to secure an automatic bid into the Hawaii Bowl. Given San Diego State and Boise State are two of those games, it appears Nick Rolovich and Co. will be home for the holidays.

New Mexico is now 5-3 for the season and 3-1 in league play. It is the seventh straight time the Lobos have beaten Hawaii, dating back to September 1991.

Down 7 with about nine minutes remaining, the local crowd was getting a little nervous when Hawaii took over at its own 47 following a nice kickoff return by Paul Harris. A solid mix of pass and run, and two big fourth-down conversions along the way had Hawaii with a fourth-and-1 from the 7 that running back Steven Lakalaka failed to make.

Not only did the Lobos make that stand, they converted enough plays on offense to run out the clock as Hawaii lost a heartbreaker at home for the second straight time. With the scored tied 21-21, New Mexico scored on a fumble by Dicoemy Saint Juste that was recovered and returned 46 yards for a touchdown by Lee Crosby. Jason Sanders added the PAT to give New Mexico a 28-21 lead with 8:53 left in the game.

Down seven to start the final period, Hawaii got its offense back on track, moving to the Lobos 25 on a 31-yard pass from quarterback Dru Brown to favorite target Marcus Kemp.

Saint Juste converted a huge third down — UH’s first of the game — on a 10-yard run that surprised the New Mexico defense. Two plays later, Brown found Dylan Collie for 9 yards to set up a first-and-goal from the 4.

On the next snap, Lakalaka took it in from there. Rigo Sanchez added the PAT to tie the score at 21-21 with 12:49 remaining. The scoring drive was 56 yards and took eight plays.

Brown hit 16 of 28 passes for 173 yards and no touchdowns. Saint Juste rushed for 77 yards on 17 carries as Hawaii struggled to move the ball consistently against a stout Lobos defense.

That was evident in a third quarter in which Hawaii couldn’t get anything going. Neither could New Mexico, which broke out to an early 14-0 lead, until Tyrone Owens broke off a 72-yard touchdown run that silenced the local crowd.

Sanders hit the PAT to make it 21-14 New Mexico.

Down 14 early, Hawaii turned it around in the second quarter, scoring two big touchdowns to draw even at 14-14 at the half.

The Warriors came to life on their first drive of the quarter, moving into New Mexico territory on a 23-yard run by Saint Juste that helped set up a first down at the Lobos 18.

Facing another fourth-and-2 at the Lobos 10, Hawaii opted to go for it again and made it this time on a 4-yard gain by Lakalaka to set up a first-and-goal at the 6. Brown took it in from there to break the scoring ice for UH. Sanchez hit the PAT to cut New Mexico’s lead to 14-7 with 10:56 left in the half. The drive went 75 yards on 10 plays as the home team got back into the ballgame.

On the ensuing series, New Mexico turned it over on an interception by Hawaii’s Trayvon Henderson at the UH 35. The Lobos had just converted a big third down and tried to set up the play-action pass for starting New Mexico quarterback Lamar Jordan. But Henderson wasn’t fooled on the play.

Unfortunately for Hawaii, New Mexico forced a quick three-and-out, erasing any momentum gained off the turnover. Holding by the Lobos negated a fine return on the long Sanchez punt, giving New Mexico the ball at its own 8 midway through the quarter.

A timely three-and-out by the defense helped Hawaii take over at its own 47, despite a muffed punt that was quickly recovered by John Ursua. Hawaii picked up one first down, then was forced to punt from the Lobos 44. A pooch kick gave New Mexico the ball at its own 11 with 2:40 left in the half.

Hawaii forced another three-and-out with about minute left and Ursua returned the punt 30 yards to the New Mexico 40 with 51 seconds remaining. From there, UH quickly moved the ball to the Lobos 12 with 10 seconds and no timeouts remaining.

A pass interference by New Mexico gave UH the ball at the 2 with six seconds left, but Ursua dropped a pass in the end zone, setting up what appeared to be a 19-yard field goal by Sanchez. Instead, holder Ikaika Woolsey stood up, took the snap, broke a tackle in the backfield, then scored from the 2 as time expired. Sanchez added the PAT to make it 14-14 at the half.

New Mexico dominated in the first quarter to take a 14-0 lead on two long scoring drives against an overmatched UH defense. Hawaii won the toss and elected to receive, moving the ball into New Mexico territory before the drive stalled.

Hawaii failed on a fourth-and-2 attempt at the New Mexico 44. Twice New Mexico held Hawaii on that drive, stopping UH running back Paul Harris for no gain on the third-down run, then doing the same to Brown on the next play as he was forced to throw an incomplete pass after trying to run around the right side.

From there, the Lobos quickly moved down the field, mixing run and pass effectively against a UH defense that struggles against teams that can go hard between the tackles and out on the edge. The Lobos’ Teriyon Gipson was particularly good on the Lobos’ opening drive of the game, carrying three times for 19 yards and catching one pass for 13 to set up a fourth-and-1 from the UH 5.

Unlike Hawaii in short yardage, the Lobos converted on a 3-yard run by Gipson, setting up first-and-goal from the 2. Two plays later, Richard McQuarley scored from 1 yard out as Sanders added the PAT to make it 7-0 New Mexico with 6:59 remaining in the quarter. The drive went 56 yards on 11 plays.

Hawaii went three-and-out on its next series and New Mexico took over at its own 25 after the 51-yard punt by Sanchez. Once gain, the Lobos marched down the field practically unimpeded. Three times over the opening two series Hawaii did a good job of stopping the first-down play. But facing second- or third-and-long didn’t bother the Lobos. Jordan converted a third-and-10 with a 13-yard gain for a new set of downs at the UH 31.

From there, Jordan threw a 20-yard completion to set up an 11-yard touchdown run by Gipson as he went in untouched. The point after by Sanders was good as the Lobos went 75 yards on nine plays to build a 14-0 lead with 33 seconds left in the period.


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  • So what’s the score 51 minutes later? I’m the guy who never listens to commercial radio. I assume UH is losing so that’s the reason Star-Advertiser won’t post any score.

  • Good effort–unfortunately too many mistakes–a good team learns quickly–defense played better yet offense could not muster up and string together the plays. still learning to win–I kinda wish that they would get wiped out so that the team gets mad and focused on the next game–w/ a close game–the is always some consolation–“we did come close”, “we could have won”–2 games hat UH could have won but –lost by 3 and lost by 7—some how there is need for the team to get over the hump when they can—it is a shame to have the team claw itself back into contention only to lose sight of winning–and fall short went they need to take it over the top and WIN the game. Need to develop a KILLER instinct–they had changes to do that tonight but folded–it seem like they are somehow afraid to win (if that is possible)–only the will to draw even but not enough push to win—it is not going to be like last week where UH got lucky–we are not going to lucky every week–Go Warriors!

  • First of all, it was almost unthinkable last year that fans would be seriously looking at a possible winning season and a bowl game this year. Thought the defense played okay but could’ve done better. Offense was too much predictable with the run with many for short gains, Dru didn’t have it again this game just like against UNLV. But again, on the bright side, we did have a chance to win. OC really appears to push trying to establish the run which waste valuable downs. If the run isn’t working consistently, use it only as a diversion to the pass.

    • Blame the SA with their overhyping of the team, premature talk of a possible conference and homer bowl appearance, then after the Air Force win, talk about how Rolo is greatly underpaid as the UH head coach. The last two losses cannot be blamed on lack of blue chip recruits because as you point out, UH had its chances to win. With just a little bit higher level of coaching strategy and individual player and team performance levels, at this point they could have been 6-3 and 5-0 in the conference. Of the last four games, two of the teams UH plays, U Mass and Fresno are 2-7 and 1-8 respectively which means expected losses to San Diego and Boise would have given Rolo a first season of 8-5 overall and 6-2 (I think) conference record. And that is with the current players and they would have made their homer bowl and further improve their ability to attract some key local (from the Laie side) and mainland high school blue chip recruits. Also with a homer bowl appearance, Hawaii fans would have definitely started filling Aloha stadium and the number of season ticket holders for 2017 and UH financial support would have skyrocketed. Success breeds success, mediocrity breeds mediocrity. I think you pointed out if a team does not have the raw talent and the recruiting class like an Alabama, a team must compensate elsewhere and that requires a team to play and execute flawlessly and for coaches to correctly anticipate on defense and consistently fake the pants off or exploit every weakness of their opponent on offense. SA writers think that their public overhyping of UH will the have the effect of the genie in the lantern granting their wish of on field success for UH. However just the opposite as those articles about how UH is expected to win and those public Haka routines meant to intimidate their opponent has the opposite effect of motivating UH opponents to beat UH at all costs.

    • IRT Pacificsports: Great analysis. The team is a lot more fun to watch. Without being too critical, I wonder why they don’t dust off jj’s playbook. I recall when teams would try to overwhelm the QB, as NM did last night, jj would call a shovel pass, or draw, or screen play, and set the other team back on their heels. I recall speaking to the trainers from Washington after their loss years ago to UH. They couldn’t believe all the “misdirection”, short passes, etc. Their defense was completely out of sync. WA had a huge defensive team with tons of talent. All would have worked last night, or at least worth trying. I wonder if such plays even exist in their playbook. At the end of the game, NM seemed to key on Lakalaka; the linebackers all went straight for him. If you want to see some interesting play calling, wait until Boise arrives. Maybe jj would be kind enough to call Rolo during the game. Who’d know?

  • Proud of this team. We are battling for everything now. Defense held a team that averages 40 Pts. a game to 28. The fumble return for a TD was the difference. GO Bows!

  • Hate the loss but we knew that the rebuilding of the football program was going to be a painful work in progress. What Coach Rolo has provided is a team that is at least competitive and has a chance to win. This is a huge advancement from the Chow Era. We just need patient and LOYAL fans!….like the Cubs fans. Go Bows!

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