With Hawaii quarterback Dru Brown having an off night, the Rainbow Warriors turned to the running game to secure their fifth win in a row dating back to last year. The 41-18 nonconference victory over Western Carolina before an Aloha Stadium crowd of 22,725 wasn’t always pretty, but the Warriors will take it.
Senior Warriors running back Diocemy Saint Juste rushed for 202 yards on 25 carries, equaling a career high. He had one touchdown before giving way to capable backup Ryan Tuiasoa. He scored twice on 16 carries for 82 yards as the Warriors raised their record to 2-0. Western Carolina dropped to 0-1. The Catamounts are now 0-53 against FBS teams. Hawaii has won 15 straight vs. FCS competition. Brown threw two touchdown passes against two picks. He hit 11 of 21 passes for 154 yards.
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FOURTH QUARTER HAWAII 41, WESTERN CAROLINA 18
Both teams seemed a little tired in the final period that began almost three hours after kickoff. Western Carolina had a drive start at its own 1 and end near midfield. Hawaii’s next drive began at its own 2 and thanks to the legs of running back Tuiasoa, the Warriors put one more score on the board for good measure.
On the 10-play, 98-yard drive, Tuiasoa had 65 yards on seven carries, including the final 2 yards for the touchdown, his second of the game. Alex Trifonovitch made the PAT to give UH a 41-18 lead with 7:31 remaining.
Hawaii forced another turnover on the ensuing series, the third of the game for the Catamounts. The Warriors moved into the red zone with a first-and-10 at the Western Carolina 15.
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THIRD QUARTER HAWAII 34, WESTERN CAROLINA 18
Western Carolina got the ball first to start the second half and didn’t waste any time getting back into Hawaii territory after racking up 280 yards in the first half.
After missing the final series of the first half, starting quarterback Tyrie Adams was back under center and faced a big third-down play at the UH 15, but was sacked, setting up a field-goal try of 37 yards by Ian Berryman that was blocked by Meffy Koloamatangi, his second of the game. Trayvon Henderson caught it at the UH 11 and returned it 89 yards for a touchdown. The PAT by Trifonovitch was blocked and returned 98 yards for two points by Keion Crossen to make it 27-12 UH with 11:24 left in the quarter.
Hawaii broke open the game with another score midway through the third. Taking over at their own 45, the Warriors moved methodically downfield, preferring to stay on the ground until Brown opted to throw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Dakota Torres. Trifonovitch hit the PAT to extend UH’s advantage to 34-12 with 5:10 left in the quarter. Saint Juste was injured during the drive and taken to the locker room. He had 198 yards on 24 carries and one score at the time.
Western Carolina didn’t have any problems moving the football on its ensuing series, once again getting back in the game with its first touchdown of the second half. Catamounts running back Corey Holloway took it in from 2 yards out to cut the margin to 34-18 with 2:19 left in the quarter. The try for 2 by Adams failed.
Saint Juste returned to the game on the ensuing offensive series, but Hawaii was forced to punt after its second three-and-out of the game.
SECOND QUARTER HAWAII 21, WESTERN CAROLINA 10
Hawaii began the period with a first-and-goal at the 7, but was pushed back to the 22 on a chop block by Saint Juste. No matter, three plays later Brown threw a 7-yard touchdown pass to Dylan Collie to extend UH’s advantage to 14-0 after Trifonovitch added the PAT with 13:32 left in the quarter.
The Catamounts put together another nice drive, moving steadily down the field on quick pass plays and runs between the tackles, setting up a first-and-10 at the UH 16. On the next play, Adams found wideout Terryon Robinson alone in the end zone on an out-and-up route that fooled UH defensive back Manu Hudson-Rasmussen. The PAT by Berryman was good to cut the UH lead in half to 14-7 with 11:11 left in the quarter.
Neither team did much on its next series, as the teams traded punts midway through the period. But Hawaii changed that on the following possession thanks to Saint Juste, who ripped off a 57 -yard run that set up a first-and-goal from the 5. Three plays later, Tuiasoa took it in from 1 yard out as Trifonovitch added the PAT to give UH a 21-7 lead with 4:23 left in the half.
Western Carolina took over at its own 33 on the ensuing series and had few problems moving the football against a porous UH defense, setting up a first-and-10 at the UH 13 in only one minute of elapsed time. But from that point, the Catamounts couldn’t convert, settling for a 30-yard field goal by Berryman to make it 21-10 with 1:31 left.
Hawaii tried to put together a drive before the end of the half, but Brown was picked off by Kendall White. It appeared the Catamounts scored on the return, but a block in the back gave them the ball at midfield with 49 seconds left. Two plays later, Western Carolina had a first-and-10 at the UH 13 as the Warriors defense couldn’t stop Adams.
The Warriors had a chance to recover a fumble on the next play at the 2 after backup quarterback Nolan Beasley fumbled on a scramble run, but Western Carolina located the football first, giving it a first-and-goal. But with Adams out with an injury, Beasley couldn’t get it done as the Catamounts settled for a 29-yard field-goal attempt by Berryman that went wide left with two seconds left in the half.
FIRST QUARTER HAWAII 7, WESTERN CAROLINA 0
Hawaii got off to a dreadful start, with Brown throwing an interception on the first third-down play of the game. Looking to pick up 18 yards, Brown went deep, throwing into double coverage and was picked off by Marvin Tillman. He returned it 12 yards to the UH 36.
Twice, Western Carolina had a chance to break out on top. And twice, the Catamounts failed. The first was on a third-down play that Adams thought was a 28-yard touchdown pass to Connell Young, but the wideout lost control of it in the end zone, so Western Carolina settled for a 45-yard field-goal attempt by Joel Poinsette that was blocked by Meffy Koloamatangi.
Hawaii took over at its own 33. From there, Brown and Co. quickly moved down the field and into Catamounts territory for the first time in the game. But the drive stalled and UH had to settle for a 38-yard field-goal attempt by Ryan Meskell that went wide right.
Western Carolina took over at its own 20 and managed to move the ball out to the 46, but UH forced the visitors off the field and took over at its own 19 midway through the opening period. Three plays later, the Rainbow Warriors punted the ball, as they continued to play uninspired football.
The Catamounts took over at their own 29 and moved the ball easily on a series of run and pass plays, setting up a first-and-10 at the UH 11 on a hook and lateral. But once again, the UH defense held, forcing a 25-yard field goal by Poinsette that was blocked by Viane Moala as UH took over at its own 20 with about four minutes left in the quarter.
Hawaii got its offense going with a big pass play from Brown to Collie for 50 yards that helped set up a first-and-goal from the 1. Saint Juste did the rest, as he took it in behind the big offensive line on the right side for the score. Trifonovitch added the PAT to make it 7-0 with 1:33 left in the quarter.
The Hawaii defense got into the act on the ensuing series as Daniel Lewis picked off a pass and returned it to the Western Carolina 21. The Warriors didn’t score in the first quarter, but did manage a first-and-goal at the 7 as the gun sounded.
On a warm and humid night at Aloha Stadium, the University of Hawaii football team has two streaks it wants to keep intact.
The first, dating back to last year, is a four-game winning streak that produced two victories over Massachusetts, including last week’s season opener in the New England state. The second, perhaps even more important, is 14 straight wins over FCS opponents.
Western Carolina falls into that category. The Catamounts have a streak of their own. They have not beaten an FBS opponent in 52 tries. The last time Hawaii fell pray to a smaller school scholarship-wise was Portland State in 2000. Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich remembers that loss all too well. It was his first start as the Warriors’ quarterback.
Warriors take the field at Aloha Stadium pic.twitter.com/vWMGFeTJRK
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