Hawaii place-kicker Ryan Meskell hit a 35-yard field goal in the fifth overtime to lead the Rainbow Warriors to a 44-41 victory over San Jose State in a Mountain West Conference football game played today at CEFCU Stadium in San Jose, Calif.
After missing a 36-yarder in the second OT, Meskell’s boot gives Hawaii a 5-1 record overall and 2-0 mark in league play. The Spartans dropped to 0-4 for the season and 0-1 in the MWC. UH quarterback Cole McDonald completed 34 of 57 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns. He had one pick. San Jose State quarterback Josh Love countered with 28 completions in 49 attempts for 451 yards and three scores.
John Ursua caught 13 passes for 148 yards and three touchdowns. San Jose State tight end Josh Oliver led the Spartans with eight catches for 158 yards and one score.
With the score tied 31-31, Hawaii lost the toss, so got the ball first in the OT period. It worked well for the Warriors, who ran more than they passed to set up a first-and-goal from the 1. Dayton Furuta, who didn’t enter the game until late in the third period, took it in from there to give Hawaii its first lead of the game since it was 3-0 in the opening period. Meskell made the PAT to make it 38-31.
Now, it was San Jose State’s turn and the Spartans didn’t disappoint, needing only three plays to score. Malike Roberson took it in from 14 yards out and Bryce Crawford made the PAT to make it 38-38 with San Jose State getting the ball first this time around in the second OT. That didn’t work out nearly as well, as Crawford eventually missed a 42-yard field goal that gave UH a chance to win outright. But Meskell missed a 36-yard field goal to keep things tied 38-38 going into the third OT.
Hawaii didn’t do much on its next offensive series, thanks to a sack of McDonald on the first play that led to a 49-yard field-goal attempt by Meskell that he missed wide left, giving the Spartans another chance to win, but much like Meskell, Crawford couldn’t get it done in the third OT, missing from 30 yards out.
San Jose State got the ball first in the fourth OT and completed a second-down pass to the UH 12 and eventually got to the 3, before settling for a 20-yard field goal by Crawford, who got some applause from the fans after finally making a kick. Meskell countered with a 35-yarder of his own to make it 41-41 and UH got the ball first in the fifth OT.
And the Warriors struggled again, thanks in part to a holding penalty that negated a 12-yard touchdown run by McDonald and led to another 35-yard field-goal attempt that Meskell made to make it 44-41 in the fifth OT. Crawford was forced to try from 47 yards, but he missed to seal the win for the Rainbows.
Much like in the first half, Hawaii’s opening drive of the second was a successful one. After the Warriors defense forced a quick three-and-out of San Jose State after intermission, they went on a nice march of 55 yards that ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass from McDonald to Ursua. Meskell pulled the PAT wide left that kept UH from drawing even at the 9:13 mark of the third period.
San Jose State extended that 17-16 advantage to 24-16 with 8:20 remaining in the third. Love threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to big tight end Josh Oliver on a huge third-down play. The drive was set up on an 80-yard kickoff return by the Spartans, who had a nice day on special teams. Crawford was good on the PAT.
Not to be outdone, the Warriors wasted little time getting into Spartans territory on a 41-yard pass from McDonald to Ursua, but a McDonald pick on a bad pass ended that threat. The next time UH got the ball, the Warriors began at their own 20 down 8 with 3:44 remaining in the third quarter.
After almost getting picked again on a first-down throw, McDonald got comfortable in the run-and-shoot thanks to the running game of Fred Holly III and Furuta. That combination opened up the passing lanes as UH began the fourth quarter with a first-down play at the San Jose State 12.
UH eventually worked it to a first-and-goal from the 2, where the Spartans forced an incomplete pass and a no gain by Furuta to make it third-and-goal near the 13-minute mark of the game. UH got the touchdown on a touch pass to Ursua and then converted the 2-point conversion on a pass by McDonald to Marcus Armstrong-Brown. That play was reviewed after McDonald appeared to be close to the line of scrimmage when he let the ball fly as he was being hit. The play stood and the score was tied at 24 with 12:45 left.
That didn’t bother the Spartans, who owned UH on third down the entire game, including a big 43-yard completion from Love to Tre Walker that set up a 4-yard scoring pass from Love to Malike Roberson. Crawford knocked through the PAT to give San Jose State a 31-24 lead with 10:07 remaining.
But with plenty of time and octane left in the tank, the Hawaii offense was not to be denied. The Warriors ran and passed their way to a 4-yard touchdown pass from McDonald to Ursua to culminate a 12-play, 75-yard drive that typified much of the second half for Hawaii. Ursua had three touchdown passes that totaled 10 yards in the second half. Meskell made the PAT to make it 31-31 with 4:34 left.
San Jose State began its next drive at the 25 with a 15-yard pass from Love to Oliver, a combination that worked well all afternoon. Facing a third-and-2 at the UH 38, the Spartans converted with about two minutes left, but Love was sacked on the next snap that eventually led to a fourth-and-12 at the UH 37 with 1:12 left. San Jose State punted, giving UH the ball at its own 20. Hawaii failed to score, setting up the overtime.
Hawaii took the opening kickoff of the game and marched methodically down the field as McDonald was 6-for-8 for 48 yards in this long, clock-draining drive. The Warriors converted once on third down and another on fourth to set up a red-zone opportunity. But the drive stalled at the 4 and Hawaii settled for a 25-yard field goal my Meskell to give UH a 3-0 advantage with 7:45 left in the opening period. The 14-play drive went 71 yards and took nearly half the opening quarter.
San Jose State answered with a touchdown and a PAT that began in the first quarter, but ended early in the second on a 2-yard run by Boogie Roberts as Crawford knocked through the PAT to make it 7-3 with 14:25 left in the half. The scoring drive began at the Spartans 32 and was helped along by a late hit by UH that seemed to spark the Spartans as Love guided them easily down the field for the go-ahead score.
After forcing a pair of three-and-outs against a struggling UH offense, the San Jose State offense made the Warriors pay for their problems as Love found a wide open Bailey Gaither for a 55-yard touchdown pass. The speedy back injured his ankle on the play and was carried off the field. Crawford added the PAT to make it 14-3 with 10:04 remaining in the half.
He added a 24-yard field goal set up on a 70-yard, third-and-long pass from Love to Oliver. The kick tumbled through to make it 17-3 with 6:12 left in the half. But the real problem was the UH offense that sputtered for most of the half. After starting 6-for-8 for 48 yards on the opening drive, McDonald went 4-for-12 before finally finding Ursua for 24 yards to move the ball into San Jose State territory.
Four plays later, the Warriors converted a fourth-and-2 on a 14-yard run by Elijah Dale to pick up a key first down at the Spartans 18. On the next play, McDonald threw a swing pass to Dale, who went in untouched for the score and Meskell hit the PAT to cut San Jose State’s lead to 17-10 with 2:21 to go in the quarter. The seven-play drive went 64 yards.
With the last drive of the half, San Jose State drove deep into UH territory, but a sack of Love pushed the Spartans to the edge of field-goal range for Crawford. His 49-yard attempt hit the crossbar as time expired.
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