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GAME DAY BLOG: Hawaii beats Arizona to win season opener


    Cedric Byrd scores Hawaii’s first touchdown of the 2019 season.


    JoJo Wards scores Hawaii’s second touchdown of the game.


Hawaii holds on for a 45-38 win when Kalen Hicks and Manny Williams tackle Khalil Tate and his scramble falls a yard short of the end zone as time expires.

8 p.m.

The Wildcats cut their deficit when Luke Havrisik nailed a 53-yard field goal with 3:53 to play. It actually started as a 38-yard attempt, but three consecutive penalties against the Wildcats lengthened the distance.

7:49 p.m.

Chevan Cordeiro fires a 30-yard TD pass to Cedric Byrd to extend the Warriors’ lead to 45-35 with 5:03 remaining. Byrd has four touchdown catches.

The 48-yard scoring drive was set up when safety Ikem Okeke intercepted Khalil Tate at the UH 3 and then raced 49 yards the other way.

7:37 p.m.

With Chevan Cordeiro at the controls, the Warriors go 51 yards in 10 plays, capped by Ryan Meskell’s 34-yard field goal, for a 38-35 lead.

7:25 p.m.

Chevan Cordeiro enters at QB for Hawaii.

7:24 p.m.

The Wildcats tie it at 35 on Khalil Tate’s 21-yard scoring pass to Stanley Berryhill with 51 seconds left in what seems like the longest third quarter. The drive was set up when Cole McDonald was intercepted for the fourth time.

7:07 p.m.

The Warriors’s second lost fumble of the second half proved to be costly. The Wildcats parlayed a Fred Holly fumble into a 68-yard drive. J.J. Taylor sprinted the final 24 yards along the left sideline to close the Wildcats to 35-28 with 4:23 left in the third period.

6:43 p.m.

Dayton Furuta goes up the gut for 3 yards and a TD to extend the Warriors’ lead to 35-21 with 11:02 left in the third quarter. Furuta was hit by linebacker Tony Fields’ at the 2, but bounced his way into the end zone.

6:10 p.m.

It’s halftime, with UH up 28-21 (Did we mention Vegas’ over/under is 74 points?)

Quickie stats: Cole McDonald 25-for-32 for 287 yards, four TDs, three interceptions.

Cedric Byrd has 10 catches for 128 yards and three TDs.

Arizona QB Khalil Tate is 9-for-15 for 144 yards

6:04 p.m.

Cole McDonald throws his fourth TD pass of the first half — 35 yards to Cedric Byrd on a post route. It’s Byrd’s third TD of the game and 12th of his 15-game UH career. Byrd has 10 catches for 128 yards. UH leads 28-21 at halftime.

5:59 p.m.

Arizona ties it at 21 when Khalil Tate finds a wide open Jamarye Joiner for a 27-yard TD with 1:47 left in the intermission.

5:52 p.m.

The Warriors’ drive ends when Arizona linebacker picks off Cole McDonald. It’s McDonald’s third pick of the game. But he also has thrown three scoring passes.

5:41 p.m.

Nathan Tilford’s 1-yard scoring run (set up by Michael Wily’s 33-yard catch on a play-action pass) closes Arizona to 21-14.

5:33 p.m.

The Warriors extend the lead to 21-7 on Cole McDonald’s 25-yard scoring pass to Cedric Byrd. It was McDonald’s third TD pass of the game and second to Byrd.

5:22 p.m.

The Wildcats goes to the jumper — a jump pass from Khalil Tate to tight end Bryce Wolma — for a 12-yard TD to close to 14-7.

5:20 p.m.

The first quarter comes to an end with UH up, 14-0. But Arizona, which got the ball back on Cole McDonald’s second pick, is driving. The Wildcats will open the second quarter at the UH 13.

5:08 p.m.

This time, Cole McDonald teams with JoJo Ward on a 39-yard scoring pass. Cedric Byrd drew away the coverage on the right side as Ward ran a go route. Hawaii is up 14-0 with 4:54 left in opening quarter.

5:03 p.m.

Cole McDonald is 6-for-8 for 43 yards entering UH’s third possession.

4:55 p.m.

The Warriors take a 7-0 lead on Cole McDonald’s 7-yard scoring pass to Cedric Byrd with 9:22 left in the opening quarter. It was Byrd’s 10th TD in his 15-game UH career.

4:48 p.m.

Only 3 minutes, 11 seconds into the game and there are already two picks — Arizona’s Jace Whittaker intercepts Cole McDonald, then Kai Kaneshiro grabs a deflected pass to intercept Khalil Tate.

4:39 p.m.

Hawaii wins the toss, and elects to receive.

>> Hawaii football preview

4:35 p.m.

In a return to the old days, the Warriors’ defensive starters are being introduced individually.

4:20 p.m.

UH officials announced that starting middle linebacker Penei Pavihi will miss the 2019 season beause of a knee injury.

Also, Kohl Levao will not play today. Taaga Tuuliima will make his 12th career at center. The Warriors average 421.3 yards when Tuulima starts at center.

4:10 p.m.

The game will kick off 5 minutes late, at 4:41 p.m., because of the traffic delay for Arizona.

Both teams are on the field — with the Wildcats in all white, and the Warriors in black and sporting the new stripe on their helmets.


Here are the keys:

1. Which version of Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate? In 2017, he rushed for 1,501 non-sack yards on scrambles and keepers. Last year, after suffering an ankle injury in the second game, he relied more on his arm (26 TDs) than his legs (5.35 yards on non-sack runs). He’s healthy now.

2. The Warriors lost their top receiver (John Ursua) and a reliable possession wideout (Marcus Armstrong-Brown). Cedric Byrd has moved over from the left slot to Ursua’s spot on the right side, teaming with right wideout JoJo Ward. Jared Smart and Nick Mardner are the top two left wideouts.

3. Special battle: Arizona has a new No. 1 punter (Matt Aragon) and kicker (Lucas Havrisik). UH has a new long-snapper (Wyatt Tucker).

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