Chevan Cordeiro led Hawaii to a 24-21 upset of Nevada tonight at Aloha Stadium.
The Wolf Pack entered atop the Mountain West with a 5-0 league record. But Cordeiro threw for one touchdown and ran for another to knock the Pack down to third place behind San Jose State and Boise State.
Cordeiro was 26 of 32 for 246 yards. He also gained 76 yards on non-sack keepers and scrambles.
The Warriors converted on seven of their final eight third-down plays.
Nevada goes vertical and horizontal to cut its deficit to 24-21 with 5:38 to play.
Carson Strong lofted an 18-yard pass to 6-foot-2 wideout Tory Horton, who soared over 6-foot Michael Washington for the grab in the end zone.
The Warriors’ lead is back up to double digits, at 24-14, on quarterback Chevan Cordeiro’s 2-yard keeper with 9:31 to play.
Cordeiro was masterful during the 75-play drive, completing three third-down passes.
UH has completed 75% of its third-down plays.
The Wolf Pack close to 17-14 on Toa Taua’s 1-yard run around left end.
Taua, a running back taking the snap as a wildcat quarterback, faked a handoff, then scooted around the left side with 14:28 to play.
After three quarters, the Warriors lead, 17-7.
But Nevada is driving to open the final quarter. The current drive was boosted by a late hit on quarterback Carson Strong.
UH goes 99 yards, the last four by running back Miles Reed, for a TD to extend its lead to 17-7 with 3:20 left in the third quarter.
The drive was kept alive when defensive back Berdale Robins was called for an away-from-the-play, face-mask violation.
Nevada wideout Romeo Doubs entered as the national leader in yards per reception. But with the Warriors in a two-high-safety coverage, leading to double teams, Doubs did not have a pass thrown his way in the first half.
It’s 10-7 at the half.
UH quarterback Chevan Cordeiro is 14-for-15 for 141 yards and a touchdown (to Calvin Turner).
Nevada’s Carson Strong is 12-for-14 for 70 yards. Toa Taua, who rotates between running back and wildcat QB, has gained 73 yards.
The Warriors regain the lead, at 10-7, on Chevan Cordeiro’s 7-yard pass to Calvin Turner.
Cordeiro scrambled for 37 yards on that eight-play drive.
On a pet play, Nevada tight end Cole Turner ran a corner route on the left side, soared for the catch, and stuck the right-footed landing for the TD and a 7-3 lead with 2:57 to play in the first half.
The Warriors score first on Matthew Shipley’s 31-yard field goal with 10:11 left in the first half.
Shipley’s FG caps a 14-play, 80-yard drive spanning 5 minutes, 29 seconds. The key play was Chevan Cordeiro’s 19-yard pass to Calvin Turner on third-and-4 from the Nevada 38.
It’s scoreless after one quarter.
Nevada, which entered with the fourth-best passing game in the nation, ran on 14 of 19 plays.
The Warriors won the coin toss for the fifth consecutive week, and again, chose to defer the decision until the second half.
UH kicks off again.
Nevada enters today’s game at 5-0, atop the Mountain West, in an abbreviated eight-game season in which winning percentages determine the finalists for the title.
For the Warriors, it is a chance to turn a two-game losing streak that dropped them to 2-3.
For the Wolf Pack, there is the painful memory of last season’s meeting. The Warriors won, 54-3, to ruin the Pack’s homecoming.
“This is a team we did not play well against a year ago,” Nevada coach Jay Norvell said. “We were embarrassed by our performance, to say the least. And so we’ve been looking forward to this game for some time.”
> Nevada wideout Romeo Doubs is the national leaders with 161.3 receiving yards per game. The average distance for his eight TD catches is 41.7 yards.
> Remember Doug Jolley? During his NFL career, he was known for his blocking and sure hands. Cole Turner has drawn comparisons to Jolley. Turner is 6-7, 240 pounds, and crisp in the 7 route, a deep-corner pattern.
> Nevada quarterback Carson Strong has a, well, strong arm. But he’s not particularly mobile. Look for the Warriors to bring the heat.
For more Hawaii football, visit the Warrior Beat blog.