LARAMIE, WYO. >> The Hawaii football team conquered the elements (7,220-foot elevation) and Wyoming’s heralded ground-and-pound attack for a 38-14 victory today at War Memorial Stadium.
The Warriors, who were 13-point underdogs, now are seeking to conquer the odds.
The Warriors, who finished the regular season at 6-7, do not meet the bowl-eligibility requirement of a .500 or better record. They believed they were in top contention for an exemption if there were not enough qualifying teams for the 82 bowl berths, but there appears to be enough bowl-eligible teams.
The Warriors did their part, dominating the Cowboys in every phrase in winning in Laramie for the first time since 1991. They had lost six in a row.
It was quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, fully healthy after missing three mid-season starts because of an arm injury, who led the way. Cordeiro passed for 323 yards and three touchdowns, including a 50-yard Hail Mary at the end of the first half, and ran for another 86 yards and a touchdown.
Two of the touchdowns went to Steven Fiso, who was recruited as a defensive back and moved to tight end this year.
Jared Smart’s leaping catch of a 50-yard Hail Mary put an emphatic end to the Warriors’ dominant first half. Cordeiro’s throw was airborne 60 yards. Smart came down with the football as time expired.
The Warriors, who entered as 13-point underdogs, seized control from their first series. After receiving the opening kickoff, the Warriors drove 75 yards for a touchdown, with Cordeiro’s keeper covering the final eight yards.
Jonah Panoke’s catch in triple coverage set up Calvin Turner’s two-yard run to extend the Warriors’ lead to 14-0.
The Warriors made it 21-0 when Cordeiro, on a play-action throw, found tight end Steven Fiso for a 19-yard touchdown. It was Fiso’s first career touchdown.
Even a stalled UH drive resulted in points. Matthew Shipley converted on a field goal from 25 yards to make it 24-0. Shipley’s 18th trey of the season was the most since Tyler Hadden’s total in 2014.
After Wyoming got on the scoreboard with Titus Swen’s eight-yard run, the Warriors advanced the ball to midfield. From there, Cordeiro launched the high-altitude-aided throw.
For more Hawaii football, visit the Warrior Beat blog.