Hawaii’s Defense Leads the Way to a 41-21 Victory Over Duquesne
The Rainbow Warriors are in good standing with their win over the Dukes improving to 4-1 on the season.
Recap of UH’s win against Duquesne.
On Saturday, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors defeated the Duquesne Dukes 42-21. The final score is misleading because UH did not have control of the game the whole time. It took the team nearly half of the first quarter to shift out of first gear.
They started out the game, receiving the ball and did a good job driving the ball downfield until Cole McDonald threw an untimely interception in the opposing end zone for a touchback. The Hawaii defense held the visitors in check and gave the offense another chance to get on the board first.
Unfortunately, Leandro Debrito forced Cedric Byrd to fumble at the end of a 4-yard pass to give the Dukes their second turnover not much over a minute’s time. This time Duquesne cashed in on this gift by driving 40 yards for the game’s first touchdown. Daniel Parr connected with star receiver, Nehari Crawford for a 6-yard reception.
In a moment of miscommunication, the Rainbow Warriors failed to catch a pooch kick on the kickoff which allowed the Dukes to recover the ball for their third possession. Parr this time would hit Aidan Cain with a 20-yard pass for the touchdown.
A stunned crowd watched in dismay as their team was down 14 points but head coach Nick Rolovich rallied the troops and the game started to turn in UH’s favor. The offense scored touchdowns in each of their next three drives to make the score, 21-14.
The sudden explosion from the Hawaii offense was only outdone by the superb defensive effort the team put forth on the other side of the ball. To close out the first half, the defense forced two three-and-outs and one turnover-on-downs. In total, they allowed the Duquesne offense just 20 yards after giving up the first two scores on short fields.
The outstanding performance of the Hawaii Defense would continue into the second half when Zach Wilson intercepted and returned a Brett Brumbaugh pass for 13-yards to the Duquesne 43-yard line. Using the short field, Dayton Furuta rumbled through the Dukes’ defense for 26 yards where Fred Holly III would punch it in from 2-yards out for six.
With the score now in UH’s favor 28-14, the two teams would play some impressive defense. The defenses would force five consecutive punts, only to be broken up by an 11-play 88-yard drive by the Rainbow Warriors in the fourth quarter. Jojo Ward and Dayton Furuta carried the load, combined for 77 yards and it was capped off by a Cole McDonald touchdown pass to Dakota Torres.
The game would come to a close after Duquesne and Hawaii traded touchdown drives. Jassir Jordan nearly returned a kickoff to the house but was stopped after 69 yards. This was just one of six kickoffs returns that totaled 170-yards. Daniel Parr made quick work of Rainbow Warrior defense finishing off Jordan’s work with a 28-yard drive by hitting Kellon Taylor with a 10-yard pass for the touchdown.
Looking to ice the game UH went run heavy and bringing out Elijah Dale for a large portion of the drive. He ran for 36 yards total which included a spectacular hurdle over a Duquesne defender to push Hawaii deep into opposing territory. Ursua would get the honors to finish the drive off when he caught his fifth pass for his second touchdown of the game.
Despite the slow start, the Rainbow Warriors pulled off the win. Cole McDonald was his usual Heisman candidate-self throwing for 273 yards, 5 touchdowns and spread the ball around nicely hitting eight different receivers. Dayton Furuta rushed for 114 yards on just 12 carries and led all rushers on the night. Jojo Ward, John Ursua and Cedric Byrd each caught touchdown passes and the trio combined for 218 of the 273 total Hawaii passing yards.
The defense was outstanding despite missing one of their key contributors, Solomon Matautia. They totaled 1 interception (Zach Wilson), got 3 sacks (Scheyenne Sanitoa, Kaimana Padello, Kana’I Picanco), and stuffed the Duquesne Duke offense 9 times for a loss of yards. In total, they allowed a season-low 11 first downs, 142 passing yards and just 24 rushing yards.
Hawaii is in a great spot with their 4-1 start to the season. They are now holding onto a half-game lead in the West Division. Their next game will be in San Jose this upcoming Saturday at 1pm Hawaii Time. Stay tuned for more Rainbow Warrior football coverage.