Hawaii’s Hot Start Helps Them Hold Off Portland State
Warriors win 49-35 in a close win.
Hawaii is 1-1
The Hawaii Warriors opened the new T.C Ching Field with a 49-35 victory over the Portland State Vikings. It was a tale of two halves as the Warriors came out of the gates strong but took the foot off the gas pedal in the second half and the score got a little too close for comfort. Hawaii showed that they were in a different league, but it was a sloppy performance as they turned the ball over four times and allowed the Vikings offense 400 yards through the air.
After opting out of their conference season in 2020, the Vikings looked like a team that has not played a real game since 2019. On the opening drive, the Warriors went right down the field and scored on a 23 yard Touchdown to a wide open Nick Mardner. The Vikings blew the coverage and Mardner was standing all alone in the endzone.
Q1- 6:26 | UH 14 PSU 0
— Hawaii Football (@HawaiiFootball) September 5, 2021
The Warriors made it clear that this was an FBS vs FCS matchup as they dominated the first quarter. Cordiero had all day to throw and when he chose to run, it seemed like he was faster than all the PSU defensive players. He was able to weave his way through the defense to pick up first downs with his legs. He finished the night 18-25 305 yards, three touchdowns, and one Interception. Cordiero also added 66 yards on 18 carries. Although his running helped to keep a couple of drives alive, I did not want to see Cordiero take that many unnecessary hits against an FCS opponent.
Calvin Turner Jr. had a few mental lapses as he dropped a could-be touchdown on a seam route, muffed two punts, and a kickoff that resulted in a recovery in the endzone and Touchdown by the Vikings. He did however account for a Sportcenter Top10 play on the second possession of the game when he caught the ball 9 yards behind the line of scrimmage (terrible play design by the way) reversed his field, broke a couple of tackles and ran past everyone on route to a 20-yard touchdown. This was an example of the kind of elite player that Turner Jr. is and also the talent discrepancy in this game.
Watch the highlights from @HawaiiFootball's 49-35 victory over Portland State — the first victory for the Rainbow Warriors at the new on-campus Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex!#AtThePeak | #WinEveryDay pic.twitter.com/AbOzWTinPV
— Mountain West (@MountainWest) September 5, 2021
Dae Dae Hunter had a solid bounce-back game running for 128 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and Dedrick Parson plowed his way into the endzone twice.
A bright spot for the Bows defensively was the play of the defensive line. Djuan Matthews had a sack and two TFL’s, Justus Tavai was a disruptive force all night, O’Tay Baker recorded his first sack and Pita Tonga intercepted a screen pass on the Vikings second drive of the game.
After dominating the first half, the Bows started the second half by throwing an interception. This interception was not Cordeiro’s fault as he threw a good ball to Aaron Cephus who bounced it off his hands and into the hands of a Vikings defender.
The Vikings capitalized on the ensuing drive and started to build some momentum. I thought Coach Graham would go to his bench early in the second half but instead, we saw starters playing late into the fourth quarter. It was a missed opportunity to get some valuable playing time for the backups. It never really felt like Hawaii was going to lose this one, but things got a little uncomfortable when Portland State scored two touchdowns in ten seconds to close out the third quarter.
-WR Tru Edwards was in the rotation early and had the game’s first reception.
-LB Darius Muasau played the game with a club on his hand and missed a couple of open field tackles that he usually makes.
– DE Jonah Laulu and DT Blessman Ta’ala seemed to be limited and neither started nor played significant snaps. Not sure if that was by design or if they were dinged up from last week.
-CB Cameron Lockridge was ejected for targeting during the second half which means he has to sit out the first half of next week’s game against Oregon State. I hope they are able to appeal this because it was a pretty weak call.
-CB Hugh Nelson, the Georgia transfer, got playing time and came up with a game sealing interception.
-QB Brayden Schaeger came in on Hawaii’s last drive, but was pulled quickly and shown getting yelled at by Coach Graham on the sideline.
The Warriors did what they needed to do in order to get the victory and the game was never really in question. It seems like they avoided any major injuries so that is also a major plus. The offense was able to get some valuable reps in and although it wasn’t a true test in the level of competition that they will see going forward, it was nice to see them have success on that side of the ball. Next week, the Bows travel to Corvallis to take on the Oregon State Beavers. The game will be shown on FS1 at 5 p.m. Hawaii time.