Hawaii Gets Shutout Out In Second Half vs. Nevada, Falls 34-17
A tale of two halves for the Hawaii Warriors
Not enough offense for the ‘Bows
The Hawaii Warriors played tough in the first half but got shut out in the second en route to a 34-17 loss to the Nevada Wolf Pack. Miscues on special teams, turnovers and recurring bad play calling on offense is what made the difference.
Dae Dae Hunter had a marvelous first half. He rushed for 174 yards on just 8 carries including touchdown runs of 75 and 81 yards. He can run with power, make you miss, and hit the home run. I wish we were able to see what he could’ve done had he finished the game but he was injured at the end of the first half and never returned. Besides Hunter’s big half, the Warrior Offense was pedestrian. Nick Mardner was held to just ten yards on one catch and I believe he was only targeted three times on the night.
Freshman Quarterback Brayden Schager got his second career start but struggled and threw four interceptions. In the week leading up to the game, Coach Graham said that he expected both Quarterbacks to see action. Last night, one would have to assume that Chevan Cordeiro was still injured and not ready to play because you would think he would have gotten a chance after Schager’s second or third interception. Instead, he played on one play which was a punt.
As Predicted, Nevada tight end Cole Turner was a problem for the Bows all night. He had a game-high 12 catches for 175 yards and even blocked a punt.
Game Changing Mistakes
-The first big mistake came with the Warriors up 14-10. The Warriors defense forced a Nevada punt and on the punt the ball hit Hugh Nelson on the way down resulting in a recovered fumble for the Wolfpack. The Wolfpack capitalized on the turnover and scored a touchdown three plays later. Hawaii had the momentum on their side after a solid defensive stop and should have gotten the ball back up 4. Instead, Nevada took over on the 19 yard line and retook the lead.
– The redzone woes for the Bows continued last night. Thanks to some solid running by Dae Dae Hunter and a couple big gains from Calvin Turner Jr through the air, the Warriors found themselves first and goal from the seven yardline. First down they ran Turner Jr. out of the wildcat for two yards.
UH took their first timeout. Coming out of the timeout and prior to second down Dedrick Parsons went offsides backing the ball to the 10 yard line. On second down Hunter was stuffed for no gain. Hawaii burns another timeout. Coming out of the timeout, Hawaii doesn’t like the look and calls their third timeout in three plays.
That is almost unheard of. To make matters worse, out of the timeout Turner lined up in the wildcat and Hawaii tried to catch Nevada off guard with a throw except nobody watching the game expected Hawaii to try to run the ball on 3rd and goal from the ten yard line and the Wolfpack were not fooled. Turner tried to keep the play alive but was eventually corralled for a sack. Instead of taking a 21-17 lead, Hawaii was forced to take the field goal and burned all their timeouts in a disastrous red zone appearance. Bo Graham has no clue what to call in the red zone.
-The next mistake came with the game tied at 17. After a three and out that saw Hawaii lose seven yards on the drive, Matthew Shipley had his punt blocked for the third time this season. I’m not sure if it is a protection issue or if Shipley is taking too long to get the punt off, but again Nevada was given a short field. The Warrior defense stepped up and made a big stop to force a field goal giving the Wolfpack a 20-17 lead.
-The most frustrating mistake in my eyes came on Hawaii’s final possession of the first half. With 55 seconds left in the half and no timeouts, the Warriors got the ball on the 25 yardline after a touchback. Instead of taking a knee and going into the half down three, they decide to go for a score. On first down they ran the ball and the star of the first half and the majority of Hawaii’s offensive production Hunter got injured.
Instead of letting the time run out they came out on second down throwing the ball. Schager got pressured and threw a bad interception giving Nevada the ball on the 46 yard line with 16 seconds left. Nevada got into field goal range but Hawaii got lucky when Brandon Talton missed a 41 yard attempt to end the half. No harm done on the scoreboard, but Dae Dae Hunter’s big day was over and it was just a questionable coaching decision all around. Did they really think they could drive the length of the field in 55 seconds without any timeouts? Why not go into the half down three against a tough conference opponent? Only Coach Graham can answer those questions.
This was a tough loss because the Bows had a serious chance to win the game. Carson Strong ended his night with 395 yards and 2 touchdowns on paper, but the game didn’t tell the same story. The Warriors defensive front got pressure and he seemed to be uncomfortable. I will give Coach Graham credit because the Warrior defense has turned it around in the last four games, but if he can’t see that his son Bo is a problem as the offensive coordinator, he is not watching the same games as the rest of us. Am I being overly critical? Yes, but it’s because I am watching a team that has talent and plays with great effort being held back and losing winnable games.
Next week is the second of a two game series with the New Mexico State Aggies. They will be seeking revenge after the Bows took the victory in Las Cruces 41-21 in their September matchup. The best news is that Governor Ige is allowing 1000 fans into T.C. Ching Field for this game. While we’d like to sell that place out, at this point we’ll take baby steps in the right direction. Let’s go Bows!