BOULDER, Colo. – Playing its first road game of the year, the University of Hawai`i football team hung tough for much the game before eventually falling to Colorado, 21-12, Saturday afternoon at Folsom Field.
UH (1-3) had its share off opportunities to pick up its first road win in three years. But the team was ultimately doomed by its inability to find the end zone and stop the exploits of Colorado (2-2) receiver Jordan Spruce.
UH moved the ball successfully but had to settle for field goals during four drives—including three in the red zone. Meanwhile, the Rainbow Warrior defense pitched another second-half shutout against a Pac-12 team, but were stung by Buffalo receiver Nelson Spruce who caught a school-record 13 passes for 172 yards. One of those catches was a 71-yard that gave the Buffaloes a first-quarter lead they would not relinquish.
Steven Lakalaka cracked the 100-yard barrier for the second straight game for UH, finishing with 123 yards rushing on 19 carries. The UH passing game, however, struggled. Three different quarterbacks saw action as the Rainbow Warriors finished with 155 yards in the air, its lowest total in the last 18 games.
UH got on the board first with a 35-yard field goal by Tyler Hadden late in the first quarter, but the Buffs answered right back with a 71-yard strike from Sefo Liufau to Spruce. Hadden’s second field goal of the day made it a 7-6 game early in the second quarter. Colorado, however, scored a pair of touchdowns on its next two possessions and a took a 21-6 lead into the locker room.
Ignited by back-up quarterback Jeremy Higgins, UH had an impressive opening drive in the second half, but again had to settle for a field goal, cutting the deficit to 21-9 early in the third. UH a had a chance to significantly cut into the lead later in the quarter when TJ Taimatuia‘s 34-yard interception return set UH up deep into Colorado territory. But again, UH could not punch it into the endzone and Hadden’s 24-yarder made it 21-12, a score that would hold for the rest of the game.
Hadden went a perfect 4-of-4 on the day and improved to 10-of-11 on field goals this year. Hadden’s four field goals—which included a season-long 41-yarder—was a career high and one shy of the UH single-game record.
The UH defense limited Colorado to just 138 yards after the break. UH has allowed just seven combined points in the second half against its three Pac-12 opponents, including shutouts of both Colorado and Washington.
The Rainbow Warriors will have a bye next week before returning to action at Rice on Saturday, Oct. 4 at 6:00 p.m. CT/1:00 p.m. HT.
*Courtesy of Hawai’i Athletics*