SAN JOSE, Calif. – The University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warrior football team won its second consecutive contest and snapped a nine-game road losing streak with an emphatic 34-17 win over San José State (1-5, 0-2 MW) Saturday afternoon at CEFCU Stadium.
With the win, UH (3-3, 2-0 MW) has already matched its win total from last year (3-10) and is off to its first-ever 2-0 conference start since joining the Mountain West in 2012. The last time UH started 2-0 in conference was 2010 when the Warriors won their first five WAC games en route to a share of the regular-season title.
Coming off a huge home win over Nevada last week, the Rainbow Warriors continued their momentum with an impressive display in all three phases of the game. The UH offense kept humming with another 30-plus point performance and 431 yards of offense. Special teams got a pair of field goals and blocked an SJSU field goal that kept the Spartans at bay in the the second half.
However, most impressive was the UH defense which recorded six sacks, 11 tackles-for-loss, and three interceptions. After allowing SJSU to score on each of their first two drives, the Rainbow Warriors pitched a shutout the rest of the way as the Spartan offense failed to score on their final 12 possessions.
The first 20 minutes of the game was a back-and-forth affair. Each of the first four drives of the game resulted in points and 10-10 tie early in the second quarter. But the game turned in UH’s favor midway through the second quarter after a gutsy call by UH head coach Nick Rolovich. UH went for it on 4th-and-1 from the team’s own 38-yard line and the result was a 62-yard touchdown run by quarterback Dru Brown. The sophomore signal caller followed up with a 39-yard toss to Ammon Barker with 26 seconds remaining in the half, allowing UH to take a 24-10 lead into the locker room.
San José State got back in the game in the second half when Frank Ginda returned a UH fumble 19 yards for a score, cutting the UH lead to 24-17 with 4:16 left in the third quarter. The Spartans forced another UH fumble on the very next possession and looked to cut into the lead even further with a field goal. However, UH freshman Viane Moala blocked Bryce-Crawford’s 50-yard attempt.
Heading into the fourth quarter, safety Trayvon Henderson‘s interception – UH’s third of the game – helped set up a Steven Lakalaka 30-yard run with 12:53 left to push the ‘Bows’ lead back to two touchdowns. UH never looked back with a stout defensive effort led by Jahlani Tavai‘s 10 tackles, including two sacks and three TFLs.
Last week it was UH’s run game that powered the offense. This week UH took to the air as Brown finished with 287 yards passing and two touchdowns on 24-of-33 passing. A total of 228 of his yards came in the first half alone. His top target on the day was Marcus Kemp, who hauled in six catches for 69 yards.
The Rainbow Warriors return to Hawaiian Tel FCU Field at Aloha Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 15 to host UNLV in a Homecoming matchup. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m.