LARAMIE, Wyo. – The University of Hawai’i football team had a conference-opening win within its grasp before eventually falling to defending Mountain Division champion Wyoming in overtime, 28-21, Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium.
For the second straight visit to Laramie, UH (2-2, 0-1 MW) went into overtime with Wyoming. And like their last visit in 2013, the Rainbow Warriors left with bitter disappointment as the Cowboys regained possession of the Paniolo Trophy.
UH was seemingly in control for much of the game. The Rainbow Warrior defense had its best defensive effort in more than four years, holding Wyoming to just 269 total yards – including just 92 passing yards by highly-touted quarterback Josh Allen. Meanwhile the UH offense racked up 450 yards of offense and nearly doubled up the Cowboys in time of possession.
But the Cowboys (2-2, 1-0 MW) made the big plays when they needed, capped by an interception off a tipped pass to seal the game on the final play of overtime.
Through nearly three quarters, UH used a stifling defensive effort and a ball-control offense to take a 14-7 lead. But right after Diocemy Saint Juste cappped an 89-yard UH drive with a touchdown and a UH lead, the Cowboys answered. Tyler Hall took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards to knot the score with less than a minute left in the third quarter.
The Cowboys used another big play to set up their next score as Trey Woods’ 59-yard run led to an Austin Conway 3-yard scoring run to give Wyoming the lead early in the fourth quarter. A John Urusa 50-yard pass from Dru Brown knotted the score at 21-21 with 8:18 remaining. It was a score that stood for the rest of regulation.
Once in overtime, the Cowboys struck fast as Allen found James Price for a 25-yard touchdown on the first play of the extra frame. Wyoming then sealed the win on Cash Malui’s interception on the second play of UH’ ensuing possession.
Saint Juste recorded his third 100-yard game of the season and his fifth in the last six games, dating to last year, after finishing with 120 yards and a touchdown. Ursua nabbed eight catches for 102 yards and a touchdown, while Brown set career highs for completions (29) and attempts (39), finishing with 280 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
Jahlani Tavai led UH’s defensive charge with 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks.
The Rainbow Warriors will next play their first home game in nearly a month when they face Colorado State in a Mountain West contest on Saturday, Sept. 30. Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. at Aloha Stadium.