HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i football team’s comeback bid came up short in a 31-21 loss to Fresno State Saturday night in a Mountain West match-up at a rain-soaked Aloha Stadium.
With the loss—UH’s seventh in the last eight games—the Rainbow Warriors fell to 3-7 overall and 1-6 in conference and saw its 2017 postseason hopes dashed.
Fresno State (7-3), meanwhile, kept its lead in the MW West division with a 5-1 mark. The Bulldogs have won six of the last seven in the series and have now won five straight times in Honolulu.
UH led 7-0 after the first quarter but the next two quarters were all Fresno State. The Bulldogs scored 31 unanswered points, 24 of which came after a rare 40-minute lightning delay mid-way through the second quarter. Junior quarterback Marcus McMaryion directed a pair of touchdown drives in the final 4:04 of the half, giving the Bulldogs a 21-7 halftime lead.
Hawai’i was led offensively by running back Diocemy Saint Juste, who eclipsed 100-yards for the seventh time this season with 104 yards on 22 carries. In the loss, the senior set the program’s single-season attempts mark previously held by Michael Carter in 1992. Quarterback Dru Brown threw for 154 yards and two scores.
UH got on the board first on a 7-yard pass from Brown to redshirt freshman Kumoku Noa. It was the first career touchdown for Noa who helped UH stake a lead at the end of the first quarter for just the second time this season.
Fresno State answered with 21 straight in the second quarter with a trio of touchdown passes by McMaryion, including a 3-yarder to David Tangipa that gave the Bulldogs a 21-7 lead just 19 seconds before the half.
UH entered the final quarter down 31-7, but UH refused to fold. The Warriors scored two touchdowns in a 64-second span—a Dylan Collie 15-yard reception, followed by a Solomon Matautia 19-yard interception return—to cut the deficit to 31-21. The pick was Matautia’s third of the season and the team’s first defensive score all year.
Linebacker Jahalani Tavai again led the defense, tying a career-high with 14 tackles. Matautia finished with six tackles while safety Daniel Lewis added six tackles, three pass breakups, and one forced fumble.
The Rainbow Warriors will next play their final road game of the season when they head to Logan, Utah to take on Utah State. Kickoff is set to 1:00 p.m. MT/10:00 a.m. HT.