HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Cole McDonald might not be in the conversation for the Heisman Trophy this season, but he has proven to be one of the premier quarterbacks in all of college football.
Sure, the Rainbow Warrior football team is 6-5, still not bowl eligible and has lost four in a row. But what’s lost in this rough period for Hawaii is the play of McDonald. And even though his passing numbers have dropped off from his incredible start to the season, he is still efficient, dynamic and dangerous when given time to throw the ball.
Through 10 games this season (missed one game this season due to injury against Wyoming), McDonald has completed 232-of-388 attempts, throwing for 3,163 yards - good enough for No. 4 in the country behind the likes of Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins, Jordan Ta’amu of Ole Miss and Gardner Minshew at pass-happy Washington State.
The redshirt sophomore has also thrown for 32 touchdowns to just six interceptions this season. And that touchdown mark is tied for No. 3 in college football behind only D’Eriq King of Houston, the aforementioned Haskins and Heisman hopeful Kyler Murray at Oklahoma.
While the majority of those turnovers have come during the team's recent skid, that touchdown-interception ratio should not be forgotten about. Even former Warrior great Colt Brennan threw 13, 12 and 17 interceptions in each of his seasons as a start at Hawaii.
In fact, McDonald’s numbers as a first-year starter stack up well against any other quarterback in the program’s history.
With at least two games left in the season, McDonald’s 3,163 passing yards is already No. 9 all-time in Warrior history, just behind his current head coach Nick Rolovich.
Averaging 316.3 passing yards per game, McDonald has the opportunity to climb up even higher in the record books.
If McDonald continues this pace, he will have thrown for another 632.6 yards over the next two games, bringing his season total to approximately 3,796 passing yards. That mark would put McDonald in eighth place in Hawaii history, just 403 yards behind Timmy Chang’s 2003 mark of 4,199.
In terms of touchdowns, McDonald is already among the Warrior greats. The California native’s 32 passing scores currently sits at No. 7 all-time, just two touchdowns behind Rolovich for seventh place. Averaging 3.2 passing touchdowns per game this season, McDonald could end up 38 passing touchdowns at the end of the regular season, matching Brennan and Chang for third all-time.
The 2018 campaign for the Warriors will ultimately be deemed a success if they win seven games and reach a bowl game. But regardless of postseason accolades, McDonald has asserted himself in the record books in just his first season as a full-time starter.