HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors notched one into the win column following a 27-24 victory over Northern Iowa Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
Hawaii (1-2) didn't win pretty, but they received help from all three facets of the game. To begin the night, the Bows' took advantage of a snap that sailed over the head of Panthers quarterback Sawyer Kollomgren. Defensive end Beau Yap fought off UNI offensive lineman and came up with the ball, giving UH a 7-0 nothing lead in the first quarter.
The Rainbow Warriors offense didn't get rolling until the second quarter. Hawaii QB Ikaika Woolsey entered the frame 0-3, but that ended on 2nd and 10 from the UH 11 yard line, when he connected with Marcus Kemp for a 50-yard strike down the near sideline. That led to a 36-yard field goal by kicker Tyler Hadden putting UH up 10-7.
The long ball strikes continued two UH possessions later. On first and 10 from its own 20-yard line, Woolsey rolled right out of the pocket and hit Scott Harding for a 52-yard strike. Two plays later and Woolsey tagged tight end Harold Moleni for a 15-yard touchdown pass to put UH up 17-7. It marked the first passing touchdown of Woolsey's career.
UNI added a field goal before the break to trail the Bows' by just seven points at halftime.
In the third quarter, offense came at a premium for UH. Woolsey (14-30, 188 yards, Td) took the lead for three Hawaii possessions and accumulated negative-one yard. That prompted head coach Norm Chow to make a switch at QB bringing in Jeremy Higgins.
It proved to be the right move. Hawaii's offense played inspired on the second drive orchestrated by Higgins, running back Steven Lakalaka (32 carries, 124 yards, TD) busted free for a 30-yard touchdown run to give UH a 24-10 lead.
UNI did not go quietly into the night. On the first drive of the fourth quarter, the Panthers topped a 7-play, 78-yard drive with a 9-yard touchdown strike from Kollmorgen to Kevin Vereen Jr., to pull Northern Iowa within 24-17.
As they have each game, UH special teams made their mark. On a Harding punt, one of his wobbly, Australian rules punts caught UNI off guard as the ball bounced off the returner's ankles. CB Nequan Phillips recovered the ball on the Panthers 20-yard line. Hawaii would capitalize with a 38-yard field goal by Tyler Hadden to increase their lead to 27-17.
At the 1:18 mark, UNI stayed alive, Kollmgren hit Darien Miller from 11-yards out, narrowing Hawaii's lead to 27-24.
UH would run out the remainder of the clock to hold on for their first victory since November 30th, 2013 (a 49-42 win over Army).
Up next is Pac-12 member Colorado (1-2) in Boulder. Kickoff is set for 8 am Hawaii standard time.
The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors held on to gain their first victory of the season, defeating Northern Iowa 27-24 at Aloha Stadium.