Rainbow Warriors rally past Wyoming in conference opener

Rainbow Warriors rally past Wyoming in conference opener

HONOLULU - The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior football team snapped a six-game losing streak to Wyoming and regained the Paniolo Trophy in a 38-28 victory, Saturday night, in UH's Mountain West opener at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium.

The Rainbow Warriors (2-4, 1-0 MW) also snapped an eight-game conference losing streak dating back to 2012. UH, who defeated the Cowboys (3-3, 1-1) for the first time since 1992, out-scored Wyoming 28-7 in the second half.

Hawaii tallied season-highs in points, total offense (513), rushing (232), and passing (281). UH's defense held Wyoming to only 93 total yards in the second half and forced two turnovers - both interceptions by safety Trayvon Henderson.

Quarterback Ikaika Woolsey replaced in an injured Taylor Graham in the second half and completed 8-of-9 for 173 yards and two touchdowns - 53-yarder to Quinton Pedroza and 40-yarder to Marcus Kemp. Running back Diocemy Saint Juste rushed for a career-high 135 yards and one score while Steven Lakalaka added 76 yards on the ground. Pedroza finished with a career-high 118 yards receiving.

UH fell behind early as the Cowboys scored two touchdowns in the first six minutes of the game. Shaun Wick scampered 20-yards, breaking a tackle along the way, for WYO's first score. With the Warriors driving on their first possession, Devyn Harris scooped up a fumble by UH quarterback Taylor Graham and scrambled 78 yards for the Cowboys' second score.

Hawaii got on the scoreboard with Tyler Hadden's 35-yard field goal and answered with another score as Graham found Pedroza for a 16-yard touchdown to close within 14-10. Graham went 7-of-7 on the touchdown drive

Wyoming tacked on another score as Colby Kirkegaard found Jalen Claiborne for a 42-yard touchdown with 1:41 left in the half for a 21-10 lead.

With Graham out of the game after suffering a foot injury on the final play of the first half, Woolsey drove the Warriors downfield capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by Keelan Ewaliko.

UH's second fumble of the third quarter, a mishandled exchange from Woolsey to fullback Justin Vele, gave the Cowboys possession deep in Hawaii territory. Three plays later, D.J. May scored on a 17-yard screen pass for a 28-17 Wyoming lead.

On UH's ensuing possession, Woolsey connected with Pedroza for a 53-yard pass play on the final play of the third quarter, pulling the Warriors to within 28-24. After Henderson's fourth career interception, Woolsey directed another UH touchdown, hooking up with Marcus Kemp on a 40-yard catch-and-run.

After WYO missed a 51-yard attempt to tie the game, Woolsey led the Warriors to another touchdown, capped by Saint Juste's first career touchdown, an 18-yard dash that gave UH a 38-28 lead with 3:32 left in the game.

The Rainbow Warriors will next travel to San Diego State, Oct. 18 at Qualcomm Stadium.