FRESNO, Calif. - The University of Hawai`i football team gave a valiant second-half effort before falling to Fresno State, 28-21, in the team's season finale Saturday at Bulldog Stadium. By holding on for the victory, the Bulldogs (6-6, 5-3 MW) clinched the West Division title of the Mountain West.
Fresno State will play in next week's Mountain West championship game. UH, meanwhile, concluded its season with a 4-9 overall record and 3-5 mark in conference.
The Bulldogs looked like they would cruise to victory, taking a 28-0 halftime lead into the fourth quarter. But a resilient UH squad scored three unanswered touchdowns, the last coming with 45 seconds remaining. Fresno State was only able to secure the victory after recovering the ensuing onside kick.
Fresno State scored on its first three possession of the game and out-gained UH, 259-70, to take a four-touchdown lead into the locker room. UH, meanwhile was shutout in the first half for the first time this season.
UH, however, absolutely dominated play in the second half. UH drove into the Fresno State red zone on all five of its second-half possessions. The Rainbow Warriors failed to score on their first two drives, but made good on the next three. All three touchdowns-scoring tosses from Ikaika Woolsey to Harold Moleni, Donnie King and Quinton Pedroza-came on fourth-down plays. UH went a perfect 6-of-6 on fourth-down conversions for the game to keep its hopes alive.
The UH defense, which shutout an opponent in the second half for the fourth time this year, helped set up two UH scores with interceptions by Jalen Rogers and Simon Poti.
UH out-gained Fresno State 353-333 for the game, including a 283-74 advantage after the break.
Sophomore receiver Marcus Kemp recorded his second straight 100-yard receiving game and third of the season with seven catches for a career-high 117 yards. Joey Iosefa, rushed for 69 yards on 22 carries in his final game as a Rainbow Warrior. The native of America Samoa concluded his career fifth all-time in rushing at UH with 2,218 yards.