HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - On a night where it seemed like everything kept going wrong for the Rainbow Warriors, all it took was one play to go their way to secure a win in their home opener against the Arizona Wildcats.
On the final play of the game, with his Wildcats down a touchdown and the final seconds in regulation ticking away, Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate was stopped at the Hawaii one yard line ― about two-and-a-half feet from a potential game-tying touchdown ― to secure a 45-38 win for Hawaii at Aloha Stadium.
For much of the game, it felt as though Hawaii was willing to keep Arizona in the mix.
Though he threw for 378 yards and four touchdowns, Cole McDonald was also intercepted four times. And running backs Dayton Furuta and Freddy Holly III each lost fumbles in the second half.
After tossing his first interception on the game’s opening drive, McDonald picked up a pair of touchdown scores on the team’s ensuing first quarter drives, finding Cedric Byrd from seven yards out and JoJo Ward from the 39 to make it 14-0 after the first.
After a quick touchdown Arizona touchdown to open the second quarter, third touchdown pass, from McDonald to Byrd, extended the Hawaii lead to 21-7.
But Arizona would score on its next drive, and McDondald’s second interception of the game was converted into a touchdown to tie the game at 21 late in the second quarter.
With under two minutes to play, McDonald was masterful in the two minute drill, working Hawaii down the field in five plays, culminating in a 35-yard touchdown to Cedric Byrd, his third score of the night.
Byrd finished the game with a career high 224 yards on 14 catches, and Hawaii finished the first half with a 28-21 score. But McDonald would not finish the third quarter.
After throwing his fourth interception late in the period, McDonald was replaced by Chevan Cordeiro, who launched a late touchdown to Byrd ― the wideout’s fourth of the game ― to secure the winning margin.
This story will be updated.