HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawai’i football team rallied from a pair of two-touchdown deficits and the defense pitched second half shutout in the second half for a 31-28 victory over Oregon State Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
The Rainbow Warriors (2-0) posted their second consecutive win over a Pac-12 opponent to start the season and got off to a 2-0 start for the third consecutive season.
Head coach Nick Rolovich believes a big reason for the win, was the Warriors ability to rely on each other in key situations.
“I’m proud of the guys sticking together," said Rolovich. “I think it comes from the culture, it oozes out onto our team and I’m really appreciative to coach these guys."
The UH offense for a second consecutive week got a career performance from a senior receiver.
Jojo Ward hauled in four touchdown grabs– including three in the first half – and finished with a career-high 10 receptions for 189 yards.
“I’m just blessed to be out there,” said Ward. “The coaches had a lot of faith in me, trusting me out there and I just took advantage of any opportunity I had.”
Placekicker Ryan Meskell struggled throughout the evening, overcoming three early misses in the game, before connecting on a game winning 28-yard field goal with 2:17 remaining.
The Beavers had a chance to tie the game in the closing moments but Jordan Choukair’s 52-yard attempt sailed wide left.
Warrior quarterback Cole McDonald was dazzling, throwing for 421 passing yards and four touchdowns.
After inconsistent moments in UH’s week 0 victory over Arizona, McDonald was locked in ahead of the match-up.
“When people doubt me that’s when I shine,” said McDonald. “It comes down to the scheme and the coaching staff, it was a real team effort and it translated to the game.”
While the offense converted key plays when they needed to, the defense played lights-out in the second half.
Defensive back Cortez Davis believes the defense schematically began to settle in after halftime.
“We got more physical,” said Davis. “They came out running more then we expected, but we got physical upfront and the DB’s did a good job of locking up."
The Warriors will play their third consecutive Pac-12 opponent when they travel to Seattle to face No. 14 Washington in UH’s first road game of the year.
Kickoff is 4:30 p.m. PT/1:30 p.m. HT at Husky Stadium.