HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawai’i football team got off to a blazing start to kick-off home-coming weekend, jumping out to a 28-0 lead to propel themselves to a 35-16 homecoming win over Central Arkansas Saturday at Aloha Stadium.
The win took the 'Bows to 3-1 on the season.
Hawai’i head coach Nick Rolovich could feel the energy from Warriors of the past, many of whom gathered down on the field around the tunnel before kick-off began.
“I want to thank the alumni for coming out,” said Rolovich. “It’s good to get a win on homecoming, its nice to be 3-1 going into conference, its a positive thing for this football team.”
Hawai’i extended its win streak against FCS opponents to 17 dating back to 2001 and won its third straight homecoming Game.
The Warriors defense allowed just 189 yards passing against Central Arkansas, well below the Bears’ average of 351.3 per game.
“The d-line did a tremendous job this week,” said defensive end Kaimana Padello following the game. “Whether it was run or whether it was pass, just getting them to third down was the biggest deal for us and we let the dogs hunt tonight.”
The defense also scored their first touchdown in 18 games on a pick-six by defensive back Kai Kaneshiro, who took a deflected pass 55 yards to the house, to get the scoring started.
Offensively the game was a breakout night for wide receiver Jared Smart.
Smart caught a career-high eight receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown, while physically imposing his will on the Bears secondary.
“I’m always working on getting YAC,” said Smart. “Tonight was just a product of my work.”
UH Freshman Lincoln Victor, also notched his first career touchdown at Aloha Stadium in the second half, and caught three passes for 33 yards in his first taste of serius game action.
With four touchdown passes to a host of different receivers, Cole McDonald moved into fourth place all-time in UH program history for touchdown passes.
“I’m just so thankful for the guys around me,” said McDonald. “I’m thankful for the coaching staff believing in me, and I’m just going to keep playing hard and playing that Hawai’i football that everybody knows.”
The Warriors open up Mountain West play on the road, against Nevada (3-1) on Saturday, Sept. 28.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. PT/4:30 p.m. HT and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.