HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warrior football team lost its second consecutive Mountain West Conference game and its first home game of the season following a 56-26 loss to Air Force Saturday at Aloha Stadium.
The lost dropped the Warriors to 4-3 overall and 1-2 in the Mountain West.
Air Force jumped out to a 14-3 lead and used a steady ground game, to slow down the Warriors high octane passing attack, and dictate the pace of the game.
The Falcons triple option offense amassed 353 rushing yards while their total offensive output for the evening eclipsed the 500-yard mark (522).
“They kind of choke you out with what they do,” said UH head coach Nick Rolovich, following the game. “It can be a frustrating deal when you get behind, we didn’t take enough advantage of the possessions that we had.”
The first half produced an offensive exhibition as both teams moved the ball up-and-down the field, with each offense scoring on four drives.
The Falcons led 28-20 heading into intermission, but following Air Force would make the necessary adjustments.
After 20 points in the first frame the Warrior’s offense mustered just one touchdown in the second-half as the Falcons offense chewed majority of the clock in the third quarter.
“They were holding possessions,” said UH wide receiver Jared Smart following the game. “They we’re eating up the clock a lot, the time we had the ball it was short."
Smart tallied a career high 11 catches to go along with 140 yards while Jojo Ward hauled in six receptions for 89 yards and a touchdown.
The Warriors managed to stay within striking distance, trailing by just nine points early in the fourth quarter. But the Air Force offense ended any kind of come-back with 21 unanswered points in the final frame.
Falcons back-up quarterback Mike Schmidt came off the bench to rush for 120 yards and three touchdowns while tossing for 147 yards and one score.
Schmidt, guided the Air Force offense to seven scoring drives in nine possessions.
“The type of offense that they run is very schematic,” said UH defensive end Kaimana Padello following the game. “We weren’t able to make checks here and there, we made mistakes and the was critical.”
UH quarterback Cole McDonald passed for 404 yards and three touchdowns and eclipsed the 400-yard mark for the second time this season and fifth of his career. The junior moved past Dan Robinson for fourth all-time on the UH passing yardage list.
The Warriors now head back on the road where they will face New Mexico on Saturday, Oct. 26. Kickoff is 2:00 p.m. MT/10:00 a.m. HT.