HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warrior football team made history in Halawa Saturday night with a 14-11 Mountain West victory over San Diego State Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
With the win, UH captured a share of the West Division title and earned the program’s first ever appearance in the Mountain West conference championship game. The Rainbow Warriors (8-4, 5-3 MW) will face Mountain Division representative Boise State in the title game, Dec. 7 in Boise, Idaho a week after UH wraps up the regular season with a non-conference match-up against Army West Point at Aloha Stadium.
The Aztecs came into Saturday night’s match-up with one of the top defensive units in the country, holding Hawai’i to just two scoring drives – both of which resulted in touchdowns and consumed more than 90 yards and at least 14 plays.
Warriors head coach Nick Rolovich knew going into the game that both team’s defenses would play pivotal factors.
“We had a feeling it was going to come down to the wire and it did,” said Rolovich. “I’m so proud of our kids and the way they fought, it was great to have all three phases contribute, winning that thing on defense was as good as an ending as we could have asked for.”
Following tonight’s effort, the Warriors defense, has given up just one touchdown in the last seven quarters, an Saturday night held the Aztecs (8-3, 5-3) to 89 yards rushing, their second lowest of the season.
Cole McDonald got the starting nod ahead of half-time and led the Warriors to their first scoring drive of the evening while completing 13 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown to go along with an interception.
In the second half UH turned to red-shirt freshman Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro who came off the bench to direct a season-long 96-yard drive on 14 plays.
The drive was fueled by 53 rushing yards by Cordeiro and capped by an 11-yard Fred Holly III touchdown run.
Although Cordeiro didn’t start the game, he was ready when his number was called.
“I always prepare like I’m going to start," said Cordeiro following the game. “I take mental reps from the sideline so I was ready from the beginning.”
Cordeiro finished the game 9-of-16 for 71 yards and led the team with 59 yards rushing on eight carries.
The Aztecs trailed for much of the game until the final moments when after the team’s traded punts the Aztecs got the ball back with 1:23 left in the fourth quarter down 14-11.
Aztecs quarterback Ryan Agnew drove SDSU down to the UH 31, setting up a 48-yard field goal attempt by Matt Araiza, however his kick sailed wide right with just two seconds remaining on the clock.
Warriors wide receiver Jason Matthew-Sharsh became one of McDonald and Cordeiro’s favorite targets throughout the evening, as the senior captain tallied 10 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown.
The defensive battle left the Warriors with season-lows of 215 yards passing and 347 yards of total offense.
Kickoff for next week’s Senior Night game against Army West Point is 7:30 p.m., and the game will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
UH’s 24 seniors will be honored following the conclusion of the game.