HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - The ‘Todd Graham’ era is underway as the Rainbow Warriors opened up their shortened eight-game Mountain West season — defeating Fresno State on the road 34-19.
An empty Bulldog stadium is where the 'Bows got off to a rocky start with a fumble in their opening kickoff that led to the Bulldogs drawing first blood with a rushing touchdown by Ronnie Rivers.
It took UH most of the first quarter to get into a rhythm after four sacks on quarterback Chevan Cordeiro.
But the UH ‘War Dog’ defense stripped Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener, which led to a Chevan Cordeiro rushing touchdown — tied up at 7-7.
The 'Bows took the lead in the second quarter after a Matthew Shipley 34-yard field goal — his first with UH.
Fresno State would respond with a touchdown, but botched the snap on the PAT attempt, keeping the score 13-10.
UH would stretch their lead to close out the first half with a 72-yard drive that was capped off with Cordeiro’s second rushing touchdown of the night — UH led 17-13 at the half.
The Warriors would open the second half with an interception by Eugene Ford — his second of the night.
The drive that followed would end with seven points, after running back Calvin Turner gets his first touchdown as a Rainbow Warrior — giving the 'Bows a 24-13 lead.
A costly penalty by safety Kai Kaneshiro would put the ball near the UH 5-yard line for the Bulldogs, but the drive would end in a field goal.
The Warriors capped off the third quarter with a tipped interception for linebacker Jeremiah Pritchard — the fourth turnover by this Victor Santa Cruz led defense.
The Bulldogs would try to mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, but it wasn’t enough to get on top of UH — The 'Bows getting their first win against Fresno State since 2016.
Chevan Cordeiro ended the night with 20 completions on 30 attempts for 229 yards, but made a statement on his feet, rushing for 116 yards and two touchdowns — the Redshift sophomore is 5-0 as the starting quarterback for UH .
Todd Graham is the first UH head coach to win his debut since Bob Wagner did it in 1987.
The 'Bows will remain on the mainland this coming week as they prepare for their battle with Wyoming for the Paniolo trophy.
That game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 1.