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Hawaii vs. Colorado game recap: Warriors get a much needed opening season win

Hawaii starts the season 1-0 by defeating Colorado, 28-20.

Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado won the toss and elected to receive.  Three plays later Keelan Ewaliko flew in front of punter Alex Kinney’s leg and Dikembe Mutombo’d the hell out of it.

Taking over at the Colorado-16 quarterback Max Wittek quickly found Quinton Pedroza for an 11-yard score.  Then, as if he felt a wave of murderous aggression wash over him, offensive coordinator Don Bailey decided to twist the knife and go for two with newly found touchdown buddies Wittek and Pedroza hooking up again for the conversion.

Colorado finally showed some life in the middle of the second quarter after LB Derek McCarthy picked off a Max Wittek pass to set the Buffs up at the UH 23-yard line. RB Michael Adkins would gash the Hawaii defensive front on the way to a 12-yard run to cut the Hawaii lead to one.

It didn’t take long for the Warriors to answer.  With 8:07 left in the second quarter Wittek hit Marcus Kemp on a short pass that Kemp took to the house for a 79-yard score.

Not to be outdone Colorado marched right back down the field on a 57-yard drive culminating in another Adkins touchdown run.

With 1:03 left in the first half Senior LB Lance Williams forced a fumble out of Colorado RB Christian Powell.  Hawaii DB Marrell Jackson recovered the ball at the UH 42 to set up a drive that would ultimately stall on the CU 11.  Rigoberto Sanchez kicked a 27-yarder as the half expired to give the Warriors a 18-14 lead.

After a UH drive stalled to open the third quarter Colorado again cut the lead to one on a 40-yard field goal by Diego Gonzalez.

Colorado again began march down the field but ended up turning the ball over on downs after the ‘Bows stopped them on their own 38-yard line. The resulting drive was capped off when Wittek hit Isaiah Bernard for a touchdown pass.

Early in the fourth quarter Sanchez tacked on another field goal to give Hawaii a 28-17 lead.

With 3:48 to go in the game Gonzalez kicked a 40-yard field goal to pull the Buffs within one score at 28-20.  The Buffs would again get the ball with 1:56 left in the game after another UH three and out.  With just one timeout left the Buffaloes began their drive.  After converting on a long fourth down play Colorado QB Sefo Liufao completed a pass to the UH 6 with 14 seconds left on the clock and no timeouts. A fumble by the refs as they attempted to set the ball would rob the Buffs of another play and seal Hawaii’s victory.

Game Notes:

  • Max Wittek finished 19/38 for 202 yards with 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions.
  • Paul Harris rushed for 68 yards on 17 carries.
  • Marcus Kemp had 6 receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown.
  • Quinton Pedroza had 5 receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown.
  • Rigoberto Sanchez was 2 for 2 on field goals and 2 for 2 on extra points.  Sanchez also had 9 punts for an average of 44.4 with 3 inside the 20.