It wasn’t what fans or the team expected. Hawaii came into their unusually early homecoming game with high expectations. A near 40-point favorite over lowly FCS foe Duquesne, the famed 2007 Hawaii Warriors team that went 12-1 was to be honored at halftime, a parking lot full of tailgaters. There was pressure for Hawaii to perform, and visiting Duquesne wasn’t in a mood to comply. It still wasn’t enough to stop the Warriors from winning comfortably 42-21 in front of nearly 24,000 fans.
Hawaii entered the game having only conceded two turnovers the entire season. They doubled that total in the first quarter alone. Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald threw the first interception of not only the season, but his entire collegiate career. Dukes quarterback Daniel Parr capitalized on that and a fumble by throwing two touchdown passes as the Dukes took a 14-0 lead halfway through the first quarter. Grumbles could be heard from the stands. This definitely wasn’t going to script.
Hawaii’s superstar wide receiver, John Ursua, said enough is enough as Hawaii retaliated for a touchdown of their own, closing the gap to 7-14 going into the second quarter. Hawaii would subsequently score with ease on a beautiful toss from McDonald to wide receiver JoJo Ward in the endzone to tie it up at 14-14. Hawaii’s defense would begin to suffocate the Dukes offense and the quarter concluded with another Hawaii touchdown, this time to wide receiver Cedric Byrd. Hawaii lead 21-14 at half.
Hawaii wouldn’t look back from there. Warriors running back Dayton Furuta completely mauled the Dukes defense on the day for 114 rushing yards, and McDonald tossed 5 touchdown passes, albeit on 273 passing yards. A great day for most quarterbacks, but a surprisingly low total for the Warriors gunslinger considering his season stats and the caliber of homecoming opponent.
A third quarter Fred Holly III touchdown run pushed the score to 28-14, and a play-action pass to tight end (Hawaii still has them!) Dakota Torres put the game out of reach at 35-14. The Dukes refused to play the role of sacrificial lamb the entire game, and that didn’t end in the fourth quarter as they responded for a touchdown of their own to make the score 35-21 Warriors. Hawaii then marched the field and scored again, this time to John Ursua, who is on a mission to be in the discussion for Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year. Ursua has 623 receiving yards and 9 receiving touchdowns on the season (!!). He also has one rushing touchdown too. It’s not even October and Ursua is well on his way to a record-breaking season. Hawaii would win the game 42-21 on homecoming in front of fans, alumni, and the legendary 2007 Hawaii Warriors.
UP NEXT: Hawaii opens as a 13-point favorite vs. San Jose State. The Warriors will travel directly to San Jose this week, the Spartans being the last lowly opponent the Warriors will see for some time, with Wyoming, @BYU, etc. on the horizon.