It wasn’t a clinic on making field goals, nor was it the comfortable contest some expected. The road trip to San Jose has been a twilight zone for Hawaii football for many years. The 2007 overtime game that nearly disrupted Hawaii’s perfect season stands out as an example of that. The pregame spread pegged Hawaii as a 13-point favorite, but the Warriors knew better. The Spartans are always a tough out at their place.
That was the case on Saturday, as the Spartans exploded after a quiet first quarter. Hawaii led 3-0 after one quarter, but a Boogie Roberts 2-yard touchdown run gave the Spartans the lead. Four minutes later, Spartans quarterback Josh Love threw a 55-yard strike to wide receiver Bailey Gaither for a score and suddenly the Warriors were down 14-3. San Jose State tacked on another field goal to make it 17-3, but Hawaii managed to salvage some positivity before the break when quarterback Cole McDonald found Elijah Dale for an 18-yard touchdown. Spartans led 17-10, but this game was a long way from being over.
It didn’t take long for Hawaii to capitalize on their momentum from before halftime, with ever-reliable John Ursua scoring to pull the Warriors within 1 point, but the extra point was missed. Foreshadowing. The Spartans mauled their way down the field with ease to push the lead to 24-16, a lead they would take into the fourth quarter. Hawaii was in jeopardy of dropping of what felt like a must-win game when considering the October schedule.
Cole McDonald put on the cape and persevered, tying up the game in the early fourth quarter with a pass to John Ursua. The two-point conversion to Marcus Armstrong-Brown was also successful. As was the norm throughout the evening, the Spartans responded almost immediately with a touchdown of their own, this time Malike Robinson catching a touchdown pass from quarterback Josh Love from 4-yards out.
Hawaii would score once more in regulation, this time to John Ursua again, who is putting together a season for the ages. The score would remain tied at 31, but the fun was just beginning. Hawaii would take the ball first in overtime, scoring on a 1-yard touchdown run from big Dayton Furuta. San Jose State would do what they do and retaliate with a touchdown of their own. 38-38 going into the second overtime.
There might not be a position in American sports with more pressure than a kicker in football. Hawaii’s Ryan Meskell and San Jose State’s Bryce Crawfordboth exchanged missed kicks in the second and third overtimes. The Spartan coaches were seen trying to console Crawford, who was clearly feeling the pressure. Both kickers would respond in the fourth overtime, tying the game at 41 going into an astounding fifth overtime. Hawaii’s Ryan Meskell would bury a 35-yard field goal in what was starting to feel like a soccer penalty shootout. Crawford would succumb one final time, missing his kick. Hawaii would escape with a 44-41 victory in thrilling fashion.
NEXT UP: Hawaii takes on Wyoming at Aloha Stadium, who lost 34-14 to Boise State on Saturday in Laramie.