The mainland hasn’t always been kind to the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors, but Saturday afternoon proved much different than years past. The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors dominated the Cowboys on Saturday, beating them by a final score of 38-14, in Laramie. It was the first time since 1991 that the Warriors came into Laramie and left with the Paniolo Trophy. A dominant showing on both sides of the ball for the Warriors helped them claim bowl-eligibility, seemingly saving their best effort for last.
It was all Hawai’i, all day long
The Rainbow Warriors were firing on all cylinders the moment they stepped onto Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium this weekend. QB Chevan Cordeiro and his offensive group were unstoppable early on, scoring on their first drive that consisted of 10 plays for 75 yards, capped off by a Cordeiro scramble to the end zone, to make it 7-0 early.
On the Pokes’ first drive of the day they managed to get themselves into deep field goal range, but kicker John Hoyland was unable to connect from 53 yards out. The Rainbow Warriors would capitalize on the field position with yet another score, this time on a two-yard punch-in run from Calvin Turner Jr. following a couple more big plays from Cordeiro.
A Cowboy three & out on the next drive would prove costly as the Rainbow Warriors once again were able to score on the already worn down Poke defense. It was the Cordeiro show as the QB continued his big day heading into the 2nd quarter. Following a couple of big throws and scrambles to plant his team firmly in Wyoming territory, Cordeiro was able to find Steven Fiso in the end zone for a 19-yard touchdown pass, making it 21-0 Warriors.
Meanwhile the Cowboys continued to struggle mightily. The Pokes’ next six plays resulted in a total of 1 yard gained as the Warriors seemed just about ready for everything that came their way. Meanwhile, the Warriors would tack on three more with a 25-yard field goal from Matt Shipley before Wyoming added their first score of the day. The score came on their last drive before the conclusion of the first half as the offense found life thanks to a few Hawai’i defensive penalties. Titus Swen capped off the 75-yard march down field with a 4-yard run up the middle, for the score.
For awhile, it looked as though the Cowboys were going to bring some momentum into the second half following Swen’s touchdown run with just under two minutes remaining, but Chevan Cordeiro and Jared Smart had other ideas. The QB’s last second hail mary heave came down in the hands of Smart who found himself in the end zone. It was a completely demoralizing blow for the Pokes who now found themselves heading into the locker room at halftime, down 31-7.
The momentum-killer put the nail in the coffin
The second half saw much less offense than the first half did. It was a half that consisted of punts and downs for the most part with a few scores sprinkled in between. While Hawai’i was doing a good job of bleeding the clock, the Cowboys were finally able to pick off Cordeiro late in the 3rd quarter, which led to their best drive of the game. With under two minutes remaining in the third quarter, Levi Williams found his top target Isaiah Neyor who was able to run the ball up the sideline and into the end zone for a 30-yard play that would conclude the scoring for Wyoming.
As for Hawai’i, they would also add another touchdown for their ledger. Cordeiro connected with Fiso one more time, this time in the 4th quarter, for a wide-open 32-yard touchdown pass to conclude scoring.
The Cowboys will now wait it out for a potential opportunity to play in a bowl game. A win on Saturday would have almost assuredly guaranteed them a spot, but following the deflating loss to Hawai’i, it’s anyone’s guess as to if the Pokes will be playing football in the post-season. The Cowboys finished their season with a 6-6 overall record following the program’s first 4-0 start since 1996. The Cowboys have a few promising road wins beating the Northern Illinois Huskies 50-43, a team in which we will see play for a MAC title vs. Kent State, as well as defeating a Utah State squad 44-17, who we will get to watch play in the MWC title game vs. San Diego State. There’s no doubt this team has seen it’s fair share of ups and downs, but Craig Bohl and company believe that their guys deserve a shot at a bowl.
“I’m confident they want to keep playing football,” Bohl said when speaking about his players. “I’m going to make a pitch. I think the Mountain West right now is the sixth-rated conference in the country. We won all our non-conference games. We ran into a tough conference schedule. We’ve won six games. That qualifies us.”
Wyoming finished 6-6 in 2018 and won their last four regular season games, but did not receive an invitation to a bowl. Find out if and where our team has the Cowboys playing in a bowl game later this week!