EditorsNote: Adds “a” in 1st graf
Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald and wide receiver Nick Mardner connected for a 24-yard touchdown with 1:17 left to lift the Rainbow Warriors to a 38-34 win over BYU in the Hawaii Bowl on Tuesday night in Honolulu.
After being shut down for the entire second half, the Rainbow Warriors (10-5) took over from their own 14-yard line with 2:01 left in the game. Four plays and 86 yards later, Hawaii scored the game-winner, beating BYU (7-6) for only the second time in 13 the past 13 tries.
BYU had one last chance, but Khoury Bethley came up with his second interception of the game to ice the win for the Rainbow Warriors.
McDonald completed 28 of 46 passes for 493 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for a score.
His BYU counterpart, Zach Wilson, completed 24 of 40 attempts for 274 yards without a touchdown in the air. Wilson did run for two scores, but also had a costly fumble as he was about to cross the goal line.
The game was a tale of two halves with the teams combining for 55 points and more than 600 yards in the first half.
Hawaii struck first with McDonald driving the Rainbow Warriors 82 yards in 10 plays. McDonald connected with Jared Smart from 7 yards out.
Four plays later, Bethley intercepted a Wilson pass to set up the second score. McDonald soon found Smart for a 40-yard touchdown and a 14-0 Hawaii lead.
The Cougars got on the board with Lopini Katoa plunging in from the 1-yard line to cap a 10-play, 73-yard drive.
Hawaii answered with McDonald scooting in from a yard out to put the Rainbow Warriors up 21-7.
Not to be outdone, on BYU’s next possession, Wilson muscled his way in for a 1-yard touchdown, cutting the Cougars’ deficit to 21-14.
Hawaii’s Ryan Meskell tacked on a 46-yard field goal with 5:50 left, but the two offenses weren’t quite finished.
After BYU’s Micah Simon ran for an 11-yard TD, McDonald threw his third touchdown pass of the first half, connecting with Jason-Matthew Sharsh with 1:16 left before halftime for a 31-21 lead.
Jake Oldroyd’s 38-yard field goal drew the Cougars to 31-24 at intermission.
A 2-yard touchdown run by Wilson early in the third quarter and a 20-yard field goal by Oldroyd in the first minute of the fourth quarter gave BYU a lead it held until the final 77 seconds.
—Field Level Media