HONOLULU- The University of Hawaii football team had no answer for the Falcons' triple option attack. As the nation’s 3rd best rushing attack, the Falcons' offense raced out to a 34-0 halftime lead and never looked back, routing Hawaii 58-7 at Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium Saturday night. The 51-point defeat suffered by the Rainbow Warriors is the worst conference loss at home in team history.
With the loss, post season bowl hopes were crushed, and the sixth consecutive loss dropped Hawaii to a 2-7 on the year and 0-5 in Mountain West conference play. The Falcons improved to 5-3 and 4-1 in conference play. The Falcons gained 496 yards coming via the rushing attack, with running back Jacobi Owens leading the way with 137 yards and two scores. The Rainbow Warrior defense gave up the most rushing yards by a UH defense since 2004.
“We needed to have been able to stop their run and we just didn’t do that.” Chow said. “They’re a very good football team and they see what your game plan is and they try to take advantage of it. We had the ball for just 10 plays in the second half and when they got ahead that hurt us.”
Hawaii’s offense did not help the team’s chances of victory on Saturday. Plagued by four costly turnovers, the only touchdown for the Rainbow Warriors came in the 4th quarter off of a Keelan Ewaliko kickoff return for a touchdown. The offense ran for a season low -2 yards on the ground, and gained only 178 yards of total offense. Air Force capitalized on three turnovers that gave their offense a short field to work with. The Falcons scored 13 points off of turnovers.
Air Force set the tone in the first quarter, as they held the ball for 11:01 of the opening frame. Rushing for two scores on 159 yards just in the first quarter, it was evident Hawaii would be in for a long game. Being down 14-0 to start the game, clearly it had affected Hawaii’s game plan as well as their overall confidence and team morale. Asked if the early lead forced UH to change their game plan, Chow responded, “Of course it did, we wanted to get into a routine like them.” Chow said. “We got a first down the first play of the game but then they went 90 yards and sure it takes you out of your plan.”
The Rainbow Warriors can no longer plan on playing in a post season bowl game. At the start of the year that was the team goal, but after six straight losses and a winless conference record, mathematically UH cannot finish the season over .500.
The Rainbow Warriors return to the road next week to take on UNLV in Las Vegas, Nev., Saturday, Nov. 7. Kick-off is 3:00 p.m. PT (1:00 p.m. HT).