Despite out-gaining the Rebels 417-296 for the game, Hawaii sealed its fate with six turnovers, which included three first-half fumbles and three second-half interceptions. Hawaii dropped to 1-2 on the season with the loss.
Timmy Chang, who finished 37-of-61 for 363 yards, was hot early. The junior quarterback threw two touchdowns, one a 38-yard bomb to Britton Komine and the other an 8-yard strike to Chad Owens, to give UH a 14-7 lead five minutes into the second quarter.
But UH turnovers and penalties began to build up. The Rebels (3-1) took advantage of a myriad of Warrior miscues and parlayed them into 17 points. A mishandled snap on a punt in the first quarter and two Warrior fumbles in the second quarter resulted in two Rebel touchdowns and a field goal.
UNLV took a 21-14 lead when tailback Dominique Dorsey broke free for a 36-yards touchdown run. Another UH fumble late in the first half set up the Rebels for a 20-yard field goal and a 24-14 lead at the break.
UNLV added a field out of the locker room, but Hawaii struck back with a quarterback shuffle. Chang took the Warriors down the field and See Poumele handled the red zone duties. Poumele found a seam on the left side and scored his first career touchdown on a 7-yard run. UNLV blocked the PAT attempt but backup quarterback Jason Whieldon snagged the pigskin and took it into the endzone to cut the Rebel lead to 27-22.
UH, however couldn't capitalize on its new-found momentum. UNLV took a 33-22 lead into the fourth quarter on 45- and 43-yard field goals by Pieffer. The Warrior defense stepped up with a batted ball by Isaac Sopoaga that landed in the arms of defensive tackle Lui Fuga, giving Hawaii the ball at the Rebel 21-yard line. But the Warriors came up empty when Justin Ayat missed a 35-yard field goal wide left. Despite playing brilliantly for much of the game, Chang was unable to lead a comeback, as three drives were stalled by Rebel interceptions.
The Warriors return to Honolulu to prepare for the WAC opener against Rice, Sept. 27 at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.