The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa football team dropped its conference opener at San Diego State University in heartbreaking fashion, falling on a field goal in the final seconds for a 16-14 loss Saturday, October 8 at Snapdragon Stadium.
Trailing 13-7 with San Diego State (3-3, 1-1 MW) driving in the closing minutes, the Rainbow Warrior defense forced a field goal attempt that was missed, giving UH the ball at its own 20-yard line with 4:57 left. From there, UH (1-5, 0-1 MW) marched down the field thanks to a 27-yard run by Tylan Hines and a pair of big completions by Brayden Schager, setting up Dedrick Parson for a 22-yard run to the end zone to put UH in front, 14-13 with 1:19 remaining.
However, the ensuing kickoff went out of bounds, putting the Aztecs at the 35-yard line from where they went 56 yards in seven plays to kick the game-winning 26-yard field goal with seven seconds left.
Game day summary
The two teams traded punts for most of the first half before San Diego State struck first with a field goal with 45 seconds left in the half to go up 3-0.
The Rainbow Warrior defense limited the Aztecs to just 131 total yards, including only 34 yards on the ground. UH pitched a shutout defensively until the final SDSU drive of the half, when the Aztecs drove 36 yards in seven plays to take the lead with a 45-yard field goal.
Offensively, the Rainbow Warriors were able to move the ball but couldn’t quite sustain a drive long enough to put up points. The Rainbow Warriors picked up eight first downs and had a long drive of 52 yards that came in the second quarter, finishing the half with 114 yards of total offense.
The Aztecs stretched their lead coming out of halftime, taking the opening kickoff of the second half and driving 65 yards in seven plays to score the first touchdown of the game. San Diego State quarterback Jaylen Mayden found Jordan Byrd for a 15-yard score to make it 10-0, Aztecs with 10:58 left in the third.
UH responded on the ensuing drive when Schager hit Zion Bowens for a 66-yard touchdown to cut the deficit to 10-7. The scoring strike came on a 3rd-and-13 play and was the Rainbow Warriors’ longest play from scrimmage this season and a career-long pass for Schager.
SDSU started the fourth quarter with a 67-yard drive highlighted by a 41-yard completion, but the UH defense held up in the red zone to force a field goal, making it 13-7, Aztecs with 11:16 remaining to set the stage for the final sequence.
In his first action since the opener against Vanderbilt, Bowens turned in his second career 100-yard receiving game, finishing with 108 yards and a TD on a career-high nine receptions. Parson ran for 70 yards and a score while Hines added 68 yards on eight carries as UH went for 146 yards on the ground.
The UH defense put together a strong effort, allowing just 95 yards on the ground to an Aztec offense that came in averaging 192.2 rushing yards per game. Penei Pavihi and Peter Manuma led the charge with 10 tackles apiece while the ‘Bows ended with a season-high six tackles for loss, including sacks by John Tuitupou and Tariq Jones.
The Rainbow Warriors return home to host Nevada on Saturday, October 15, 6 p.m. at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex.