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Steven McBride with a reception in the second half.

After trailing 17-3 at the half, the University of Hawaiʻi Rainbow Warrior football team held the New Mexico State Aggies scoreless in the second half. A 24-yard Matthew Shipley field goal at the end of regulation gave the Rainbow Warriors a 20-17 victory on September 23 at the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletics Complex. UH improved to 2-3 on the season and the Aggies dropped to 2-3.

Junior quarterback Brayden Schager led the Rainbow Warrior offense throwing for 245 yards, with one passing touchdown and one rushing touchdown. His favorite target was two-time Mountain West Freshman of the Week honoree wide receiver Pofele Ashlock who hauled in seven receptions for a team-high 77 yards. Senior wide receiver Steven McBride added four receptions for 47 yards, and junior wide receiver Koali Nishigaya contributed four receptions for 44 yards and caught Schager’s lone passing touchdown in the fourth quarter.

On the defensive side, senior linebacker Isaiah Tufaga and sophomore defensive back Peter Manuma racked up a team-high six tackles each.

“You see our defense, just fighting and they’re fighting and they’re fighting. And we needed a spark on offense. The boys responded,” Head Coach Timmy Chang said. “That’s what I’m mostly proud of is that they just responded. It wasn’t perfect and they just really stuck together and played together.”

Game script

The Aggies got on the board in the first quarter on a 39-yard touchdown pass to take a 7-0 lead. They tacked on a field goal a few minutes into the second quarter before the Rainbow Warriors scored their first points of the game on a 35-yard Shipley field goal with 5:27 left in the second quarter. New Mexico State added a touchdown late in the half to lead 17-3.

Schager scored UH’s first touchdown of the contest with just over 10 minutes left in the third quarter on a 4-yard run. Nishigaya’s touchdown came with just over seven minutes left in the game to tie it at 17. Then, a huge stop with three minutes left in the game gave the Rainbow Warriors the ball to win it. An 11-play drive ended with Shipley’s game winning field goal as time expired to give UH the 20-17 victory.

Up next

The Rainbow Warriors will now head to the ninth island for their conference opener against UNLV at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The teams are playing for the Island Showdown Trophy, which was created in 2017. Kickoff is set for 10 a.m. HST on September 30.

For more, visit the UH Mānoa Athletics website.

—By Marc Arakaki

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