McDonald throws for 418 yards, three TDs as UH wins season opener 43-34
By ARNIE STAPLETON
The Associated Press
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Cole McDonald led the University of Hawaii football team to its first win in Fort Collins since 1988, picking apart Colorado State’s secondary in a 43-34 win over the Rams on Saturday after the Rainbow Warriors nearly blew a 30-point lead.
McDonald threw for 418 yards and three touchdowns, including a 55-yarder to Cedric Byrd that made it 37-7.
With his counterpart, Washington graduate transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels, throwing for 537 yards and five touchdowns, McDonald and the Rainbow Warriors had to fend off a furious Rams rally.
It included a four-play, 99-yard scoring drive and a 9-yard TD toss to Izzy Matthews that pulled CSU to 40-34 with 4:42 remaining.
The Rams didn’t try an onside kick after that, and Tristin Kamaka’s fair catch at the Hawaii 13 gave the Rainbow Warriors the ball at their 25 thanks to a new NCAA kickoff rule.
McDonald hit John Ursua for 10 yards on third-and-3 at midfield with a couple minutes left, and Ryan Meskell’s 35-yard field goal with 44 seconds left sealed it.
McDonald, who beat out Saint Louis School graduate Chevan Cordeiro for the starting job, also ran for 96 yards and two touchdowns.
He and receiver Cedric Byrd set school records for most yards in a UH debut, McDonald with his 418 passing yards and Byrd with his 181 receiving yards.
Byrd caught 11 passes, including a 55-yard strike for a touchdown. John Ursua had seven catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite a delay of game call to start the game, the Rainbow Warriors (1-0, 1-0 Mountain West) were nearly unstoppable, scoring on all but one of their first-half possessions in taking a 23-7 lead into the locker room on the way to their first win at CSU since Sept. 10, 1988.
The Rams (0-1, 0-1), coming off a third straight bowl appearance, figured to be ahead of the Rainbow Warriors, who were coming off a 3-9 season, but missing coach Mike Bobo for much of the two weeks leading into their opener apparently took its toll in the first half.
Bobo spent 10 days in the hospital for peripheral neuropathy after experiencing numbness in his feet. He called offensive plays from the coaches’ box.
The Rainbow Warriors start their home slate next Saturday, when they host Navy at Aloha Stadium.
Hawaii 10 13 14 6–43
Colorado St. 7 0 13 14–34
HAW–Ursua 4 pass from C.McDonald (Meskell kick), 10:02
CSU–O.Johnson 10 pass from Carta-Samuels (Bryan kick), 5:26
HAW–FG Meskell 21, 1:18
HAW–C.McDonald 12 run (pass failed), 11:32
HAW–C.McDonald 6 run (Meskell kick), :28
HAW–Ursua 19 pass from C.McDonald (Meskell kick), 8:48
HAW–Byrd 55 pass from C.McDonald (Meskell kick), 3:35
CSU–P.Williams 7 pass from Carta-Samuels (Bryan kick), 2:20
CSU–O.Johnson 58 pass from Carta-Samuels (pass failed), :08
CSU–P.Williams 26 pass from Carta-Samuels (Bryan kick), 8:15
HAW–FG Meskell 30, 6:42
CSU–Matthews 9 pass from Carta-Samuels (Bryan kick), 4:42