Byrd’s four touchdown catches lead UH over Arizona
Rainbow Warriors hold on for 45-38 victory despite six turnovers
By KALANI TAKASE
The Associated Press
HONOLULU — Cedric Byrd is developing quite the knack for fast starts.
Senior wide receiver hauled in four touchdown passes to help the University of Hawaii football team escape with a 45-38 win over Arizona on Saturday at Aloha Stadium.
The Rainbow Warriors (1-0) never trailed, saw three separate 14-point leads erased and overcame six turnovers to record their first win over the Wildcats (0-1) in six tries.
Byrd caught scoring passes of 7 and 25 yards in the first half and added TD grabs of 35 and 30 yards after halftime. He finished with career highs of 14 receptions for 224 yards to eclipse his previous career high of 11 catches for 181 yards and a touchdown in a season-opening win at Colorado State last year, which doubled as his UH debut.
“I mean, I feel like the coaches did a great job of preparing us to read their defense and then everything they prepared us for, they came out and ran it, so it was easy to read what they were in,” Byrd said.
Byrd averaged 16 yards per catch against the Wildcats.
“He’s fast,” Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin. “I mean, really fast and he got deep on us more than a couple times and he’s got great quickness, he’s hard to tackle — he’s a good player — but they exploited us when we got into some man-to-man and he became the deep guy, I mean, he was running right by us, so he’s a good player.”
Arizona evened the score at 35 with Khalil Tate’s 21-yard TD pass to Stanley Berryhill III late in the third quarter, but Hawaii took the lead for good on Ryan Meskell’s 34-yard field goal with 10:39 left to play.
Tate passed for 361 yards and three touchdowns on 22-of-39 passing with two interceptions. He also rushed for a team-high 108 yards on 13 carries.
Hawaii used two quarterbacks in the win. Starter Cole McDonald completed 29 of 41 passes for 378 and four touchdowns, but was intercepted four times. Redshirt freshman Chevan Cordeiro replaced McDonald in the third quarter and finished 5-of-7 for 58 yards and a touchdown.
“Well, you really shouldn’t win a football game when you turn the ball over that much, so that’s why a lot of credit, I think, goes to the defense,” Hawaii coach Nick Rolovich said.
The Wildcats had a chance to tie on the final play, but Tate scrambled all the way to the Hawaii 1-yard line before he was tackled by Kalen Hicks and Manly Williams to end the game.
“We did some really, really good things at times on offense, defense and special teams and we did some awful things and when you get out on the road, you can’t get down 14 points and come running back and then have some other plays that just were inconsistent, so for us to be a better team, our consistency and level of consistency across the board needs to be better,” Sumlin said.
Jace Whittaker recorded two of Arizona’s four interceptions. Colin Schooler had a team-high nine tackles and a fumble recovery.
Hicks totaled nine tackles, including six solo stops and a pass breakup to lead the Rainbow Warriors defensively.
“Obviously the turnovers kept this game close. I think our defense did a fine job. They really stuck together when that thing got close,” Rolovich said. “There could have been a time when we fell apart multiple times and then kept believing in each other, kept believing in the process.”
The Rainbow Warriors have a bye this week before facing its second of three straight Pac-12 opponents to open the season when it hosts Oregon State on Sept. 7.
Arizona 0 21 14 3–38
Hawaii 14 14 7 10–45
HAW–Byrd 7 pass from McDonald (Meskell kick), 9:22
HAW–Ward 39 pass from McDonald (Meskell kick), 4:54
ARI–Wolma 14 pass from Tate (Havrisik kick), 14:23
HAW–Byrd 25 pass from McDonald (Meskell kick), 9:50
ARI–Tilford 1 run (Havrisik kick), 8:00
ARI–Joiner 27 pass from Tate (Havrisik kick), 1:48
HAW–Byrd 35 pass from McDonald (Meskell kick), :28
HAW–Furuta 3 run (Meskell kick), 11:02
ARI–Taylor 24 run (Havrisik kick), 4:23
ARI–Berryhill 21 pass from Tate (Havrisik kick), :51
HAW–FG Meskell 34, 10:39
HAW–Byrd 30 pass from Cordeiro (Meskell kick), 5:02
ARI–FG Havrisik 53, 3:53
First downs 27 31
Rushes-yards 32-178 30-159
Passing 361 436
Comp-Att-Int 22-39-2 34-48-4
Return Yards 44 74
Punts-Avg. 5-32.8 1-39.0
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 10-88 7-54
Time of Possession 22:04 37:56
RUSHING–Arizona, Tate 13-108, Taylor 14-67, Wiley 3-3, Tilford 1-1, Cunningham 1-(minus 1). Hawaii, Furuta 5-42, Reed 9-40, Cordeiro 5-34, McDonald 6-21, Holly 4-19, Byrd 1-3.
PASSING–Arizona, Tate 22-39-2-361. Hawaii, McDonald 29-41-4-378, Cordeiro 5-7-0-58.
RECEIVING–Arizona, Joiner 4-72, Cunningham 4-65, Berryhill 3-92, Wiley 3-50, Casteel 3-31, Dixon 2-13, Wolma 1-14, Taylor 1-13, Brightwell 1-11. Hawaii, Byrd 14-224, Sharsh 8-52, Smart 6-68, Ward 4-70, Phillips 1-18, Furuta 1-4.
MISSED FIELD GOALS–None.