FRESNO, CALIF. — University of Hawai‘i quarterback Chevan Cordeiro remains a perfect 5-0 as a starter as he orchestrated a 34-19 season-opening victory over Fresno State with his arm and his legs.
Cordeiro led a Rainbow Warriors’ rushing attack that dominated an over-matched Bulldogs’ defensive front line, and the statistics prove it.
Cordeiro was a statistical double-take, carrying the football for 116 yards on 13 carries and scoring two touchdowns on the ground.
The Warriors accumulated a total of 323 rushing yards with four touchdowns, including a 53-yard run in the longest rush of the game.
After Fresno State running back Ronnie Rivers scored the first touchdown of the game on a 7-yard touchdown jaunt with 11:34 remaining in the first quarter, the Warriors’ quarterback answered with a 20-yard touchdown run of his own with 4 minutes left in the first quarter to even the score at 7-7.
Warriors’ placekicker Matthew Shipley extended the lead 10-7 in the second quarter.
The Bulldogs quickly answered Shipley’s field goal when quarterback Jake Haener connected with Juan Rodriguez for an 18-yard touchdown pass with 1:50 remaining in the first half.
Cordeiro would answer by scoring with a 3-yard touchdown run with 27 seconds remaining in the first half to give the Rainbow Warriors a 17-13 lead at halftime. It was a lead the Rainbows wouldn’t relinquish.
Hawai‘i would get two critical touchdowns from running back Calvin Turner that would allow them to secure the win.
Turner, who scored on a 2-yard rush with 6:18 left in the third quarter, gave the Rainbows a 24-13 lead, and later scored on a 4-yard run with 4:52 left in the game that would seal the victory and give them a 34-19 lead to conclude all scoring.
The Bulldogs’ place-kicker Ceasar Silva hit two field goals, one with 3:41 left in the third quarter, after the Hawai‘i defense prevented the Bulldogs from scoring as they reached the 5-yard line.
Silva hit another field goal with 10:13 left in the fourth quarter, and that was all the scoring an overwhelmed Bulldogs’ team could generate.
The University of Hawai‘i run game was the star of the show, as the Warriors generated 34 points without throwing a single touchdown pass.
Miles Reed finished with 109 yards rushing on 21 carries, and Calvin Turner averaged 7.5 yards per carrying, rushing 60 yards on eight carries and scoring two touchdowns.
Dae Dae Hunter also rushed for 43 yards on eight carries.
A good first impression
Rainbow Warriors’ new head coach Todd Graham, whose last stint was as Arizona State University’s head coach from 2012 to 2017, applied a conservative approach, as opposed to a run-and-shoot-style offense, by sticking to the ground game.
Graham will now hope to win his second consecutive game as they will travel Saturday to play the University of Wyoming at 3:45 p.m. Hawai‘i time.