HONOLULU — The high-powered offense that Hawai‘i has showcased all season got a chance to display its full potential in a 38-21 victory over the UNLV Running Rebels Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.
The Rainbow Warriors amassed 530 yards of total offense against the anemic Running Rebels’ defense to conclude their COVID-19-shortened regular season with a 4-4 record.
“We dominated a team we should dominate. There were lots of positive things, and that is what we wanted to do going into the offseason,” Rainbow Warriors Head Coach Todd Graham said in the post-game press conference. “Now we need to go to work in 2021.”
Rainbow Warriors’ quarterback Chevan Corderio got an opportunity to showcase his versatility against UNLV’s run defense.
The Running Rebels, a team that was searching for its first victory and entered the contest with an 0-5 record, struggled to contain the Rainbow Warriors’ playmakers throughout the game.
On Hawai‘i’s first possession of the game, they took two plays to march 58 yards down the field. On the Rainbow Warriors’ second run from scrimmage, Cordeiro split the Running Rebels defense, scampering for a 54-yard touchdown with 12:36 remaining in the first quarter to give them a 7-0 lead they would hold onto throughout the entire first quarter.
Hawai‘i would score two more touchdowns in the second quarter to increase their lead over one of the Mountain West Conference’s worst teams.
Rainbow Warriors’ running back Dae Dae Hunter expanded Hawai‘i’s lead with a 1-yard touchdown run with 13:27 left in the first quarter.
Rainbow Warriors’ running back Calvin Turner would balloon the lead to 21-0 with a 28-yard touchdown run with 1:45 left in the first half.
The touchdown was answered when Rebels quarterback Max Gilliam connected with Kyle Williams on a 19-yard touchdown pass to give the Rainbow Warriors a 21-7 lead at the half.
Hawai‘i’s offense came out in the second half with a 12-play, 72-yard drive that ended with running back Koali Nishigaya scoring the Warriors’ fourth running touchdown of the game with 13 minutes left in the third quarter.
Nishigaya’s touchdown expanded the lead to 28-7.
UNLV running back Charles Williams culminated a 10-play, 75-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run with 9:34 left in the third quarter to make the score 28-14.
Cordeiro would score his second touchdown of the game with 1:16 left in the third with a 12-yard run to give the Rainbow Warriors a 35-14 lead.
Running Rebels’ Williams responded by scoring his second touchdown with a 49-yard run to make the score 35-21 with 12 seconds left in the third quarter.
Warriors’ kicker Matthew Shipley concluded all scoring with a 44-yard field goal with 3:05 left in the fourth quarter.
“I like the fight our team has, but we have a long way to go to build a championship-caliber football team here,” Graham said.
Saving the best for last
Cordeiro showcased his athleticism in the team’s season finale. He finished with 103 rushing yards on 12 attempts, and completed 22 of 30 passing attempts for 252 yards and one touchdown.
The Rainbow Warriors accumulated 301 rushing yards on 46 attempts, Miles Reed led the team’s attack with 82 yards on 17 carries.
Jason Blasco, reporter, can be reached at 245-0437 or firstname.lastname@example.org.