After struggling to finish games for most of the season, Hawaii concluded tonight at the Ching Complex with a 31-25 win over UNLV in the home finals.
Brayden Schager’s 55-yard touchdown pass to Zion Bowens put the Warriors ahead late in the third quarter, and Dedrick Parson’s 34-yard touchdown at 2:51 in the fourth quarter gave UH enough cushion to celebrate a senior night win and to make a four-game losing streak.
Schager rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns and Parson rushed for 115 yards with 19 carries in his last home game to help UH recapture the Island Showdown Trophy.
The Warriors overcame two fumbles in the fourth quarter to complete a Nevada Schools sweep of the Mountain West Conference and improve to 3-9 overall and 2-5 in conference play. They will wrap up Timmy Chang’s first season as head coach next week at San Jose State.
UNLV quarterback Doug Brumfield passed for 288 yards and a touchdown and rushed for 55 yards, but the Rebels (4-7, 2-5) dropped their sixth straight. The Rebels finished the game with 427 yards of offense against UH’s 369 yards, but the Warrior defense forced UNLV to settle for four field goals from Daniel Gutierrez. A try in the fourth quarter hit the post when the Rebels’ comeback attempt fell short.
>> PHOTOS: Hawaii vs UNLV
UNLV took the opening kickoff and drove to UH 1 before the Warriors stuffed Aidan Robbins for a two-yard loss. Andrew Choi and John Tuitupou combined a Brumfield sack to force UNLV to settle for a 27-yard field goal.
The Warriors responded with a nine-play 80-yard drive and took the lead.
The teams traded punts until UNLV put together another nine-play drive, which added two third-down conversions in UH territory. Brumfield scrambled 17 yards in third and fourth to put the Rebels on the UH 12. After the Rebels picked another first down on the 1, Brumfield rolled right and turned in a pass
Schager went 4-on-4 on third-down shots in the first drive of the second half, the final conversion coming with an 11-yard touchdown pass to Caleb Phillips. Matthew Shipley’s extra point gave UH a 14:13 lead at the 10:40 mark of the third quarter.
Brumfield led UNLV to the UH 20 late in the third quarter and had a touchdown pass and a scramble around a first down that was wiped out by penalties holding. Still, the Rebels recaptured a 16-14 lead through Gutierrez’s 42-yard field goal.
It took UH just two games (including a personal foul call against UNLV) to jump back in front. Bowens got behind the UNLV secondary and ran down a deep ball from Schager for a 55-yard touchdown, and UH went into the closing stages with a 21-16 lead.
UH linebacker Logan Taylor came up with his first interception of his career when the ball bounced off a dive receiver into his hands. UH took over at UNLV after the call was confirmed following a review. Shipley’s 30-yard field goal extended the Warriors’ lead to 24-16 with 12:17 remaining.
After Gutierrez’s 44-yard field goal attempt hit the post, the Rebels defense took the lead when Adam Plant Jr. Schager took the ball and Elijah Shelton fumbled into the end zone. The 2-point conversion pass was incomplete and UH retained the lead.
The Warriors gave the ball away again when Tylan Hines lost a fumble that UNLV recovered on his 20. UH safety Peter Manuma interrupted a fourth-place pass at the UNLV 45 and Parson broke through the middle for a 34-yard touchdown that gave UH a 31-22 lead with 2:51.
UNLV had Gutierrez kick a 40-yard field goal in third to make it a one-score game with 1:08 left. But Jordan Murray bounced back from an onside kick for the second time and Parson grabbed a first down on his last carry to allow UH to time out.