‘Bows eke out rare win at San Diego State

Linebacker Scheyenne Sanitoa (41) celebrated with teammate Kendall Hune against San Diego State. / Photo by Victor M. Posadas, Special to the Star-Advertiser

How about that?

For the first time since 1989, Hawaii football beat San Diego State in a conference game. And for the first time since 1988, the Rainbow Warriors did it in San Diego.

A dramatic game of see-sawed emotions ended with UH topping the Aztecs 31-30 in overtime when backup quarterback Ryan Agnew’s fade-route pass attempt went long on a 2-point conversion.

UH concluded the regular season at 8-5 (5-3 Mountain West) thanks to a born-again effort from redshirt sophomore Cole McDonald. McDonald, who gave way to Chevan Cordeiro in UH’s comeback win over UNLV last week, got the start on the road and played well from start to finish.

He threw for a career-high 452 yards on 29-for-46 passing with three touchdowns — including the go-ahead points to JoJo Ward on a lob in overtime — and no interceptions.

The UH defense should be commended as well, as it attained several stops and allowed the ‘Bows to carry a 24-17 lead into the fourth quarter. A questionable pass interference call helped allow the Aztecs to tie it up.

After Ward’s touchdown from McDonald in OT made it 31-24 UH, the Aztecs scored on their first play — Juwan Washington weaved in from 25 yards way too easily. But SDSU coach Rocky Long went for the gutsy 2-point conversion in OT after kicker John Baron II was wide right on a 32-yard field goal that would’ve won it at the regulation horn for the Aztecs (7-5, 4-4).

Receivers Cedric Byrd (six catches, 140 yards, TD), Ward (six catches, 120 yards, TD), and Marcus Armstrong-Brown (seven catches, 87 yards, and a key drive-sustaining overtime catch on third and 12 that may not have actually been a catch) rose to the occasion at San Diego County Credit Union Stadium.

It was a stunning outcome; UH was a 17.5-point underdog.

Here’s UH’s updated all-time wins at San Diego State:
>> UH 13, SDSU 0, Nov. 15, 1939
>> UH 28, SDSU 10, Oct. 24, 1981
>> UH 32, SDSU 30, Oct. 15, 1988
>> UH 31, SDSU 30, OT, Nov. 24, 2018

So where do things stand as far as the UH quarterback situation going into UH’s bowl game (Hawaii Bowl or otherwise)? Very good question. Both Cordeiro and McDonald have now played exceptionally well in their last respective outings. Good luck to coach Nick Rolovich on that one.

He could conceivably start the more experienced McDonald in the bowl game, and if he’s hot, let him ride it out. But Cordeiro will be right there to play if necessary, as he can see action in one more game and still maintain his redshirt year.

University of Hawaii Quarterback Cole McDonald scored a touchdown past San Diego State safety Parker Baldwin. / Photo by Victor M. Posadas, Special to the Star-Advertiser


  1. H-Man November 24, 2018 11:58 pm

    30 years since last win at San Diego. Hard to imagine. I would say it took some luck and a defense that really stepped up. 8-5 season. Congrats to players and coaching staff

  2. H-Man November 24, 2018 11:59 pm

    Oh yeah, who should start in the bowl game — Cole.

  3. 808WarriorFan November 25, 2018 1:57 am


  4. Savich November 25, 2018 4:55 pm

    heh! Better than you.

  5. Savich November 25, 2018 4:59 pm

    What about 1985? They played San Diego State that year. 48,000 fans showed up. They went 6-4 that year. At Aloha Stadium. Did they win that game?

  6. Savich November 25, 2018 5:04 pm

    This year 2018, they didn’t crack the mark at 40,000 fans in attendance. All of the games were under 30,000 fans. Really bad. 50,000 seats at Aloha Stadium.

  7. amela November 25, 2018 8:33 pm

    Hawaii wins by 18.5 points, awesome victory. Is Savich for real?

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