Following Hawaii’s 31-28 victory over Oregon State, quarterback Cole McDonald proclaimed the start of the “Joe Era.”
It was in tribute to right wideout JoJo Ward, who caught 10 passes for 189 yards and four touchdowns.
Today, the Mountain West recognized that performance, honoring Ward as the Offensive Player of the Week. It is the second week in a row a UH receiver has claimed that award. Right slotback Cedric Byrd caught 14 passes, including four for touchdowns, in the Rainbow Warriors’ Aug. 24 opener against Arizona.
“It’s a blessing,” Ward said of the MW honor. “Anybody in this offense — and this defense — could get player of the week. In this offense, anybody can have a great day.”
Against Arizona, Ward was targeted three times. Against Oregon State, Ward was the primary target on 14 throws.
“There were different schematics (in the OSU game) that allowed another position to get some of those deep-threat opportunities,” head coach Nick Rolovich said. “He took advantage of it.”
Ward, a senior from Waco, Texas, joined the Warriors a few days before the 2018 training camp. Despite not having a spring-ball experience to learn the offense, Ward caught 51 passes for 865 yards and nine touchdowns in 14 games last season.
“I thought in the offseason, he’s taken his knowledge of the offense, his comfort with the offense, to another level,” Rolovich said.
As a Monday tradition following a UH football victory, made-to-order omelets are served to all student-athletes as part of the training-table plan. Ward enjoyed breakfast, then focused on schoolwork and this week’s road trip to Seattle.
“I’m going to attack the offense this week and get ready for Washington,” Ward said.