Hawaii finally gets a break from the Pac-12 on Saturday night as the Warriors look to secure their first win of the season. FCS-member Northern Iowa comes to town for its second game of the season after losing 31-23. Live updates from tonight’s game will follow below.
Northern Iowa gets the ball first but is three and out as inside linebacker Simon Poti hits quarterback Sawyer Kollmorgen twice in three plays.
Running back Steven Lakalaka picks up 9 and 12 yards on his first two carries but UH has to punt after quarterback Ikaika Woolsey is sacked on third down by Isaac Ales and Ronelle McNeil. Panthers take over at their own 13. Two solid runs to start for Lakalaka and then UH goes away from him for three plays in a row.
UNI trying to pound away with David Johnson at running back. Third down and a bad snap sends the ball toward the end zone. It’s loose and Beau Yap recovers it in the end zone. Touchdown Hawaii. UH 7, UNI 0, 10:19, Q1.
Strong start for the UH D, which is back on the field. Defensive back Gaetano Demattei with a tackle for a loss but the Panthers pick up a first down as Ne’Quan Phillips is called for a pass interference. Billy Williams runs a cross over the middle on third down that goes for 58 yards. Panthers first-and-goal at the 6. Taz Stevenson makes a touchdown-saving tackle at the goal line on second down. Play is reviewed and stands as called. Third-and-goal from the 1. Kollmorgen sneaks it in over the right side. Touchdown Panthers. Killer third-down play for the UH defense on the pass to Williams. UH 7, UNI 7, 6:38, Q1.
Keelan Ewaliko with a nice 32-yard return on the kickoff. Showed some burst which is nice to see on a kickoff for UH. Lakalaka with two runs for 7 yards to make it third-and-3. Woolsey rolls out to the right and is incomplete. Three-and-out for UH. Looked like his first option was open there. Harding punt is downed at the UNI 11.
Hawaii gives up a first down but forces a punt. Third-and-7 and UH rushes through while dropping 8. Pass out of the backfield to Johnson is stopped well short. Nice bounce-back series for the D. Harding fair catches at the UH 35.
Hawaii with a third-and-1 after two Lakalaka runs and a killer false start penalty is blown on Dejon Allen. Woolsey rolls left now and his throw is incomplete as UH will punt again after another three-and-out. Bad punt off the side of Harding’s foot and UNI takes over with good field position at its own 40.
Tight end Braden Lehman is slow to get up after getting drilled by three different UH guys. First quarter ends with UNI facing third-and-12 at midfield. Poti, Stevenson, Yap standing out on D for UH so far. Woolsey is 0-for-3 passing. Lakalaka averaging over 6 yards a carry on six carries.
UNI receiver burns DB Jalen Rogers deep down the sideline on third-and-long but the pass is overthrown. Poti saved a touchdown there getting to the quarterback just in time to hurry the throw. Hawaii takes over on the 16.
Woolsey’s first pass is dropped by Harold Moleni. Deep ball down the sideline is caught by Marcus Kemp. Great deep ball from Woolsey puts the ball at the UNI 39 after a 50-yard completion. Reverse to Ewaliko is good for 17 yards. Key third-and-7 from the 17. Pass to Ammon Barker in the end zone is low. UH has to settle for a field-goal try. Tyler Hadden is good from 36 yards. UH 10, UNI 7, 12:48, Q2.
Panthers go three-and-out as Dee Maggitt makes a great play on the ball on third down to break up the pass.
UH gives it right back on a three-and-out. 5-yard completion on first down to set up the run but Dominique Small is stuffed on third-and-1 on a very slow developing run.
Injury update for UH: Steven Lakalaka (shoulder). His return is probable. LB Tevita Lataimua (right foot) is done for the game.
Meanwhile UH fakes the punt and Lakalaka is back in running for a first down. Now a fumble by Small on the next play and the Panthers recover. DB Tim Kilfoy with the big hit to force the fumble and McNeil on the recovery. UNI ball first-and-10 on the UH 42 as Small was shaken up on the play.
Big three-and-out for UH as Shawley and Poti again come up with big stops. UH dodges a bullet as the Panthers punt. UH takes over on its 20.
UH goes deep on the first play. Woolsey scrambles right and hits Harding on a 52-yard bomb down the sideline. Career-long reception for Harding. Now a 15-yard comeback rout to Quinton Pedroza for another first down. Inside the red zone. Wheel rout to Moleni for a 15-yard touchdown pass and just like that, huge momentum swing. Panthers go from great field position to giving up an 80-yard TD drive in four plays. First career TD pass for Woolsey. UH 17, UNI 7, 6:37, Q2.
Charles Brown with a 48-yard kick return for the Panthers to put the ball on the UH 48. Long pass is broken up by Maggitt, who has played well. Jeremy Castro busts through the line with his speed and sacks Kollmorgen for a big loss. Third-and-19 and UNI calls timeout. Pass is complete but short of the marker and the Panthers punt. UH ball at the 20.
Woolsey’s first TD pass came on throw No. 132. Three straight incomplete passes as Kemp drops what should have been a first down. Hawaii punts with 5:05 remaining in the half.
UNI makes a switch at QB. In comes senior Brion Carnes who looks like more of a runner. Option keeper on the first play for 11 and a first. QB draw picks up 5 yards on the next play. Phillips breaks up a slant on third down and UNI will try a 52-yard field goal. Panthers call timeout and decide to punt. Ball is downed on the 1.
UH goes pass first and Woolsey is complete to Kemp for 7 yards to get some breathing room. Pedroza with a dangerous pass over the middle but Pedroza snags it for 11 yards. UH with a 2-minute drill and Woolsey is effective, completing an 8-yard pass to Moleni for another first down. OL Sean Shigematsu is down on the play but is able to get up and slowly walk off. Kemp with a big catch on third down to move the chains. After a timeout, Barker gets wide open deep but Woolsey overthrows him by a good 5 yards. Third-and-6 and tight end Justin Vele gets a 7-yard reception for another first down. Fourth-and-3 on the UNI 41 with 32 seconds left and UH goes for it. Woolsey is sacked by Adam Reth and the Panthers take over.
UH goes soft on defense and Brett LeMaster makes two big catches to give the Panthers a field-goal try. 41-yard field goal by Michael Schmadeke is good and UH gives away three at the end of the half but leads 17-10.
David Johnson 11 carries, 31 yds
Sawyer Kollmorgen 9-15, 144 yds
Brett LeMasters 3 rec, 32 yds
Steven Lakalaka 11 carries, 47 yds
Ikaika Woolsey 12-24, 193 yds, TD
Marcus Kemp 3 rec, 65 yds
Hawaii receives to start the second half. Only a 22-yard return by Ewaliko, but he just has the look. Good burst, stop-and-go speed, tough. I think UH has its kick returner. Bad start for UH which is flagged twice and goes three-and-out. Fortunately for UH, Harding delivers a career-long 64-yard punt. UNI backed up on its 18.
First run goes for negative yards as Kennedy Tulimasealii busts through the line to make a tackle in the backfield. UNI with a three-and-out of its own.
Harding with a nice punt return inside Panthers territory at the 41. Lakalaka converts a fourth-and-1 with a 4-yard run. Hawaii runs twice for negative-11 yards however and is forced to punt. Harding boots it out of bounds at the 6.
Game has slowed to a crawl. Panthers to start with a pass over the middle that Williams drops or else it would have been a big gain. UNI calls for a screen right where UH blitzs a corner and a big play possibility instead goes for nothing as Poti makes a great tackle. Rogers breaks up a catch on third down and UNI will punt. Two great individual plays on defense by the Warriors.
Another three-and-out for UH as the Warriors are back to looking abysmal on offense. UNI ball on the 20. Punters are the busiest guys on the field right now.
Now UNI with a three-and-out. UH defense keeping Hawaii in front. Monster games by Poti and Tulimasealii. UH ball on its 42 and UH makes a QB change.
Jeremy Higgins in at QB. Four-yard completion on his first throw and Lakalaka with a spin move to pick up 8 for the first down. UH playing with a little energy all of a sudden. Drive ends however as confusion between receivers results in an incomplete pass. Hawaii downs the punt at the 1. I like UH’s chances in a punting contest.
Northern Iowa will punt from its own 4. I am tired of writing the word punt. Line-drive punt and Harding returns it up to the 30. UH better get points here.
Handoff to Lakalaka who goes in the hole, bounces out to the left and there’s nobody there. Thirty yards to the end zone. Touchdown Hawaii. Career-long run for Lakalaka, who gives UH a 24-10 lead with :37 seconds left in the third quarter.
UNI opens up with a 25-yard pass to LeMaster. Third quarter is over. Punt count for both teams combined is 19.
Fourth quarter begins with a 19-yard completion to Charles Brown. Kevin Vereen Jr. with a step but the ball is overthrown for what could have been six. Screen pass to Johnson for 17 puts the ball on the UH 11. Vereen Jr. hauls in a 9-yard touchdown pass and the Panthers answer to make it 24-17 with 13:16 to go.
UH takes over on the 20. Big third down and Higgins throws complete to Barker for 15 yards. Higgins seems to get the ball out quicker on his reads. Makes up for arm strength. Now UH goes with three straight runs and Lakalaka is stopped on third down. Hawaii will punt. Feel free to start second-guessing the play calling there.
Harding with his ninth punt of the game and UNI takes over on its 19.
Lakalaka with his second 100-yard game in his career. 24 carries for 104 yards. Panthers with the ball. Shawley with another hit on the QB. He has played well tonight. Third-and-9 for NIU. TJ Taimatuia with a hurry and it’s way incomplete. Good stop for the UH defense.
Hawaii ball first-and-10 at its 41. Attendance is 21,750.
UH runs twice for 3 yards and its now third-and-7. Higgins misses Barker over the middle and it’s a three-and-out. Punt No. 22 overall and 10 for UH coming up. Hawaii is now 3-for-17 on third downs.
UNI first-and-10 at the 23. Johnson with a 12-yard reception for a first down. UH has held Johnson to 48 yards on 16 carries. Two bad throws and now the Panthers will punt.
Hawaii has ran the ball on every first-down play in the second half and does it again as Lakalaka picks up 2. A Saint Juste run makes it third-and-4. Another series of two runs to set up a third down UH hasn’t been able to convert. Some confusion before the play and it’s another three-and-out.
Harding with another rugby punt and it’s off the punt returners leg. Phillips recovers and UH has the ball first-and-10 on the 20. UH with another dive up the middle for no yards and the boos erupt from the stands. Now UH with a false start.
Third-and-8 form the 18 and Hawaii runs a dive up the middle to lose a yard. Playing for the field goal and Hadden is in. A 37-yard field goal sneaks through the uprights and Hawaii is ahead 27-17 with 3:19 remaining.
Tight deadline tonight so I’ve got to head down to the field. Final score will be updated.
UNI touchdown on an 11-yard pass play from Kollmorgen to RB Darrian Miller with 1:56 left, plus PAT kick, makes it 27-24 UH.
Onside kick coming up from Northern Iowa.
Harding recovers for UH.
Big first down on a pass play from Higgins to Vele. 1:22 left and counting.
UH opts against taking a knee on the ensuing play. Lakalaka carries up the middle and fumbles, but UH recovers.
UH hangs on to win, 27-24.