By Kyle Galdeira
Utah State leaned on its grinding run game, and amassed 426 yards on 54 carries as the 18th-ranked Aggies rushed past Hawai‘i 56-17 in a Mountain West Conference matchup Saturday night on Hawaiian Financial Federal Credit Union Field at Aloha Stadium.
The Aggies (8-1, 5-0 Mountain West) won their eighth consecutive contest and relied on its two-headed rushing machine of Darwin Thompson (141 yards on 13 carries) and Gerold Bright (121 yards on 16 carries) as the backs notched three rushing scores apiece. Utah State quarterback Jordan Love threw a touchdown pass and ran for a score before leaving the game in the second quarter after suffering an apparent injury.
With the loss, the Rainbow Warriors dropped their third consecutive game and fell to 6-5 and 3-3 in Mountain West Conference play.
Sophomore quarterback Cole McDonald led Hawai‘i with two touchdowns and 331 yards through the air, but completed just 18 of his 45 pass attempts, including two that were intercepted. John Ursua hauled in three catches for 78 yards and his 15th touchdown reception of the season.
“When you point one finger, you have three pointing back at you,” said UH receiver Devan Stubblefield, who caught three passes for 55 yards and a score. “It is late in the season, and teams are starting to game plan for the way we run the offense, but it shouldn’t affect the way we execute. For the state of Hawai‘i, we want everyone to know that we’re going to come out here week after week and give it everything we got.”
Hawai‘i freshman defensive back Khoury Bethley led the squad with a game-high nine tackles.
“Well, that wasn’t that fun. Utah State is a good football team, and there’s a reason they’ve won eight straight games,” said Hawai‘i coach Nick Rolovich. “We haven’t been able to run the ball very well, and we can’t afford to drop balls, especially those down the field that have the potential to go for big plays.
“We’re looking at two opportunities to get bowl eligible (against UNLV and San Diego State to end the regular season); this has been a tough month,” Rolovich added. “We’ve got to get off blocks and tackle. We’re not seeing an improvement in that area. On the flipside, we can’t be under three yards per carry and have Cole getting knocked on his butt every time he drops back to pass.”
(Photos by Andrew Lee / Hawaii Media Source)