Rainbow Warriors Roll To 52-35 Hawai’i Bowl WinPosted on Dec 27, 2016 in UH Corner
HONOLULU – The University of Hawai’i capped a turnaround 2016 season by winning a thrilling 52-35 shootout over Middle Tennessee in the Hawai’i Bowl Christmas Eve at Aloha Stadium.
A year after finishing with a 3-10 mark, UH (7-7) reached seven wins under first-year head coach Nick Rolovich—its highest total since 2010—and halted a string of five straight losing seasons. The win also snapped a string of three straight bowl losses as UH picked up its first win in the post-season since the 2006 Hawai’i Bowl
They did it rousing fashion scoring a season-high 52 points with big plays coming from all three phases of the game. Most Outstanding Player Dru Brown threw for 274 yards and accounted for five UH touchdowns – four through the air and one on the ground. Junior running back Diocemy Saint Juste paced UH on the ground with 170 yards – a new UH bowl record – and a total that put him over 1,000 yards for the season.
Meanwhile, the Warrior defense played a key role in the win, forcing three turnovers that led to 21 UH points. One of those was a 68-yard interception return by Trayvon Henderson in the second quarter that completed a streak of 28 unanswered points by the Rainbow Warriors.
Middle Tennessee (8-5) came into the game with one of the most potent offenses in the nation and they wasted little time jumping on the Rainbow Warriors. MT racked up 144 yards and two touchdowns on a pair of drives that but them up 14-0 just five minutes into the game.
But after a slow start it was the UH defense that sparked a Warrior resurgence. Ikem Okeke‘s sack and forced fumble, Jalen Roger’s interception, and Henderson’s pick six all played a part in parlaying a 14-0 deficit into a 28-14 lead. The Warriors eventually took a 35-21 advantage into the locker room, setting a new Hawai’i Bowl record for most points in the first half.
Middle Tennessee piled up 542 yards of offense, including 432 yards passing by Brent Stockstill, but would get no closer than 10 points in the second half.
For a complete game recap visit www.hawaiiathletics.com