HONOLULU, Sporting Alert – Cole McDonald threw four touchdown passes and Hawaii escaped with a 45-38 win over Arizona in a college football opener on Saturday.
Cedric Byrd was also impressive on the night, pulling down four touchdown passes to help the homes side hold on at Aloha Stadium.
McDonald Good and Not So Good
McDonald completed 29 of 41 passes for 378 yards, but was intercepted four times. He threw three TD passes to Byrd and found JoJo Ward with a 39-yard pass before being replaced by Chevan Cordeiro in the third quarter.
Cordeiro ended with 5 of 7 for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Byrd caught scoring tosses of 7 and 25 yards in the first half to help Hawaii build a 21-7 lead in the second before the senior wide receiver took catches of 35 and 30 yards in the second half.
“I mean, I feel like the coaches did a great job of preparing us to read their defense and then everything they prepared us for, they came out and ran it, so it was easy to read what they were in,” Byrd said.
Tate Impressed For Arizona
Arizona’s Khalil Tate went 22 of 39 on completed passes for 361 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. The senior also rushed for a team-high 108 yards on 13 runs.
After trailing 14-0 late in the first quarter and trailed 28-21 at halftime, the Wildcats roared back to tie the game at 35 when Tate found Stanley Berryhill III late in the third quarter with a 21-yard TD pass.
However, Hawaii took the lead again on Ryan Meskell’s 34-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and then held on at the end.
“We did some really, really good things at times on offense, defense and special teams and we did some awful things,” Arizona coach Kevin Sumlin said.
“When you get out on the road, you can’t get down 14 points and come running back and then have some other plays that just were inconsistent, so for us to be a better team, our consistency and level of consistency across the board needs to be better,” he added.
Arizona will play hosts to Northern Arizona on September 7, while Hawaii will host Oregon State on the same day.