Navy’s Slow Start Sinks Opener in Hawaii

Cole McDonald threw for 428 yards and six touchdowns on 30-of-41 passing and Hawaii used a quick start en route to a 59-41 win over Navy on Saturday night.

The Rainbow Warriors (2-0) scored on their first six possessions and racked up 522 total yards, while the Midshipmen (0-1) dropped their first season opener since 2014.

John Ursua (10 catches for 167 yards), Cedric Byrd (11 for 90) and JoJo Ward (6 for 161) each caught two touchdown passes from McDonald.

Freddy Holly III’s 1-yard TD run, the first of his career, gave Hawaii a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

After Navy turned it over on downs on its ensuing drive, Ward pulled down a 34-yard scoring strike from McDonald five plays into the second quarter on fourth-and-4.

Later in the quarter, on fourth-and-1, McDonald faked a handoff to Holly before lofting a deep pass down the right sideline to a wide-open Ursua, who had his seventh game with at least 100 receiving yards.

That stretched the lead to 35-7, but Navy answered with Malcom Perry’s 75-yard TD run one play later.

Ryan Meskell’s 23-yard field goal on the final play of the first half closed out a 24-point second quarter for Rainbow Warriors and gave them a 38-14 lead at the intermission.

Navy scored twice — on a pair of Zach Abey TD runs — in a span of 85 seconds midway through the third quarter to pull within 38-28, but McDonald tossed a 31-yard TD pass to Byrd early in the fourth to make it a 17-point cushion.

Abey scored on runs of 3, 1, 7 yards and 2 yards and Perry rushed for 108 yards on 17 carries.

Navy had 441 total yards, including 326 rushing.

Hawaii is now 3-1 all-time against Navy. All three of its wins in the series have come in Honolulu.


Navy: Hawaii’s 436 passing yards were the third most allowed by a Navy defense in the Ken Niumatalolo era.

Hawaii: A return to the run and shoot offense has proven to be a fruitful one. After averaging 402.7 yards and 22.8 points per game a season ago, the Rainbow Warriors are averaging 51 points and 569.5 yards through their first two games this year. They previously ran the run and shoot for 13 seasons and consistently ranked among the nation’s leaders in passing offense and scoring.


Navy: The Midshipmen open American Athletic Conference play Saturday when they host Memphis. They have not started a season with consecutive losses since 2012.

Hawaii: The Rainbow Warriors will look for its first 3-0 start to a season since 2007 when they host Rice Saturday.

-Via Navy Athletics

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