If you’re an Idaho fan who missed the Vandals’ late-night matchup at Hawaii, well, you didn’t miss many positive developments. Read on for our story.
It was during last year’s Humanitarian Bowl that Robb Akey, during a halftime interview with an ESPN sideline reporter, looked into the camera and told the audience, “Watch the second half — you’re gonna love it.”
Saturday night, the Idaho football coach made a similar plea during a halftime interview with a Hawaii sideline reporter: “Obviously we’ve got a little score to overcome, but don’t count us out?”
At that point, the Vandals were down 31-3. And their night in Honolulu only grew more nightmarish from there.
Hawaii scored touchdowns off four Idaho turnovers and romped to a 45-10 conquest on homecoming at Aloha Stadium.
The Warriors (7-2, 5-0) became bowl eligible with the win — afterward they accepted an invite to the Hawaii Bowl on Dec. 24 — and set up an enticing showdown with unbeaten Boise State next week. The Vandals, meanwhile, dropped to 4-4 and 1-2 in the WAC after a listless final three quarters.
“Not to take anything away from them, but we really shot ourselves in the foot tonight — a lot of missed tackles, busted coverages,” defensive end Aaron Lavarias said.
With five games left — the next two at home against Nevada and BSU — Idaho still must win three more times to have a chance for its second bowl win in two years.
The Vandals led 3-0 and were tied 3-3 with Hawaii before UH scored its first touchdown at the end of the first quarter. The pass from Bryant Moniz to Royce Pollard was set up by Idaho quarterback Nate Enderle’s first interception of the night.
Hawaii rolled from there, but it wasn’t without help from the Vandals.
Perhaps the costliest miscue was tight end Daniel Hardy’s second-quarter fumble, returned for a 57-yard score by Hawaii’s Richard Torres. Hardy caught a short pass in the flat, turned to go up field and was leveled by John-Hardy Tuliau.
Akey challenged the call, arguing that Hardy, who left the game shortly thereafter due to an ankle injury, didn’t have possession. But the play was quickly upheld by officials and UH led 24-3.
The Vandals then had a short field goal blocked by Hawaii, which tacked on another score before the half.
“We feel right now we can play with anybody in the country,” Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said.
UH quarterback Bryant Moniz passed for 326 yards and three touchdowns after a slow start while Enderle was held to 207 yards passing. The Vandals mustered just 35 yards in the third quarter and Enderle went to the sideline before backup Brian Reader led UI’s only touchdown drive of the game.
Now the Vandals, after a grueling road trip, must prepare for Nevada. The No. 24 Wolf Pack waltzed past Utah State 56-42.
When asked about facing Nevada, Akey said he didn’t care which team the Vandals played next — he’s more concerned about playing well for more than a short burst.
“What matters is that this better hurt,” Akey said. “… You know, adversity’s going to hit us all at some point in time. Well, respond to it.”
NOTES — Jordan Johnson played in place of offensive guard Tevita Halaholo for the Vandals. … Deonte Jackson finished with 101 all-purpose yards, but the Vandals mustered just 56 yards rushing as a team. … Idaho was penalized 14 times for 152 yards, including at least six personal foul penalties.