Ground game propels BYU over Hawai’i 30-20
HONOLULU – A season-high 285 yards rushing propelled BYU football to a 30-20 win over Hawai’i Saturday at Aloha Stadium.
"It’s something we can build off of," BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. "The goal was to win this game for the seniors and create something we can build on for next year. I thought a lot of young guys stepped up and I’m looking forward to those guys in the offseason."
BYU had 451 yards of total offense and a season-high 285 yards rushing. Squally Canada ran for 113 yards on 17 carries – all in the first half, including 99 yards in the first quarter. He scored two touchdowns in a game for the first time in his career and had over 100 yards for just the second time. Austin Kafentzis added 98 yards on 18 carries while Riley Burt had 13 carries for 75 yards.True freshman quarterback Joe Critchlow completed 14 of 23 passes for 166 yards and one touchdown.
Corbin Kaufusi led the Cougar defense with six tackles and two tackles for loss. He also had one sack, forced fumble and pass breakup. Zayne Anderson blocked a PAT and had two tackles. Fred Warner finished his BYU career with five tackles.
BYU put points on the board during its first possession, driving 85 yards down the field in 2:33. Canada had three carries for 68 yards on the drive, including a 40-yard touchdown run. Kicker Rhett Almond hit the extra point to give the Cougars a 7-0 lead with 12:27 on the clock.
Late in the first quarter, Critchlow was sacked and fumbled at the 42-yard line. Hawai’i’s Solomon Matautia recovered the ball returned it to the end zone as the Rainbow Warriors evened the score, 7-7 with 4:42 left in the quarter.
Critchlow connected with wide receiver Jonah Trinnaman on a critical fourth-and-12 for a gain of 18 yards, setting up Canada’s second touchdown of the game. Canada then rushed for two and four yards on separate carries and scored on the latter as BYU regained the lead early in the second quarter, 13-7, but missed the PAT.
After defensive lineman Merrill Taliauli recovered a fumble to thwart Hawai'i's drive, Almond missed a 26-yard field goal wide left with two seconds left in the first half, sending the teams into the break with BYU up 13-7.
Both teams remained scoreless for much of the third quarter. Matt Bushman caught a 37-yard pass, energizing the BYU offense. A few plays later, Critchlow found fellow freshman Neil Pau’u for an 11-yard touchdown pass with 1:39 left in the quarter. Andrew Mikkelsen’s extra point was good as the Cougars extended their lead, 20-7.
Hawai’i recovered a fumble on a punt return 25 yards from the end zone to conclude the third quarter. The Rainbow Warriors capitalized on the turnover, scoring on a 15-yard pass with 12:23 in the fourth quarter. BYU’s Anderson blocked the extra point, the first blocked kick of his career, maintaining the 20-13 score.
Mikkelsen sent his first career field goal 35 yards through the uprights to put BYU up 23-13 with 6:21 on the clock to give the Cougars a two-score edge.
Riley Burt ran 11 yards untouched into the end zone for his first career touchdown with 3:46 left, increasing the BYU’s advantage, 30-13. Burt had two carries during the three-play drive for 32 yards.
Hawai’i responded with a touchdown of its own two minutes later on a three-yard pass to trail 30-20 with 1:48 to go.
BYU recovered the onside kick and was able to run out the clock to secure the victory in the final game of the year.