Braden Taylor | Posted: 14 Oct 2018 | Updated: 7 Aug 2023

BYU wins Homecoming game against Hawai'i

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PROVO, Utah — BYU racked up 474 total offensive yards on its way to scoring a season-high in points in a 49-23 win over Hawai'i during Homecoming at LaVell Edwards Stadium.


“I’m happy about the result; a lot of guys contributed,” BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. “There are some things we can work on, but we got out of the slump of not playing our style of football for the past couple weeks.”

The 474 yards is the most for BYU since earning 598 yards against San Jose State in 2017. The Cougars also set a season high in rushing yards with 280 and had four players score on the ground. Matt Hadley had a career night with 95 yards on 10 attempts and a game-high 39-yard rush while also scoring his first touchdown. Lopini Katoa gained 79 yards on 15 attempts and a score and Riley Burt rushed for 59 yards on nine attempts and a score.

Zach Wilson made his first career start at quarterback for BYU, throwing for 194 yards and three touchdowns while also contributing a score with his feet. Wilson involved nine different receivers in the passing game with Aleva Hifo leading the team with three receptions for 45 yards and one touchdown. Wilson hooked up with Gunner Romney for a touchdown for the second week in a row on a 26-yard pass while tight end Dallin Holker pulled in a 12-yard reception for his first collegiate score.

The defense recorded a season-high four sacks. Austin Lee recorded his first career interception and Dayan Ghanwoloku recovered a fumble off a muffed punt return.

1st Quarter

After Hawai'i punted on its opening drive, Wilson and the BYU offense put together an 87-yard opening drive that was capped off by a 12-yard touchdown run by Lopini Katoa.

The BYU defense forced another Hawai'i punt with the help of an 11-yard sack from Khyiris Tonga. The Cougars marched down the field and went up 14-0 after Wilson scored from 23 yards out.

  • First career start for Zach Wilson at quarterback and the youngest player ever to start at quarterback for BYU (19 years, two months)

  • Akile Davis had a 16-yard reception, his longest of the season

2nd Quarter

The Cougar defense forced a turnover on downs at their own 46-yard line. Six plays later, Hadley broke a 21-yard run to the outside to score his first career touchdown and bring the score to 21-0.

The Warriors scored their first points of the game off a 33-yard field goal to cut the lead to 21-3. The Hawai'i defense then forced the Cougars to punt on the ensuing drive. However, Austin Lee intercepted McDonald the next play and returned it 36 yards. The BYU offense capitalized on the turnover on its first play of the drive with Dallin Holker catching a 13-yard bullet from Wilson, extending the lead to 28-3 at the half.

  • First career touchdown for linebacker-turned-running back Matt Hadley

  • First career interception for defensive back Austin Lee

  • Largest first-half lead of the season for BYU at 25 points

  • Most points in the first half since BYU had 31 on Nov. 12, 2016, against Southern Utah

  • First time BYU’s defense has three sacks in a game this season and first-career sack for Isaiah Kaufusi

3rd Quarter

Hawai'i held the Cougars to a three-and-out to start the second half. The Warriors converted a 4th-and-2 from the 5-yard line to extend their drive and set up Dayton Furuta’s 1-yard score, closing the gap to 28-10.

Dayan Ghanwoloku recovered a muffed punt return at the Hawai'i 35-yard line. Riley Burt rushed the ball five-straight times, scoring a 3-yard touchdown on his fifth touch to put BYU up, 35-10.

McDonald led Hawai'i down the field, completing six of his seven pass attempts for 56 yards. McDonald capped off the 69-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Dayton Furuta.

  • Most points in a game for BYU since 41 against San Jose State last year

4th Quarter

Hadley helped the Cougars advance down the field by running the ball four times in a row for 22 yards. Hifo then caught a short pass before breaking it to the outside for a 24-yard score, giving BYU a 42-17 advantage.

Corbin Kaufusi recorded his second sack of the game after getting to McDonald for a 6-yard loss. McDonald linked up with John Ursua three times on the drive for a total of 54 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown. The Warriors failed their two-point conversion after Isaiah Kaufusi caught the Hawai'i runner in the backfield making the score 42-23.

On the ensuing drive, Hadley burst down the middle of the field for a game-high 39 yards to highlight the drive for the Cougars. BYU scored its seventh offensive touchdown of the game when Romney pulled in a 26-yard throw from Wilson to put BYU up 49-23.

Hawai'i failed to convert on fourth down on its final drive, giving BYU the ball to run the clock out.

  • The 49 points are the most for BYU since the team had 51 against UMass on Nov. 19, 2016

  • 474 is the most total yards for BYU’s offense since it had 598 against San Jose State last year

Young guns blazing

BYU started six freshmen against Hawai'i, with five on the offensive side of the ball alone. The freshman scoring tandem of Wilson and Katoa led the Cougars to their most prolific opening period of the season, going up 14-0 early on the Rainbow Warriors. In total, the freshmen offensive players accounted for four touchdowns on the night, or 28 of the Cougars’ 49 points.

It was a night of firsts for the freshmen, with Dallin Holker catching his first touchdown pass and Wilson running for his first touchdown as a Cougar. Lopini Katoa and Gunner Romney both reached new career highs in yardage, with Katoa going for 83 total and a long run of 16, and Romney going for 39 total and a long catch of 26, which also happened to be a touchdown.

Defense is spelled K-A-U-F-U-S-I

Cousins Corbin and Isaiah Kaufusi combined for 15 total tackles on the night, including three of the Cougars’ four sacks in the game. Corbin is the first Cougar with two sacks in a game since Sione Takitaki had two against Portland State last year. Isaiah had one sack himself, along with two pass breakups and a forced fumble in his first start as a Cougar.

The Cougars have a bye week next week before continuing their homestand against Northern Illinois at LaVell Edwards Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 27. Audio broadcasts will be available on BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2) and KSL (1160 AM/102.7 FM). Television and kick time details are yet to be announced.

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