Bizarre BYU Season Capped Off With Loss In Wild Hawaii Bowl

Dec 24, 2019, 11:13 PM | Updated: 11:18 pm

Bizarre is the one word that comes to mind when summarizing the 2019 BYU Football season. On Christmas Eve, BYU concluded their season with a loss to the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors, 38-34.

With the loss, BYU ends the season with a 7-6 record and like many of the losses this season, the Cougars will look back on the Hawaii Bowl and nitpick the missed opportunities.

Those missed opportunities are magnified in the second half. Hawaii’s offense jumped on BYU early getting out to a 14-0 and held a 31-24 lead at the halftime break. Rainbow Warrior quarterback Cole McDonald passed for 331 yards in the first half. But BYU kept battling and didn’t give up.

BYU’s defense made adjustments and held Hawaii to (-4) total yards in the third quarter. But the Cougar offense only scored seven points in that quarter. One of BYU’s offensive drives started on the Hawaii 34 yard-line and the Cougars came up scoreless after quarterback Zach Wilson had a controversial fumble at the goal line.

BYU couldn’t finish the job in the fourth quarter

In the fourth quarter, BYU opened the final frame with a Jake Oldroyd 20-yard field goal that gave BYU its first lead of the game at 34-31 with 14:37 remaining. Then Hawaii’s offense came back to life, but the Warriors continued to leave the door open for BYU to put the game away.

BYU had their own missed field goal by Oldroyd that looked at first glance to go through the uprights, but officials said it was no good.

Two possessions later BYU still had their 34-31 lead with 4:07 remaining in the game. The Cougars had the opportunity to close it out and give Kalani Sitake his third consecutive bowl win in as many appearances, but they couldn’t get it done. On 3rd & 2, Wilson threw a pass intended for wide receiver Micah Simon that went into the Aloha Stadium turf. BYU was forced to punt, giving the ball and all the momentum back to Hawaii.

As he did so many times earlier in the game, McDonald took a shot downfield and found a wide-open Nick Mardner for a gain of 38 yards. One play later, McDonald found Mardner again for a 24-yard touchdown that put the Rainbow Warriors up for good.

BYU’s final drive showed promise as they moved into Rainbow Warrior territory but it concluded with a Wilson pass that was intercepted by Hawaii’s Khoury Bethley.

Aloha means a disappointing loss for the Cougars.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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