WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) — Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald received all the headlines heading into Saturday’s game at Army.
McDonald led the nation with 1,165 passing yards and 13 touchdown passes for a Hawaii offense that averages 48 points per game.
But, it was Kelvin Hopkins, who shone in Army’s 28-21 win. The junior quarterback rushed for two first-half touchdowns and a career-high 110 yards as Army knocked off unbeaten Hawaii (3-1). Hopkins completed 6-of-10 passes for 162 yards, becoming the first Army quarterback in 30 games to rush for 100 yards and pass for 100 yards.
“It’s a team game and I just wanted to do my part,” Hopkins said. “It comes down to moving the ball, getting first downs and getting the win. It’s just playing for the team, trying to make as many plays as possible to put our team in a position to win the game.”
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Linebacker Cole Christiansen broke up McDonald’s pass in the end zone with 54 seconds left to seal Army’s ninth straight win at Michie Stadium. Army (2-1), which sacked McDonald three times, held off Hawaii’s last gasp in the final minute. The Black Knights’ consistent pressure caused McDonald to rush some throws.
“Getting pressure was key,” Christiansen said. “That quarterback is not used to having guys in his face. He’s great. Their offense was fantastic. We just prepared really well this well this week and that’s why I think we played well.”
Hopkins scored a pair of 1-yard touchdown runs to give Army a 14-7 lead with 12:54 left in the first half. The quarterback’s second touchdown was the first time that Hawaii had trailed in a game this season.
Junior fullback Connor Slomka added a career-long 48-yard touchdown in the second quarter. Darnell Woolfolk’s 3-yard touchdown extended Army’s advantage to 28-14 with 9:07 left.
Hawaii opened the game with a quick strike. McDonald capped a five-play, 75-yard drive with a 12-yard touchdown pass to John Ursua. McDonald and Ursua would connect again in the fourth quarter and an 80-yard scoring strike for the receiver’s seventh touchdown of the season.
McDonald finished 20-for-32 for season-low 321 yards and two touchdowns.
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“Hats off to them (Army), they came at us hard,” McDonald said. “But, we also kind of shot ourselves in the foot, penalties, dropped ball, bad reads on my part, bad throws. Things that we have to clean up if we want to have an efficient, high-octane offense.”
Hawaii, which arrived from a 5,000-mile, cross-country trek Wednesday in the New York area, dropped to 2-11 in games played in the Eastern Time Zone. The Rainbow Warriors won 31-28 in their last visit to Michie Stadium in 2010.
Hawaii: Hawaii’s passing attack started off quickly as McDonald completed four of his first five passes on the Rainbow Warriors’ first drive and moved the ball in the fourth quarter. But, Hawaii struggled to convert on third down, making 1-of-7 chances.
Army: The Black Knights are no longer a one-dimensional running team with Kelvin Hopkins at the helm. Army, the nation’s rushing leader in 2017, has surpassed its passing total of 361 yards through four games. Hopkins has thrown for 420 yards this season.
Army plays at No. 4 Oklahoma next Saturday
Hawaii hosts Duquesne next Saturday
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