Tops surge to 49-17 late-night road victory over Hawaii

Here's a look at the WKU Football team's first-half action in its 49-17 win over Hawaii.
Published: Sep. 4, 2022 at 3:33 AM CDT
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HONOLULU, Hi. (WBKO) - WKU is 2-0 for the first time since 2015.

The Tops can boast about their hot start after a fashionably late 49-17 victory over the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the program’s first-ever matchup in Honolulu.

After boasting their air-raid offense with new quarterback Austin Reed, the Tops instead found strength in their run-game Saturday night and Sunday morning. Three rushing touchdowns and 141 yards rushing from three runners combined, including Reed, helped WKU trail away in the second half.

Hawaii tried to capitalize on early miscues by the Tops after freshman Upton Stout fumbled the Tops’ opening punt return which led to a Rainbow Warriors field goal less than two minutes into the game.

That 3-0 lead would be the only time the Rainbow Warriors led all game. Two drives later, B.J. Wagner gave WKU the ball back with an interception late in the first quarter. Reed turned that into WKU’s first points of the game with a short 5-yard touchdown to big-target receiver Dalvin Smith for a 7-3 lead seconds into the second quarter.

The defense continued favoring the Tops in the first half. Senior linebacker Juwuan Jones tipped and picked off a pass that he took 38 yards to the house for a pick-six that gave WKU a 14-3 lead with 11:36 left in the first half.

Dedrick Parson’s touchdown on Hawaii’s next drive cut his Rainbow Warriors’ deficit to four, but Reed answered that with a 47-yard flea flicker-turned touchdown strike to tight end Josh Simon who dragged multiple defenders into the end zone with just under three minutes left in the half. That gave WKU a 21-10 lead at halftime.

Kaleb Oliver picked off Hawaii for the third time on the night in Hawaii’s opening drive of the second half. That turned into 17-yard touchdown pass from Reed to Jaylen Hall to pad WKU’s lead, 28-10.

A trio of fourth-quarter rushing touchdowns from Kye Robichaux, Reed and Davion Ervin-Poindexter shut the door on any hopes of a Hawaii comeback. Oliver added another pick to his stat line. WKU finished the night with five interceptions and a forced fumble.

Reed posted a stat-line akin to his debut as a Hilltopper against Austin Peay, throwing for 271 yards, three touchdowns and an interception on 22-31 passing. Daewood Davis led the Tops in receiving with five catches on 71 yards receiving.

WKU will take a much-needed bye week break next week before prepping to hit the road once more, this time to face Indiana on September 17 at 11 A.M. C.T.