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Hawai’i Rainbows turn Houston Cougars red in two touchdown upset

The Bows win their first bowl game on the mainland since 1992.

Hawaii Warriors running back Dae Dae Hunter makes a reception against Houston Cougars during the first half at Toyota Stadium.  Tim Flores-USA TODAY Sports

The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors forced three turnovers and quarterback Chevan Cordeiro threw for three touchdowns in a 28-14 upset of the Houston Cougars on Thursday in the New Mexico Bowl held at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas

Hawai’i (5-4) closed as a seven-point underdog in a game that opened -13.5 for Houston, but the Cougars had plenty of players miss the final game of the year.

Cordeiro was just 15-23 for 136 yards, but threw for three touchdowns without an interception, and added a 52-yard scamper as part of The Bows 34 carries for 134 yards on the ground.

After holding a 21-0 lead, Houston (3-5) cut it to 21-14 with a 26-yard pass from starting quarterback Clayton Tune to Christian Trahan with 3:45 left in the third quarter. But on the ensuing kickoff Hawaii’s Calvin Turner ran it back 92 yards for a touchdown to take back a two touchdown lead. It would be the last points of the game for either team.

Tune picked up the interception issues he’s had throughout his career, throwing for 20-38 for 216 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off three times. It adds to the questions around Dana Holgorsen’s program as he enters Year 3 with the Coogs in 2021.

Hawai’i won their first postseason game in the Continental United States since the 1992 Holiday Bowl, a 27-17 win over Illinois.