Hawaii outlasts Colorado in late-night football dominated by sloppiness


A bizarre tone enveloped this game since it kicked off at 1 a.m. ET, while much of the country slept. It ended nearly four hours later -- around 11 p.m. on the Islands, 3 a.m. in Boulder and 5 a.m. on the East Coast -- on an even more eccentric note, when the clock expired as officials tried to set the ball for Colorado on the Hawaii 8-yard line.

Final score: Hawaii 28, Colorado 20.

The Buffs were driving in an attempt to tie the game, but running back Phillip Lindsay fell before reaching the first-down marker after catching a Sefo Liufau pass, so the clock kept ticking. There was a struggle to spot the ball -- it even bounced off a Hawaii player as officials tossed it among themselves to spot it -- and Liufau screamed in frustration as the clock ran out.

This last deluge of sloppiness was only the final act in a comedy of errors that saw five turnovers, a blocked punt and unsteady offensive play on both sides of the ball. In the end, Hawaii -- led by former USC quarterback Max Wittek, who was making his first start in three years -- delivered bigger plays on the offensive end to secure the victory.

What this means for Hawaii: Notching a win here was of critical importance for the Warriors, simply because of the opponents looming in front of them. A trip to defending national champion Ohio State is next for Hawaii, while games at Wisconsin and Boise State also await this month. So success is vital for morale's sake. It also exacts revenge for last year's result, a 21-12 Colorado win in Boulder.

What this means for Colorado: There's been talk of the Buffs' improvement in year three of the Mike MacIntyre era, but this loss represents a severe blow to Colorado's 2015 bowl hopes. The Pac-12 South journey is treacherous, so Colorado would have been well-suited to finish nonconference play at 4-0 so that it could reach the seven wins necessary for bowl eligibility. This loss -- and the Buffs' sloppiness in it -- pushes the dream of bowl eligibility to "extremely unlikely" territory. The Buffs face UMass next.

Player of the game: Hawaii receiver Markus Kemp. He delivered six big catches for 116 yards, including the game's most impactful play, a 79-yard third-down catch and score from Wittek. That touchdown featured a broken tackle in the open field. Some of Kemp's other catches were highlight-reel material, as he soared high into the air to snatch Wittek's bullets.

The game turned when: Hawaii's Keelan Ewaliko blocked Colorado punter Alex Kinney after the Buffs went three-and-out on their first possession. That put the Warriors in position for a quick touchdown and they led from that point on. More significantly, the blocked punt set a tone of sloppiness that plagued both teams: A television halftime analyst even admitted that this game was "not for the faint of heart." Another one lamented the "cacophony of errors" at Aloha Stadium. As illustrated by the hectic final sequence, all the mistakes proved most damaging to Colorado -- so we'll consider their initial gaffe to be this game's turning point.