For the second time in as many games against an FBS opponent, the University of Central Arkansas football team found itself down early.
The Bears rallied as they did in the opening week against Western Kentucky, but this time the hole was too deep in a 35-16 loss to Hawaii on Saturday in Honolulu.
UCA (3-1) trailed Western Kentucky by 14 points on two separate occasions before rallying for a 35-28 victory on Aug. 29. Hawaii doubled the size of UCA's obstacle, scoring 28 unanswered points in less than 22 minutes of game clock.
After the Bears recovered a fumble at their own 31 on the opening drive, quarterback Breylin Smith threw a pick-six that was returned 55 yards for a Rainbow Warriors' lead.
Hawaii (3-1) scored again on its next possession, moving 63 yards in seven plays. Cole McDonald's 5-yard touchdown pass to JoJo Ward expanded the lead to 14-0 with 1:52 left in the first quarter.
UCA gained 2 yards on three plays, and a 32-yard punt and 15-yard kick interference penalty on the Bears set Hawaii up at the UCA 44. Four plays later, McDonald found Jared Smart for 16 yards and a 21-0 advantage.
After gaining 21 yards, UCA punted again. McDonald completed all 4 of his passes on a 7-play, 77-yard drive that was capped by Cedric Byrd's 13-yard touchdown reception to put Hawaii up 28-0 with 7:53 left in the first half.
The Bears answered with 16 consecutive points of their own.
Running back Carlos Blackman's 49-yard run took UCA to the 9, and on third and goal Blackman found Sam Camargo for a 4-yard touchdown connection. Hayden Ray's extra point was blocked, but he would atone with a 35-yard field goal just before half as UCA pulled within 28-9.
The teams each failed to score on their first two possessions of the second half, but then UCA put together its most impressive drive. The Bears strung together six plays in a row that gained between 5 and 12 yards, setting them up with a second and 3 from the Hawaii 23. Smith handed the ball to Blackman, who raced the 23 yards for a touchdown as UCA pulled within 28-16 with 12:18 to go.
UCA regained possession at its own 35 after Isaiah Macklin recovered Miles Reed's following a 21-yard run.
The Bears reached the Hawaii 48 on a 9-yard pass from Smith to Lujuan Winningham, but an offensive hold derailed the drive and forced a punt.
The Rainbow Warriors took over with 10 minutes left and burned 6:33 off the clock on a 12-play, 89-yard drive that resulted in a touchdown to put the game away.
McDonald was 25-of-32 passing for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns for Hawaii, which outgained UCA 413-335 in total yards.
Blackman finished with 17 carries for 147 for the Bears, who came in ranked No. 12 in the FCS Coaches poll. Smith completed 28 of 51 passes for 185 yards and 1 interception. Winningham had eight catches for 53 yards.
Print Headline: UCA's rally falls short against Hawaii