Hawaii 31, Army 28
WEST POINT, N.Y. -- Rich Ellerson would've taken just one more play by his Army football team.
But his alma mater got it instead.
Scott Enos kicked a 31-yard field goal with 7.3 seconds remaining and Hawaii edged Army 31-28 on Saturday.
The Warriors won after Kamalu Umu forced Black Knights quarterback Max Jenkins to fumble, with Aaron Brown recovering it at the Hawaii 27-yard line with 24.3 seconds remaining.
Trailing 21-0 early in the second quarter, Army (1-1) came back to take a 28-21 lead in the third quarter on a day when West Point paid tribute to first responders on the ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.
"We talked about it all week and Gen. (Ray) Odierno was there and talked with us about it, and just the fact that this day means a lot to a lot of people, us included," linebacker Steven Anderson said.
"It's always nice to have an extra source of power out there, and that was definitely a source."
"Once we start playing the game, we're playing the game, but we're at West Point -- 9/11 is never far from our guys' consciousness," Ellerson said. "Those events, and what those events have led to, our guys are absolutely dialed in to."
Before the winning drive, officials originally ruled that Jenkins was down for a 1-yard rush on third down before video replays overturned the call. Alex Carlton warmed up on the sideline for a potential 44-yard field goal attempt that never came.
"We had chances all the way through," said Ellerson, Army's coach and a former Hawaii player and assistant coach. "When a game comes down to a single play, you got to count all of them. You can't just count the one that catches your imagination at the end. Certainly we need those, but there are a 100 chances."
"Army has played a lot of games like that, right down to the wire," Hawaii coach Greg McMackin said. "To take it back and get the field goal, it's a thrill for our guys. It's great to win a game like that, especially on the road, and I'm really proud of them."
"We need to find another play," Ellerson said. "Every phase of the game had a chance to make a difference. We're not talking about two plays or 10 plays. We're talking about a play. ... We're going to find it. We're going to find that win. If we can get into an uphill fight like that physically, and we can dig a hole for ourselves and battle back like that, we can win some football games."
Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz was 25 for 36 for 343 yards passing. He started the game 17 for 22 for 239 yards and three touchdowns in staking Hawaii to a 21-0 lead less than four minutes into the second quarter.
Kealoha Pilares caught six passes for 104 yards and a touchdown for the Warriors (1-1).
Moniz completed passes of 13 and 31 yards on the winning drive, which was aided by a 15-yard personal foul call against Steven Erzinger.
Army scored four unanswered touchdowns in the second and third quarters to take a 28-21 lead, scoring touchdowns after recovering fumbles on a botched kickoff and a sack in the third quarter.
"I'm proud of how our team took some shots early and bounced back and kept believing and battled," Ellerson said. "That character, in the absence of a little bit of execution, will give us a chance every week we play."
Army got within 21-14 early in the third quarter, and regained possession six seconds later when Hawaii's Mana Lolotai fumbled the kickoff.
Army's Brian Cobbs pounced on the loose ball at the Warriors 24. After reaching the Hawaii 2, the Black Knights took advantage of an illegal substitution penalty against the Warriors in the moments before Alex Carlton was to attempt a 19-yard field goal.
Instead, Army got the ball at the 1 on fourth down, and Malcolm Brown ran in for a touchdown -- his second of the game -- to tie it at 21-21.
"It was more of shifting our mindset, and we realized we had given up 21 points -- it was time to get the ball on the ground and get it back to our offense," Josh McNary said.
Josh McNary sacked Moniz two plays into the Warriors' ensuring series, knocking the ball loose. Marcus Hilton recovered the fumble, and Army later scored on Jenkins' 1-yard run to give Army the 28-21 lead. It was McNary's third sack of the game.
"That's something we really pride ourselves on," Ellerson said. "We know that will get us a chance to win, if we can take the ball away, and frankly, that was probably the only way back into that thing."
Hawaii needed only four plays over 65 yards to tie it at 28-28 on its next possession on Alex Green's 3-yard run.
2022 Mountain West Conference Standings
|San Diego State||5-3||7-6|
|San José State||5-3||7-5|
2022 FBS Independents Standings
|New Mexico State||0-0||7-6|