From the desk of Tim Harkins
The Wyoming Cowboys and Hawaii Rainbow Warriors will play for the 24th time when they kick off Saturday at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. The two teams will be competing for the Paniolo Trophy for the 23rd time. Saturday’s game is scheduled to kick off at 10 p.m., Mountain Time (6 p.m., Hawaii Time) from Honolulu.
Wyoming enters Saturday’s game with a 2-3 overall record and an 0-1 record in the Mountain West Conference. Hawaii is 5-1 and 2-0 in the Mountain West. The Cowboys early schedule featured five consecutive teams who all earned postseason bids a year ago in New Mexico State, Washington State, Missouri, Wofford and Boise State. Boise State was ranked 25th in the country when the Cowboys played them last week and are 24th in this week’s Amway Coaches Poll. Washington State, Missouri and Hawaii are all receiving votes in this weeks Associated Press Media Poll.
While Hawaii is the Cowboys first opponent this year who didn’t play in postseason last year, the Rainbow Warriors come into this week with five victories in their first six games. Hawaii's five wins have come on the road at Colorado State, at home over Navy, Rice and Duquesne and on the road last week at San Jose State in a five overtime win. The Rainbow Warriors one loss came on the road at Army.
Cowboy running back Nico Evans returned to action last week against Boise State after missing the last 2 1/2 games due to injury. The senior picked up right where he began the season, rushing for over 100 yards. Evans rushed for 141 yards against Boise State, including a 75-yard touchdown run to begin the second half. He averaged 11.8 yards per carry on 12 carries.
The Los Angeles native recorded his first 100-yard rushing game in the Cowboys’ season-opening win at New Mexico State. Evans rushed for 190 yards vs. NMSU, averaged 7.9 yards per carry and scored two rushing TDs of 24 and 56 yards. He had rushed for 89 yards against Washington State in the second game of the season, before he was injured on the first possession of the third quarter. Despite missing those games, Evans ranks among the Mountain West and nation’s leaders in total rushing yards, ranking No. 4 in the MW and No. 30 in the NCAA with 420 yards. His four rushing touchdowns also ranks him No. 7 in the conference and No. 57 in the nation.
Media Coverage of Saturday’s Wyoming-Hawaii Game
Saturday’s game will be broadcast on radio over the 26 affiliate stations of the Cowboys Sports Network, beginning with the pregame show that will begin at 9 p.m., Mountain Time on Saturday.
Television coverage for Fans Living Outside Hawaii will be available on the FREE STADIUM APP. Fans may download the Stadium app for Apple (Stadium on iOS) or Android (Stadium on Android). The app is available on phones or tablets. When prompted, allow location services. Tap button that says "Go Directly to Stadium". Tap button in bottom right for "Live Events". Find the Hawai‘i game and watch live.
For Fans Living in Hawaii games will air on the Spectrum Sports pay-per-view package. Call 808-643-2100 to order the package.
Recent Overtime Battles
The last meeting between Wyoming and Hawai’I in 2017 was a key conference opener for both the Cowboys and Rainbow Warriors. The Cowboys prevailed, but it took overtime before the Pokes would capture a 28-21 home win.
A 25-yard touchdown pass from junior quarterback Josh Allen to junior wide receiver James Price on the first play of overtime gave the Cowboys the lead at 28-21. On Hawai’i’s first possession of overtime, UH quarterback Dru Brown attempted a pass on second down that was tipped by Wyoming redshirt freshman defensive end Garrett Crall and intercepted by sophomore linebacker Cassh Maluia to give the Cowboys the victory.
Special teams also played a critical role in the game as sophomore cornerback Tyler Hall ran back a kickoff 97 yards to tie the game at 14-14 late in the third quarter.
Since the Wyoming-Hawai’i series was renewed in 2013, two of the three meetings between the two schools have gone to overtime. In addition to the 2017 overtime win by the Cowboys, the 2013 game in Laramie also went to OT. The 2013 game featured an offensive explosion. Cowboy quarterback Brett Smith passed for 498 yards and ran for 142, totaling 640 yards of total offense. He threw seven touchdown passes and ran for one. Hawai’i QB Sean Schroeder matched Smith through the air as he passed for 499 yards and tossed six TD passes. Cowboy place-kicker Stuart Williams kicked a 36-yard field goal in the first overtime to give Wyoming a 59-56 victory.
The Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors are coming off a five-overtime victory at San Jose State last week. Hawai’i and San Jose State ended regulation tied at 31-31. Each team matched scoring plays through the first four overtimes. Finally in the fifth overtime period, Hawai’i would convert their possession into a 35-yard field goal to take a 44-41 lead. San Jose State would commit a false start penalty and suffer a quarterback sack on its final possession. The Spartans were forced to attempt a 47-yard field goal which missed to give the Rainbow Warriors the road victory.
Wyoming and Hawai’i first played each other in football back on Nov. 18, 1978, with Hawai’i winning that first meeting in Honolulu by a score of 27-22. The Paniolo Trophy has been a part of the series since 1979. In the second year of the series, a group of Hawaiian residents, with roots in Wyoming, donated a statuette of a Cowboy preparing to toss a lariat. At the time the traveling trophy was introduced to the rivalry both schools were members of the Western Athletic Conference, as Hawaii joined the WAC in 1979.
Wyoming leads the Paniolo Trophy series with 14 wins to Hawaii's eight victories. The overall series is led by Wyoming 14-9, when including Hawaii's win in the inaugural 1978 game.
The traveling trophy was named the Paniolo Trophy due to the fact that Paniolo is the Hawaiian word for Cowboy. For the next 19 years, from 1979 to 1997, the two teams competed for the Paniolo Trophy. After Wyoming’s 35-6 win in the 1997 meeting in Honolulu, the series between the two schools ended. Due to the rotating schedule of the then 16-team WAC, Wyoming and Hawaii weren’t scheduled to play in 1998. In 1999, Wyoming joined the Mountain West Conference. The series was interrupted for 15 years.
When Hawaii was invited to join the Mountain West Conference, beginning in 2012, the two schools began discussion of a renewal of the Paniolo Trophy competition. But over that 15-year timespan the Paniolo Trophy was lost, which became a story in itself. Each school searched for it, but it was not to be found.
Enter a new group of Hawaii fans to continue the tradition. The Paniolo Preservation Society, a group dedicated to preserving Hawaii's rich Cowboy heritage, proposed a new trophy. Led by the Society’s President, Mrs. Patricia C. Bergin, a bronze maquette, featuring Hawaiian native Ikua Purdy roping a wild stag bull, was donated to the two schools in 2013 to mark renewal of the series. Purdy became the first Hawaiian inducted into the National Rodeo Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1999. The bronze is a reproduction of a larger work by noted western sculptor Fred Fellows. The reproduction measures approximately 20” long and 12” high.
The series was renewed in 2013, when Hawaii joined the Mountain West as a football playing member school. Wyoming recorded a 59-56 victory in the first overtime in Laramie in 2013. Hawaii won in 2014 in Honolulu by a score of 38-28. In 2017, the Cowboys and Rainbow Warriors played another overtime game, with the Cowboys winning 28-21 in the first overtime.