The Arizona Wildcats lost to Hawaii 45-38 in the season opener Saturday at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu. Here are some pertinent notes, quotes and statistics:


* Hawaii defeated Arizona for the first time in six tries. The Wildcats had been 3-0 in Honolulu.

* The Rainbow Warriors won despite turning the ball over six times. They hadn’t had six turnovers in a game since 2013. They hadn’t won a game with six turnovers since 2006.

* The last time Arizona had six takeaways was Sept. 10, 2016, vs. Grambling State. The Wildcats won that game 31-21.

* Arizona allowed 595 yards. Only one UA opponent eclipsed that total last season: Washington State, which had 605 yards on Nov. 17. Only one other team, Houston, topped 500 yards against Arizona in 2018.

* The Wildcats recorded their first and only sack on the Rainbow Warriors’ last offensive series. That was also the only UH drive that ended in a punt.

* UA quarterback Khalil Tate passed for more than 300 yards and rushed for more than 100 in the same game for the first time in his career. He did previously rush for 300-plus and pass for 100-plus (Colorado, 2017).

* Arizona tailback J.J. Taylor’s 15 offensive touches (14 rushes, 1 reception) were his fewest since Oct. 12, 2018, at Utah, a game the Wildcats lost 42-10.

* Hawaii QB Cole McDonald passed for 378 yards and four touchdowns but also threw a career-high four interceptions, becoming the first UH quarterback to throw four picks in a game since 2013.

* UA cornerback Jace Whittaker matched his career high of two interceptions, first set in 2017 against UCLA.

* Arizona’s Lorenzo Burns and Tony Fields II each recorded his first interception since 2017. Fields’ was the second of his career.

* UA redshirt-freshman receiver Jamarye Joiner scored his first career touchdown on a 27-yard reception in the second quarter. His four catches for 72 yards also were career bests.

* Six Wildcats made their first career starts. Hawaii also had six first-time starters.


UA coach Kevin Sumlin on the loss: “We were very inconsistent tonight. That’s what we’ve been talking about for the last two weeks. In all three phases, we did some really, really good things at times … and we did some awful things. When you get out on the road, you can’t get down 14 points. For us to be a better team, our level of consistent play across the board has to be better.

Sumlin on the consistency issue: “We’ve gotta go back to work. We had this discussion in here: We had some great plays, and then some that don’t make any sense. That means I’ve gotta do a better job. It starts with me. Guys (also) gotta pay attention to details. It’ll end up costing you close games, just like it did today.”

Sumlin on Arizona committing three penalties while attempting a field goal in the fourth quarter: “I gotta be careful how I say it, because you're talking about penalties and things like that, but there was some simulation of snap count that was going on, particularly (targeting) a new player like (freshman) Jordan Morgan. They said they couldn't hear it – the officials couldn't hear it. That's happened before. But obviously there was a real problem with what was happening there. I can only tell you what he (Morgan) said.”

Sumlin on Tate’s last-second run that came up 1 yard short of the end zone: “Well, we had a conversation on the sideline. The way the rule works, just to remind him, if it was under three seconds, you can't spike the ball and get another play. You’ve got 10 seconds. You’ve got two plays if we get a quick one on the sideline. We didn't get it, and he took off. It was all or nothing at that point. It was a really good effort. It was a good effort by them.”

Tate on the impact of the loss: “It was important for us. It was Game 1. We wanted to win. We came up short. Luckily, this happened early in the season. We have time to (become) more consistent – get those extra few yards that we need.”

Taylor on the loss and what Arizona can get out of it: “It’s disappointing. But we’ve got a bunch of guys that are ready to come back next week and grind. … Learn from our mistakes. Improve. Get better.”

Whittaker on picking off two passes but losing the game: “You put the team first. We came out here to win. That’s what we put all the work in to do is win. So it’s on to the next one.”


* Hawaii had 31 first downs; Arizona had 27.

* Each team averaged 7.6 yards per play.

* Arizona committed 10 penalties for 88 yards; Hawaii had seven for 54.

* Hawaii possessed the ball for 37 minutes, 56 seconds; Arizona had it for 22:04.

* Hawaii converted 5 of 10 third downs (and 2 of 3 fourth downs). Arizona went 3 of 11.

* Hawaii’s average starting field position was its 34-yard line; Arizona’s was its 28.

* Tate led all rushers with 108 yards on 13 attempts.

* Junior-college transfer Tayvian Cunningham had four catches for 65 yards in his UA debut.

Stanley Berryhill III had three catches for a career-high 92 yards and a touchdown.

* Hawaii’s Cedric Byrd II had 14 catches for 224 yards and four TDs – all career bests.

* Arizona’s Colin Schooler had a team-high nine tackles, half a sack and a fumble recovery.

* UA sophomore safety Christian Young had six tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Contact sports reporter Michael Lev at 573-4148 or On Twitter @michaeljlev 


Michael is an award-winning journalist who has been covering sports professionally since the early '90s. He started at the Star in 2015 after spending 15 years at The Orange County Register. Michael is a graduate of Northwestern University.