Cole McDonald's 493 Yards, 5 Total TDs Rally Hawaii Past BYU in 2019 Hawaii Bowl

Kyle Newport@@KyleNewportFeatured ColumnistDecember 25, 2019

Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald (13) throws a pass as BYU linebacker Payton Wilgar (49) watches during the first half of the Hawaii Bowl NCAA college football game Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
Eugene Tanner/Associated Press

Behind a career day from quarterback Cole McDonald, the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors wrapped up their season with a wild 38-34 victory over the BYU Cougars in the 2019 Hawaii Bowl at Aloha Stadium on Tuesday.

McDonald threw for a career-high 493 yards and piled up five touchdowns. He threw a game-winning 24-yard touchdown pass to Nick Mardner with 77 seconds to play.

With the victory, Hawaii (10-5) recorded its first 10-win season since 2010. It marks the program's first bowl victory since 2016.

BYU (7-6) closes the season with back-to-back losses after five consecutive wins down the stretch. 


Notable Performances


QB Cole McDonald: 28/46, 493 yards, four touchdowns; one rushing touchdown

WR Jared Smart: seven catches, 142 yards, two touchdowns

WR JoJo Ward: seven catches, 159 yards

WR Jason-Matthew Sharsh: seven catches, 90 yards, one touchdown



QB Zach Wilson: 24/40, 273 yards, zero touchdowns, two interceptions; 14 carries, 72 yards, two touchdowns

WR Micah Simon: five catches, 55 yards; one carry, 11 yards, one touchdown

TE Matt Bushman: six catches, 91 yards


McDonald's Career Day Leads Hawaii to Victory

Hawaii entered the game ranked sixth in the nation in passing, and early on, it was evident that BYU had no answer for Cole McDonald. Or Jared Smart.

After a three-and-out on the opening possession, the Rainbow Warriors offense quickly found a rhythm. Over the next three drives, McDonald completed 11 of 13 pass attempts for 199 yards and two touchdowns, adding a score on the ground as well. 

McDonald was most successful early on when targeting Smart, who entered the game needing just 13 yards to eclipse the 1,000-yard plateau on the season. All the junior wideout did was haul in four catches for 126 yards and two scores in the first 17 minutes of the game, including gains of 40 and 58 yards in the first quarter alone.

Hawaii Warrior World @hawaiiwworld

Jared Smart having himself a GAME (4 catches, 126 yards). McDonald finds him wide open for a 58-yard catch-and-run to end the first quarter. #HawaiiFB has it at the BYU 3 to begin the second.

Though Smart entered tied for 14th in the nation in receptions (80), he had just three touchdowns in 14 games. He nearly doubled that total in the opening quarter.

The Rainbow Warriors' leading receiver on the season, Cedric Byrd II, had just one reception for six yards in the first two quarters. That didn't stop McDonald from putting up ridiculous numbers, though. The junior passer threw for 331 yards...in the first half.

Doug Ferguson @dougferguson405

BYU giving up 203.8 yards passing a game. Cole McDonald has thrown for 331 yards in the first half. Also worth noting that Brooks Koepka the first player since Tiger to end the year at No. 1 in consecutive years.

Alex Glaze @Alex_Glaze

cole mcdonald looking like colt brennan out there

Both Smart (133 receiving yards) and JoJo Ward (113) topped the century mark before halftime.

McDonald and the offense struggled mightily throughout the second half, recording negative-four yards in the third quarter. But with the game on the line, they found a way to get the job done in the fourth quarter.

Trailing by three with 2:01 to play, Hawaii needed just four plays to 86 yards in just 44 seconds to recapture the lead. With that, McDonald finished off an incredible performance in style.