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Hawaii went to great lengths to keep QB Cole McDonald's injury a secret

Hawaii went to great lengths to keep quarterback Cole McDonald's injury a secret.

McDonald entered Saturday's game against Wyoming as the nation's leading passer, but apparently suffered an injury that would rule him out against the Cowboys. UH didn't want Wyoming to know McDonald was out. To keep McDonald's status a secret, they even sent a player to warm up wearing McDonald's #13 jersey.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser confirmed this someone wears McDonald's jersey before the game:

A player wearing McDonald's jersey number 13 took part in the first warm-up session today. But McDonald was not on the field during the second pregame warmup session.

But McDonald's signature blonde dreadlocks were conspicuously absent.

Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald looks for a receiver in the second quarter against Rice in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Honolulu.  (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald looks for a receiver in the second quarter against Rice in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)

During the game, McDonald, who, according to the Star-Advertiser, was not at practice on Tuesday and Wednesday but took part in the team's walkthrough on Thursday, stood on the sideline in street clothes.

With McDonald sidelined, Hawaii started true freshman Chevan Cordeiro. It was the first collegiate action for Cordeiro, who fended off a third-quarter pick-six with two touchdown passes for a 17-13 win. The game winner came on a deep ball to JoJo Ward with 1:26 left.

Cordeiro finished the game 19 of 29 for 148 yards — well below the huge numbers McDonald put up on a weekly basis (2,100 yards and 24 touchdowns in six games). UH coach Nick Rolovich said the numbers don't matter.

“Chevan Cordeiro almost won the (starting) job in training camp. “You can take those numbers and throw them away,” Rolovich said after the win. “Chevan Cordeiro throws a pick-six to a defensive lineman, then comes back and throws the game-winning touchdown on an incredible play. It didn't faze him. I couldn’t be happier for him.”

As for McDonald, Rolovich said he doesn't know exactly when he'll be back in the lineup. But it won't be long.

“It’s not going to be a particularly long-term thing,” Rolovich said.

With the win, Hawaii improved to 6-1 on the year and secured bowl eligibility for the second time in Rolovich's three seasons. The Rainbow Warriors won seven games in Rolovich's first season and defeated Middle Tennessee State in the Hawaii Bowl. Last year, UH finished 3-9.

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