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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Monday, November 22, 1999



Best of all scenarios
for Rainbows

EXCITEMENT? You want excitement? How's about a 48-41 shoot-out victory over Navy, following that double overtime thriller over Fresno State the week before?

Well, that's what June Jones was hired for, wasn't he, to throw the ball and score a lot of points?

Sure beats that run-run-run offense and going 0-12 as the Rainbows did under previous coach What's-his-name.

It's sure tough on the old ticker, but who's complaining? I'm not, and neither were the 39,554 fans at Aloha Stadium Saturday night watching the Rainbows and quarterback Dan Robinson do their thing.

Robinson set 11 UH passing records in the game. Not bad for a guy who seemed like a square peg in a round hole in last year's offense, using the word liberally.

Under Jones' pass-first, pass-second and pass-third offense, Robinson rewrote the UH record book as the Rainbows ran their season record to 8-3 with maybe the most significant victory of the season by beating Navy.

If nothing else, that should wake up the East Coast media about the brand of football the Rainbows are playing while making the greatest turnaround in NCAA history.

Now, this is not a shabby Navy team. Not only did it nearly beat Notre Dame in South Bend, it'll kick Army's butt when they meet for the 100th time Dec. 4.

The Middies are that good, believe me.

THE Rainbows were fortunate to win, although they made the outcome closer than it should have been by fumbling away twice for 14 turnover points in the fourth quarter.

It was one of those classic games in which the irresistible force collided with the irresistible force. Neither team could stop the other. Last one with the football wins.

Good thing Quincy LeJay came up with an interception with 36 seconds left in the game to stop a Navy drive that went from its own 20 to UH's 28.

The Middies, though 3-point favorites, came close to spoiling what was a coronation party for the Rainbows, who accepted an invitation to play in the Oahu Bowl on Christmas Day prior to kickoff.

Jones wasn't too happy about having the announcement made before the game but he reluctantly agreed because he thought his players were deserving of getting the recognition by the fans.

With Fresno State accepting a bid to the Las Vegas Bowl as the Western Athletic Conference co-champion along with Hawaii, it was the best of all possible scenarios for the Rainbows.

JONES and his Rainbows wanted to play at home on Christmas Day. The most likely opponent is the winner of this Saturday's Arizona-Arizona State game.

The 'Bows play Washington State this Saturday to close out the regular season. But to hear star wide receiver Dwight Carter tell it, he's already looking forward to the Oahu Bowl.

"We got two more games in an amazing season and we're trying to add to it," said Carter, who caught 10 passes for 208 yards against Navy to set UH single-season records of most receptions (73) and most receiving yards (1,149).

"We win these (next) two and that'll show everybody what we're all about -- 10-3. That's what we want to be," added Manly Kanoa.

"It's something that the kids will never forget," said Jones. "It's a record that nobody will touch."

A remarkable season for Jones and his Rainbows, who deserve to be playing before a sellout crowd Saturday.



Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.
bkwon@starbulletin.com



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