Star-Bulletin Sports

Friday, December 7, 2001

Former UH quarterback Garrett Gabriel, at Murphy's Bar & Grill last night for a show that highlighted past victories over BYU, beat the Cougars twice.

long history
resumes tomorrow

Brigham Young comes in undefeated,
making this the bowl game for 8-3 Hawaii

How players, coaches remember the rivalry

By Dave Reardon

George Lumpkin still has the coin.

It's the one Hawaii coach Larry Price gave him from the 1974 Brigham Young game, the one the Rainbows won 15-13 at Honolulu Stadium. Lumpkin was in his first year as a UH assistant.

"It was my first game as head coach," Price said. "George promised me (BYU's) star receiver Jay Miller would catch less than 10 passes."

"I told Larry, 'He ain't gonna catch a thing,' " Lumpkin said.

Lumpkin was good on his word: Miller got hurt before the game and didn't play and UH won without a touchdown as Reinhold Stuprich kicked five field goals.

"The defense did a tremendous job," Price recalled. "BYU averaged 290 pounds across the front and 25 years old. We had 18-, 19-year-old guys like Harris Matsushima, Alex Kaloi. We had to promise parents that their kids would get to keep their scholarships if they got killed.

"After it was over (BYU coach) LaVell Edwards told me, 'That's a salty bunch you've got there.' "

Over the years to come, UH and its fans would become very salty.

It was a huge victory for Hawaii -- and even bigger in retrospect, considering how few the wins have been against UH's biggest rival. It would be 10 games and 15 years before the Rainbows would win again. BYU is 18-7 against Hawaii and has won the last six meetings.

Lumpkin keeps the coin at home. That's where it will be when the Cougars (12-0) and Warriors (8-3) play tomorrow at 11 a.m. at Aloha Stadium.

The Warriors associate head coach is not the superstitious type, so Lumpkin won't bring it for the pregame coin-toss or keep it in his pocket for good luck.

Lumpkin said he doesn't get caught up in BYU hype.

Hawaii linebacker Mark Odom consoled Brigham Young quarterback Ty Detmer after UH's 59-28 victory in 1990. Detmer was named the winner of the Heisman Trophy just prior to the game.

"I guess the reason is because they were a thorn in my side for a long time," he said. "We'd get close, but not win. Once we did win in '89 and again the next year, it kind of resolved itself. I look at it as another opportunity for us to play a good team. But I think the rivalry is healthy, a great thing for our fans. Our players said they feed off the energy of our fans. With 50,000 on Saturday, that should be a lot of energy."

Few others associated with UH football are as nonchalant about BYU as Lumpkin. Historically, it's the other way around -- Hawaii, the entire state, works itself into a frenzy, while BYU goes about its business in comparably calm fashion.

Although the Cougars have come to consider the matchup a rivalry, in some ways, it is a case of unrequited hate.

When BYU folks shrug their shoulders at the way Hawaii gets all fired up, UH fans do the only thing they can do -- loathe the Cougars more.

Two pages of the BYU media guide are devoted to the Beehive State Rivalry of Brigham Young vs. Utah. Hawaii is treated in the 272-page book as little more than just another opponent.

"That's a fair assessment," said Edwards, who retired after last season. "Everything kind of came second to Utah. But we respected Hawaii. They gave us great games."

Most of the time, especially in the close games, things have gone the Cougars' way. Then they went on to beat the next team that hated them.

"In their heyday they were everybody's rival," said Bob Wagner, who coached UH to 56-14 and 59-28 victories over BYU in 1989 and 1990.

When BYU won the national championship in 1984, the Cougars barely got past the Rainbows, 18-13.

Hawaii led 13-12 in the waning minutes, but BYU had the ball.

"Then Rich Miano made a great defensive play and Al Noga blocked a punt," Wagner said. "We had great field position."

But the Cougars had Kyle Morrell.

BYU stopped Hawaii, which had first-and-goal at the two. On fourth down, linebacker Morrell leaped and grabbed Raphel Cherry by the back of his neckpad and pulled him down with one arm.

For the Cougars, it was their greatest defensive play ever.

UH had another chance, but Walter Murray dropped a pass in the end zone.

For the Rainbows, it was another heartbreak.

"That was unbelievable," said Dick Tomey, Hawaii's coach at the time.

"Then there was Jim McMahon's left-footed punt," Tomey said.

McMahon's desperation play in the 1981 game helped BYU win 13-3, knocking previously unbeaten Hawaii out of the national rankings.

"For a long time Hawaii and BYU were the best teams in the conference," Edwards said. "It seemed like every time we played it had championship ramifications and they were always low-scoring defensive struggles, such hard games."

Then came the shocking blowouts.

Hawaii's spread offense, from which it normally performed running plays, blossomed to its full potential against BYU, with quarterback Garrett Gabriel blowing the Cougars away play-after-play.

"I tell you what, the first one was a surprise to us. But 1990 was the year we beat Miami and Ty (Detmer) had just won the Heisman that day," Edwards said. "I think they surprised us with the passing and when they found us vulnerable to it so they kept going with it. Gabriel had two great games against us. The matchups were always a little difficult for us when they spread it out, particularly with the slotbacks."

The 1990 rout was punctuated by Jeff Sydner's Heisman Trophy pose, mocking Detmer.

"That first win was probably as perfect a game as I've been involved in, offense and defense," Wagner said. "We scored on eight of our first nine possessions and set a school record for sacks.

"We had young players who didn't know they weren't supposed to beat them," Wagner added. "Especially after winning the second time, Jeff Sydner and those guys were thinking that's the way it's supposed to happen."

In 1992, the year UH won the WAC and the Holiday Bowl, the Rainbows beat the Cougars again, 36-32, with Michael Carter running the spread. Wagner said that victory was more rewarding than the blowouts in some ways.

"It was a close game, one they thought they'd won," he said. "We'd had so many tough losses, so many close games. To win a close game against a very good team gave us a lot of confidence early in the season."

The misery for Hawaii set in quickly again, though. In 1993 Carlton Oswalt missed a short field goal late in a 41-38 loss that kept Hawaii winless in Provo. BYU hasn't lost to Hawaii since.

Former Kahuku running back Mark Atuaia was part of three BYU victories over UH in the 1990s. He -- like many other Hawaii high school athletes who chose to go to Brigham Young -- was booed on his return to Aloha Stadium.

"It didn't really mean anything at the time," Atuaia said. "When you're playing, you're not thinking about what the crowd is doing. You just get the assignment done. As time goes along, you see why the fans do what they do.

"My parents wanted me to stay. I realize it wasn't really a good business decision now that I live in Hawaii," said Atuaia, who is a professional entertainer. "But I went with my heart. There's hardly anything I would change."

Atuaia said he will be on the BYU sideline tomorrow, but he is a fan of UH women's basketball.

"My sister (basketball player April Atuaia) is there now, so I can't be anything else but a Rainbow fan. She bleeds green and white. BYU recruited her hard, but her heart was set on home. I think my decision had something to do with curiosity. I'd never been off the island until BYU."

During his college years, Atuaia went on a mission to Arizona, and almost transferred to play for the Wildcats, he said.

"I had residency, and coach Tomey was there," he said.

Price said Kahuku's recruiting of Hawaii talent is probably the biggest source of UH fans' hatred for BYU.

"The rivalry started more from recruiting and it intensified from there, even when I was coaching they had a bunch of Hawaii guys," Price said.

Gabriel, who inquired about BYU after an all-state career playing for Pac-Five, said he thinks more local talent will go to UH now.

"Back then, it was a little different. Some kids will always want to experience the independence of going to a mainland school," he said. "But the thinking is that they could get recognized a little more at those big schools. Now with June (Jones) here he has the contacts. He can get you a (NFL) tryout if you deserve one. I would have loved to play for him and throw the ball 60 times a game."

Hawaii plays BYU on the road next year, and after that it's anyone's guess.

Edwards said he hopes Hawaii can -- and wants to -- join the Mountain West, the conference comprised of the eight teams that broke off from the WAC in 1999, leaving Hawaii behind.

Even if that doesn't happen, Price said, the Warriors and Cougars should meet every year.

"BYU is good for the schedule. Hawaii should always play them. It's just common sense," he said.

Price said he thinks the Cougars, who are favored by three points tomorrow, are ripe for an upset.

"In their state of mind after losing (Doak Walker Award winner) Luke Staley (to injury), no BCS game, they're smarting. The reason they left the WAC was to get in a better conference and get a national title shot. The whole thing turned out to be a bad decision. But you better believe they want to beat Hawaii.

"It's kind of funny how history repeats itself," Price added. "Jay Miller got hurt and didn't play, like Staley.

"Ty Detmer won a major award and Gabriel just tore them apart. This is pretty much a same-case scenario."

And don't forget. George Lumpkin still has the coin.

UH-BYU over the years

Date, score Attendance

Dec. 10, 1930: UH 49, BYU 30 10,000

Nov. 17, 1950: UH 39, BYU 7 12,000

Sept. 29, 1951: at BYU 20, UH 7 8,000

Nov. 25, 1960: UH 13, BYU 6 10,000

Sept. 14, 1974: UH 15, BYU 13 23,000

Nov. 25, 1978: BYU 31, UH 13 35,678

Oct. 5, 1979: at BYU 38, UH 15 34,741

Oct. 25, 1980: BYU 34, UH 7 49,139

Nov. 14, 1981: BYU 13, UH 3 45,355

Nov. 16, 1982: at BYU 39, UH 25 65,178

Sept. 22, 1984: BYU 18, UH 13 50,000

Dec. 7, 1985: BYU 26, UH 6 47,482

Nov. 8, 1986: BYU 10, UH 3 50,000

Oct. 24, 1987: BYU 16, UH 14 50,000

Oct. 22, 1988: BYU 24, UH 23 50,089

Oct. 28, 1989: UH 56, BYU 14 50,000

Dec. 1, 1990: UH 59, BYU 28 49,695

Oct. 19, 1991: at BYU 35, UH 18 65,866

Sept. 26, 1992: UH 36, BYU 32 50,000

Sept. 11, 1993: at BYU 41, UH 38 65,771

Sept. 3, 1994: BYU 13, UH 12 48,352

Oct. 28, 1995: at BYU 45, UH 7 64,680

Nov. 16, 1996: BYU 45, UH 14 32,445

Oct. 18, 1997: at BYU 17, UH 3 64,588

Oct. 17, 1998: BYU 31, UH 9 29,944


Michael Carter led UH over BYU 36-32 in 1992. The victory helped the Rainbows to a season that culminated in a Holiday Bowl win.

How players, coaches
remember the rivalry

Here is what some past and present participants told the Star-Bulletin about the Hawaii-Brigham Young game:

"Some people have given me a hard time in a friendly way, it's never been anything where people are hostile to me. I think I represented Hawaii the best way I could. Wherever I went people knew I was from Hawaii and Laie and I tried to make the state proud."

>> Mark Atuaia, BYU running back (1991-1994, 1996)

"I was standing there thinking after they scored on the first couple drives we would get squared away and come out all right (in the 1989 game). That didn't happen."

>> LaVell Edwards, BYU coach (1972-2000)

"In college, my biggest highlight by far was when we beat BYU the first time 56-14, and it was extra special because they were highly ranked at the time."

>> Jason Elam, Hawaii kicker (1989-1992)

"It doesn't happen as much as before, but there are people who recognize you and say, 'I remember you. Weren't you the quarterback who beat BYU?' I just nod."

>> Garrett Gabriel, Hawaii quarterback (1987-1990)

"We feel like this is our bowl game, we've felt that way for about the past month. We were hoping that they would be undefeated and they are."

>> June Jones, Hawaii coach (1999-present)

"Even though I was so far removed from college when we finally beat BYU I was proud of the alma mater. Anyone who ever played against them was."

>> Rich Miano, Hawaii defensive back (1982-1984)

"I have mixed emotions. In certain nostalgic emotions, I like that we have the opportunity to spank them around again, but on the other hand, they abandoned the WAC for a supposedly more 'profitable life' in the Mountain Jest."

>> Kyle Mosley, Hawaii wide receiver (1984-1985)

"They were very arrogant, really big-time. They even offered to keep the score close ... which I thanked them for."

>> Larry Price, Hawaii coach (1974-1976)

"I just remember the Noga brothers. They were as good a football player that you're going to find at that level and they dominated the WAC at that time. I had the privilege of chasing one of them around for a day. They're great football players."

>> Andy Reid, BYU offensive lineman (1979-1980)

"I never, ever since I was a little kid thought about going to BYU. I made it a point that I would never consider going there unless it was the last option. I didn't like the school since I was a little kid."

>> Craig Stutzmann, Hawaii receiver (1998-2001)

"We caught BYU at its most glorious time. Steve Young, Jason Buck, Shawn Knight, Jim McMahon. They were unbelievable players and they made unbelievable plays. Having said that, you really wouldn't want it any different. There were some great games against great teams."

>> Dick Tomey, Hawaii coach (1977-1986)

"It's easy to prepare a team for a game like this. You don't have to motivate the players. If anything, you want to downplay the hype."

>> Bob Wagner, Hawaii coach (1987-1995)

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