Thursday, November 13, 2003


Warriors look
to get even on road

A victory over underdog Nevada
would boost UH's away record to 3-3

There's a lot of talk about bad weather and high altitude hurting Hawaii's football chances at Nevada on Saturday. But the Warriors (6-3, 4-1 Western Athletic Conference) are favored to beat the Wolf Pack (5-5, 3-3) by three points. Nevada has lost three games in a row, and Hawaii has won four straight.

In retrospect, UH might have had more going against it the last time the Warriors embarked on a trip to Reno.

The game was Sept. 22, 2001. The Hawaii travel squad got on an airplane for a six-hour flight just 11 days after terrorists hijacked four commercial airliners and killed thousands of people. Yes, it was a charter flight. But getting on any plane at that time made even the toughest people a little uneasy.

The Warriors -- who leave today for Saturday's game at Nevada -- don't use 9/11 as an excuse for losing to the Wolf Pack. But they admit it didn't help.

"I'm sure it worked on us a little. It bothered everyone," said junior receiver Chad Owens, who made his first UH football road trip for that game and scored his first collegiate touchdown. "The whole situation was bad. But it still shouldn't have been an excuse for us losing (28-20). Blame the heat, blame this, blame that. You just got to be ready to play football and not worry about anything else but what we've got to do."

Since that trip, the Warriors have generally played well on the road, winning seven of their last 12 games away from the islands. It's even better when you take out the nonconference encounters; UH is 7-2 in its last nine away WAC games.

The Warriors lost the first three of their school-record six scheduled road games this year. A win Saturday would even the road mark.

Hawaii used a 42-point first quarter to shock Nevada 59-34 last year. But that was at Aloha Stadium. The Warriors want to prove they can do it on the road against the Wolf Pack.

Junior right guard Uriah Moenoa -- then a freshman right tackle in his second college game -- did not play well at Nevada two years ago. But he said he learned a lot.

"That was my first road game and a very tough one for me. Looking back at that film we weren't playing to the standards that we should've been playing at," Moenoa said. "There were a lot of things going on at that time. There aren't any excuses now. We know what to expect now. It's just going to be football players against football players.

"We're trying to prepare ourselves," Moenoa added. "I'm trying to let the young guys know what the conditions are. We're doing everything in our power right now to make the conditions a non-factor."

Cornerback Kelvin Millhouse was also new to the challenges of Division I football in September 2001. Nevada receiver Nate Burleson, now in the NFL, burned Millhouse twice and Millhouse suffered a concussion.

"That was like my second game starting. I was really young, going against a good receiver. I got a lot of experience, learned a lot from that game. I think it shaped how I play now," said Millhouse, a senior who is considered an NFL prospect. "I learned real quick what college football is about."

Short yardage: UH senior safety Hyrum Peters did not practice due to sore legs yesterday, but said he will be fine by Saturday. ... Senior defensive back and special teams player Gary Wright was still limping yesterday and coach June Jones said he might not make the travel squad. ... Nevada receiver Tim Fleming (20 catches, 455 yards, one TD) is questionable after suffering a concussion in last week's game against Fresno State.


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