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Saturday, November 27, 2004



[ WARRIOR FOOTBALL ]


Bowl hopes on the line for
Warriors and Wildcats

Northwestern is about 10 plays away from being 0-11.

Hawaii was nearly that many touchdowns behind Boise State and Fresno State.

Key Matchup

Northwestern RB Noah Herron vs. UH linebackers
Herron isn't quite the back that Ryan Moats of Louisiana Tech is, but he is the complete package, and the Warriors have yet to prove they can stop a quality running game. UH's trio of Watson Ho'ohuli in the middle flanked by Lincoln Manutai and Brad Kalilimoku improved vastly last week against Idaho, and they will be augmented by Tanuvasa Moe, who comes back after missing several games with a hamstring injury. He can play either the weakside or strongside position. Free safety Landon Kafentzis hits like a linebacker, and will also be a key in slowing Herron.

Somehow, the Wildcats (6-5) and Warriors (5-5) are still in contention for a bowl game. After their meeting tonight at Aloha Stadium (6:05 p.m. kickoff), one team will be out of the postseason picture.

"Personally, I don't think about scenarios," said UH receiver Chad Owens, when asked about the possibility of the Warriors beating NU and then Michigan State to qualify for a third straight Hawaii Bowl. "But this is a big game for us."

Northwestern is favored by six, but the Wildcats are 1-4 on the road and Hawaii is 5-1 at home. The Wildcats, however, possess a strong running game, and Hawaii is last in the nation in rushing yards allowed at 262.7 per game. Yields of 425 and 503 in horrific road losses of 69-3 and 70-14 at Boise State and Fresno State contribute mightily to that number.

"We happened to watch those games, but it's just one of those things," said Northwestern running back Noah Herron, who is the focal point of his team's offense with 1,291 rushing yards. "We know they've been banged up and were looking for guys to put in, and that can be a struggle. At the same time, they're very aggressive. Both teams have a lot riding on this game, so we're not looking at any stats."

Herron runs behind a big offensive line that averages more than 300 pounds per player.

"San Jose State, LaTech, they were huge. But these guys are good," said Hawaii defensive tackle Lui Fuga, one of nine UH defenders with at least one sack in a 52-21 victory over Idaho last week. "They're big and aggressive. They play with good pad level, good hands, good feet."

Warriors coach June Jones said the Wildcats aren't predictable.

"They do some interesting stuff. They like four-wide and give you different looks. It's more of a run approach out of the shotgun," he said.

Formations don't matter, Fuga said.

"We always respect the run first and then play the pass," he said. "Depending on down and distance, we might look for pass."

While it appears the Wildcats should run on the Warriors, Hawaii's run-and-shoot passing attack could cause a lot of problems for Northwestern's defense, which is more accustomed to defending the run.

"The closest to what they do was Purdue," Northwestern coach Randy Walker said. "We're playing one of the best quarterbacks in the country and one of the most prolific in NCAA history."

UH's Tim Chang is coming off one of the best performances of his five years with the Warriors. The NCAA career record-holder for passing yardage threw for a personal-best six touchdown passes, including a school-record four to Jason Rivers.

"But to win the game, we still have to stop the run," Walker said.

The Wildcats have one of the best in the nation at doing that in linebacker Tim McGarigle. He leads the country in solo tackles with 8.5 per game and is third in total tackles with 12.8.

All of Northwestern's wins are by seven or fewer points, and it won three of a record four overtime games this season.

"(Close wins) build trust throughout the team on the field. Trust off the field is different, a little easier. On-field trust is harder to get," Herron said.

Hawaii's margin of victory has been 22 points in its five home wins, but Northwestern is only one of two visitors with a winning record now.

Also, the Warriors are still battling injuries; Jones said Thursday that Uriah Moenoa and linebacker Ikaika Curnan are not expected to play.

The teams have met once before. Northwestern beat Hawaii 47-21 in 1998 at Aloha Stadium, when UH was in the middle of a 19-game losing streak and the Wildcats were wrapping up a 3-9 season. This time there's much more on the line for both squads.

"I'm thinking three games," Chang said, when asked what his thoughts were about being down to the last two games of his UH career.

"It's a one-game season for us," said Herron, as the Wildcats earn a berth in the Music City Bowl with a win.


Probable starters

Northwestern
Offense
TE 47
Taylor Jones 6-3 260 Jr.
LT 76
Trai Essex 6-4 315 Sr.
LG 60
Ikechuku Ndukwe 6-4 320 Sr.
C 50
Trevor Rees 6-2 280 So.
RG 64
Matt Ulrich 6-2 310 Sr.
RT 63
Zach Strief 6-7 335 Jr.
H 3
Shaun Herbert 6-1 205 So.
X 84
Kim Thompson 6-4 190 Fr.
Z 2
Ashton Aikens 6-2 200 Sr.
QB 14
Brett Basanez 6-2 210 Jr.
RB 33
Noah Herron 5-11 230 Sr.
FB 44
Erryn Cobb 6-1 245 Sr.
Defense
DE 66
Loren Howard 6-4 285 Jr.
DT 94
Luis Castillo 6-4 305 Sr.
DT 97
Colby Clark 6-2 290 Sr.
DE 67
Barry Cofield 6-4 295 Jr.
LB 51
John Pickens 6-2 240 Sr.
LB 41
Tim McGarigle 6-1 230 Jr.
LB 38
Nick Roach 6-2 230 So.
CB 31
Marvin Ward 5-11 205 Sr.
FS 24
Herschel Henderson 6-3 195 Jr.
SS 8
Dominique Price 6-0 215 Sr.
CB 28
Jeff Backes 5-9 190 Jr.
Specialists
K 93
Joel Howells 6-4 225 So.
P 99
Brian Huffman 6-1 225 Sr.
LS 98
Chris Horton 6-2 250 Jr.
H 88
Eric Batis 6-1 205 Jr.
KR 26
Terrell Jordan 5-10 200 Jr.
PR 28
Jeff Backes 5-9 190 Jr.

Hawaii
Offense
X 84
Jason Rivers 6-1 189 So.
H 2
Chad Owens 5-9 177 Sr.
LT 70
Tala Esera 6-3 291 So.
LG 65
Hercules Satele 6-2 279 Fr.
C 64
Samson Satele 6-2 278 So.
RG 66
Brandon Eaton 6-2 291 Jr.
RT 74
Jeremy Inferrera 6-2 284 So.
Y 38
Gerald Welch 5-7 216 Sr.
Z 9
Britton Komine 5-10 188 Sr.
QB 14
Tim Chang 6-1 196 Sr.
RB 6
Michael Brewster 5-5 185 Sr.
Defense
LE 98
Mel Purcell 6-4 266 Jr.
LT 99 Lui Fuga 6-1 294 Sr.
RT 91
Matt Faga 6-2 324 Sr.
RE 30
Kila Kamakawiwo'ole 6-3 241 Jr.
SLB 50
Lincoln Manutai 6-0 228 Sr.
MLB 55
Watson Ho'ohuli 5-11 222 Sr.
WLB 43
Brad Kalilimoku 5-11 201 Fr.
CB 37
Abraham Elimimian 5-10 185 Sr.
SS 42
Leonard Peters 6-1 184 Jr.
FS 8
Landon Kafentzis 6-0 194 Jr.
CB 24
Kenny Patton 6-0 187 So.
Specialists
P 25
Kurt Milne 6-0 196 So.
K 47
Justin Ayat 6-0 201 Sr.
LS 61
Bryce Runge 5-11 236 Jr.
PR 2
Chad Owens 5-9 177 Sr.
KR 21
Jason Ferguson 5-5 157 Fr.
Hold 25
Kurt Milne 6-0 196 So.

Schedules

Northwestern (6-5, 5-3 big ten)
Sept. 2 at TCU L, 48-45(2OT)
Sept. 11 Arizona State L, 30-21
Sept. 18 Kansas W, 20-17
Sept. 25 at Minnesota L, 43-17
Oct. 2 Ohio State W, 33-27 (OT)
Oct. 9 Indiana W, 31-24(2OT)
Oct. 23 Wisconsin L, 24-12
Oct. 30 Purdue W, 13-10
Nov. 6 at Penn State W, 14-7
Nov. 13 at Michigan L, 42-20
Nov. 20 Illinois W, 28-21 (OT)
Today at Hawaii

Hawaii (5-5, 4-4 WAC)
Sept. 4 Florida Atlantic L, 35-28 (OT)
Sept. 18 at Rice L, 41-29
Oct. 2 Tulsa W, 44-16
Oct. 9 Nevada W, 48-26
Oct. 16 at Texas-El Paso L, 51-20
Oct. 23 San Jose State W, 46-28
Oct. 29 at Boise State L, 69-3
Nov. 6 Louisiana Tech W, 34-23
Nov. 12 at Fresno State L, 70-14
Nov. 19 Idaho W, 52-21
Today Northwestern
Dec. 4 Michigan State

Statistical comparison

NU Category UH
23.1 Scoring 31.8
168.1 Rushing 95.0
229.9 Passing 317.6
398.0 Total Offense 412.6
21.6 First Downs 21.5
9.3 FD Rushing 5.3
11.0 FD Passing 15.0
1.4 FD Penalty 1.2
26.6 Points Allowed 38.0
143.4 Rushing Allowed 262.7
237.8 Passing Allowed 199.1
381.2 Total Offense Allowed 461.8

(above stats are per-game averages)
6-10 Interceptions -- Yards 12-65
37.8 Punting 38.4
66-573 Penalties 61-528
8-2 Fumbles-lost 17-7
27:27 Ave. Time of Possession 27:45
66-173 Third Down Conversion 52-130
4-13 Fourth Down Conversion 8-15

Key players

Rushing A Yards Avg TD
Noah Herron, NU 247 1,291 5.2 14
Terrell Jordan, NU 58 269 4.6 3
Michael Brewster, UH 92 599 6.5 6
West Keli'ikipi, UH 43 219 5.1 3
Passing A C I Y TD
Brett Basanez, NU 419 228 8 2,519 11
Chris Malleo, NU 3 2 0 10 0
Tim Chang, UH 451 267 11 3,032 26
Kainoa Akina, UH 19 7 4 84 0
Receiving
Rec
Yards Avg TD
Mark Philmore, NU 54 633 11.7 2
Jonathan Fields, NU 44 542 12.3 4
Chad Owens, UH 72 738 10.2 7
Jason Rivers, UH 59 711 12.1 6
Tackles S A Tot FL/S
TimMcGarigle, NU 94 47 141 6/1
Dominique Price, NU 60 28 88 5/1
Nick Roach, NU 49 30 79 7.5/5
Luis Castillo, NU 50 24 74 8.5/2
Bryan Heinz, NU 43 24 67 1/2
Leonard Peters, UH 56 33 89 5.5/1
Mel Purcell, UH 38 17 55 14/6
Watson Ho'ohuli, UH 32 19 51 6/.5
Chad Kapanui, UH 21 24 45 3/1
Tanuvasa Moe, UH 23 21 44 5/2

WAC Standings


Conference Overall

W L Pct W L Pct Str
Boise State 7 0 1.000 10 0 1.000 W21
UTEP 6 1 .857 8 2 .800 W7
Fresno State 4 3 .571 7 3 .700 W4
Louisiana Tech 4 3 .571 5 6 .455 L1
Hawaii 4 4 .500 5 5 .500 W1
Nevada 3 4 .429 5 6 .455 L2
SMU 3 5 .375 3 8 .273 L1
Rice 2 5 .286 3 7 .300 L5
Tulsa 1 6 .143 2 8 .200 L6
San Jose State 1 6 .143 2 8 .200 L6

Today's games
UTEP at Tulsa
Boise State at Nevada
Fresno State at San Jose State
Northwestern at Hawaii
Monday's game
Louisiana Tech at Rice

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