FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
Brandon Marshall of Central Florida had 101 yards receiving and a touchdown for the East in the Hula Bowl yesterday.
More Aloha is fine by Marshall
He wasn't able to duplicate his MVP performance of the 2005 Hawaii Bowl, but UCF's Brandon Marshall continued his Aloha Stadium dominance.
Marshall scored the East's only touchdown and finished with five catches for 101 yards in a 10-7 victory over the West in yesterday's Hula Bowl.
"Whenever you're in this environment you always want to come out here and compete and just better yourself," Marshall said.
Marshall was UCF's most valuable player in last month's Hawaii Bowl. Despite losing by one point in overtime, he compiled 210 receiving yards and scored three touchdowns in the game.
"It was a tough loss, one of my toughest losses ever," Marshall said. "But I got over it, and the program is going to build off of it for next year."
The sometimes flamboyant receiver also got a chance to show off some new dance moves he learned while in the islands. After hauling in a 10-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter, Marshall did his own version of the hula in the back of the end zone.
"When I played out here (in the Hawaii Bowl), I wanted to do the hula, but it was too close of a game and I didn't want to get a penalty for our team," Marshall said. "So this time I took advantage of the opportunity.
Local stars enjoy experience: Seven players with local ties got playing time. Punahou alumnus Derek Turbin was the lone East team member with local ties and the Occidental safety recorded a tackle. Former University of Hawaii players Kila Kamakawiwo'ole and Lono Manners and Colorado's Vaka Manupuna (Saint Louis) had three tackles each for the West, and Warrior Tanuvasa Moe added two.
"When you're a football player, you want to play every play, but of course you got to take what you can," Moe said. "Hopefully I did enough while I was in there.
UH's Brandon Eaton saw significant time on the offensive line and Texas Tech's Bristol Olomua (Laie) played tight end, but didn't catch a pass. Saint Louis alumnus Joe Lobendahn (Washington) suited up for the West, but didn't play as he continues to recover from a knee injury.
"It was actually enjoyable," Kamakawiwo'ole said. "I played with a lot of guys I had never played with, so it was a different experience for me."
Hodges sits: Texas Tech quarterback Cody Hodges could do nothing but watch as his West teammates struggled to throw the ball. Hodges finished the regular season with 4,197 passing yards, but sat out yesterday as he recovers from a knee injury suffered in the Cotton Bowl. The West's remaining two quarterbacks, Missouri's Brad Smith and Texas State's Barrick Nealy, combined for just 53 passing yards.
"It's hard to put in an offense in three days," Hodges said. "You've got to have protection, and receivers have to be on the same page. There's a lot more to it than just throwing the ball."
Hodges has seven weeks to prepare for Texas Tech's pro day on March 9 in Lubbock as he gets ready for the NFL Draft.
Back in 2007: Hula Bowl director Rick Beggs said next year's game will "definitely" be played at Aloha Stadium.
"We'll start planning for next year's game next week," he said.