RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii running back Nate Ilaoa scooted past KC Asiodu of UNLV on his way to a 104-yard rushing night.
Ilaoa back in top form
Hawaii running back Nate Ilaoa, who was forced out of Hawaii's season opener at Alabama with a concussion, spent much of last night giving the Nevada-Las Vegas defense headaches in his return to action.
The sixth-year senior went over the century mark in rushing for the second straight game at Aloha Stadium, finishing with 104 yards on nine carries and two touchdowns against the Rebels.
"It was good to get back," Ilaoa said. "I was kind of wary about the first contact I would get because we don't hit too much in practice. After that it was exactly the same."
Ilaoa, who ran for 151 yards against San Diego State in last season's finale, also caught three passes for 32 yards last night to bring his total yardage in his last two appearances at Aloha Stadium to 347 yards.
Ilaoa said the reciprocal relationship between the passing and running game opened up holes in the UNLV defense.
With the Rebels secondary spread thin to cover UH's four-receiver set, Ilaoa and Reagan Mauia (six carries for 33 yards) were able to exploit gaps in the defense to lead a running attack that rolled up 214 yards.
Ilaoa averaged better than a first down every time he carried the ball, covering 11.6 yards each time his number was called.
"I'm just hoping to be there for my receivers," Ilaoa said. "Because it works both ways, me being able to run and them being able to stretch the field."
The success of the running game was also sweet for the guys up front opening holes for the backs.
"We take pride in blocking for him and getting him down field," offensive tackle Dane Uperesa said. "Even if we miss somebody we know he's going to make a play."
A classy move: Hawaii managed 11 penalties for 92 yards last night, and among them were four personal fouls. (Three were 15 yards each, another was offsetting with a UNLV personal.) But after a 15-yarder on a second-quarter extra point, Hawaii was all class.
Defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville asked an official just who was the culprit.
"I said, 'He's (Keala Watson) not that type of guy,' " Glanville recalled. "He's the nicest guy in the world. If he pushed a guy, I'll make him apologize."
Watson, who said he hit a man too hard and too high accidentally, and Glanville walked over to referee Al Novak.
"It was something that Glanville made me do," Watson said.
"The ref really seemed to appreciate it," Glanville said.
How did he react?
"He was like shocked that someone would actually do that," Watson said with a sheepish smile. "I learned from that mistake."
This Bell rang: Linebacker Beau Bell was one of UNLV's bright spots on defense. He sacked Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan (one of two Rebels sacks against UH) and he also tackled burly running back Reagan Mauia for a 1-yard loss.
One of Bell's most impressive plays was when he chased down Warriors backup quarterback Tyler Graunke with a diving tackle after a long gain.
Bell, who finished with five tackles, got a congratulatory slap on his shoulder pad from Graunke after that one.
But Bell wasn't in the mood for congratulations after the lopsided loss.
"I really can't say much about those plays," Bell said. "I'm just trying to do my part like everybody else. We didn't come out mentally prepared and we didn't attack and it snowballed from there. There were a lot of different emotions going on, and I don't think we were all on the same page."
Samson Satele left early -- as did most of UH's starters anyway -- with what appeared to be a neck injury. But he was celebrating with his linemates after the game.
Kicker Dan Kelly also showed some discomfort after coming out of a kickoff scrum, but walked off fine as the team left the field.