UNLV hands Hawaii a lot of confidence
OK, what the heck. Let's say it. Bring on Boise State.
Yeah, I just George W'd it. Bring 'em on (and also, Is our children learning?).
We need to see this next game, to see where this Hawaii team really stacks up. Alabama was anything you want to make of it. This last one, last night, was a BCS blowout. It was a laugher. Literally, I laughed.
(Eventually, UNLV left us with few options. It was that or cry.)
Hawaii looked unbeatable, unstoppable.
UNLV looked awful, unwatchable.
Coach Mike Sanford could barely summon words.
"That was a. ... We just. ... We didn't play like we can play," he finally said.
I'm not sure what their defensive game plan was, but apparently it involved a lot of waving (Colt Brennan would run like Vince Young). UH receivers held their blocks for "War and Peace"-like lengths of time. UNLV's one-dimensional offense was -- fittingly, for a Vegas outfit -- big play or bust. And it ended, mercifully, believe it or not, 42-13.
On too many plays, UNLV was just looking for a soft spot to land.
(Good thing Aloha Stadium had that FieldTurf put in.)
Meanwhile, Hawaii manhandled UNLV on both sides of the line, setting the tone in every way, most every play. Hawaii's defense was belligerent, beating blocks, blowing up. UH did what you should do when an opponent offers up an effort like that -- it stepped on throats.
(Perhaps literally -- Hawaii was hit with three personal-foul penalties in the first half alone. And no, that's still not a positive stat.)
Hawaii's first few offensive drives were exciting. "We just did what we do and went right down the field," Colt Brennan said. Its first few defensive series raised eyebrows -- as in, wow, maybe we've got something here. "It was fun to watch," Jerry Glanville said. Maybe that man has finally left his mark.
But as the game dragged on, it dawned: UNLV was playing badly, at a cosmic level.
Sanford is in his second year as a head coach, and he may have learned a harsh lesson this week: Don't out-Lou Holtz yourself.
He harped on how impossible it is to come to Hawaii and win, went on and on about UH's offensive prowess. It looked like his team had heard him, and listened a little too well.
(I don't know when a half-filled rust bucket became Death Valley, but apparently it's true. We've seen this happen time and again.)
Now we'll see what June Jones tells his team heading into Boise this week. After last night's performance, you have to give UH a puncher's chance (and I wouldn't have said that before 6:05 last night). These guys look good, and this defensive line looked special. No, UNLV isn't a real test, but that's why a power like Boise looms so large. A performance like this calls for the Broncos. Bring 'em on.
"When we played Alabama we respected Alabama as a great football team but we didn't respect ourselves as a great football team," Brennan said. "We didn't know yet."
You know I'm not one for hype, but hey, you never know.
Last night there was a rainbow over the field.