RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii quarterback Inoke Funaki sized up his passing options last night in the fourth quarter against Eastern Illinois.
Funaki gets on the field
Not since leading Kahuku High School to a state title to cap the 2001 prep season had Inoke Funaki seen as much action as he did in Hawaii's 44-9 win over Eastern Illinois last night at Aloha Stadium.
The redshirt freshman was inserted into the lineup as the holder on field-goal and point-after attempts and played most of the second half at quarterback.
"My head was swimming," Funaki said. "I missed a lot of stuff here and there, a lot of good stuff happened here and there, but there's still a lot of stuff I have to work on."
After the Warriors struggled in the kicking game at Boise State a week earlier, Funaki was chosen to replace Kurt Milne as the holder on kicks. UH converted on five of six point-after attempts and a fourth-quarter field goal.
"I kind of felt there was pressure on me, like I had eyes on me," Funaki said. "Right after (kicker Dan Kelly) got that first one through I was happy to get that first one off my chest."
It wasn't a perfect night, as he bobbled a low snap on a PAT that ended up being blocked.
"It was a low snap, but I still felt like it was my responsibility," Funaki said. "I feel like if it's anywhere around there I should get it."
He handled another low snap on the next PAT attempt, but was able to place it in time for Kelly to knock it through.
Funaki moved up to second on the depth chart when Tyler Graunke was held out for missing a class this week. UH coach June Jones said he expects Graunke to be back in the fold for this week's game against Nevada.
Play it again: Hawaii cornerback C.J. Hawthorne had his third-quarter interception upheld in the first use of instant replay in UH game at Aloha Stadium.
Hawthorne came up with his first pick of the season by going to the turf to scoop up a tipped pass from EIU's Cole Stinson with 10:05 left in the third quarter. The play was reviewed and the call stood, giving Hawthorne his first pick of his UH career.
Making the leap: The play of the night may have come early in the opening quarter on Hawaii's first kickoff of the game. Senior safety Michael Malala, putting the psycho in special teams, decided not to try to bust the return wedge, but to jump right over it. He took off like a running back hoping to leap over the pile and into the end zone. He hit someone's head, went over in a somersault and took out the Eastern Illinois return man by hitting the ballcarrier in the head with his foot on a flying leap. It looked like something out of a kung fu movie.
It was spectacular. What was he thinking?
"We'd been talking about it all week," he said. "Coach (Jerry) Glanville told us he had a guy who used to jump over the wedge like that all the time. And Coach (George) Lumpkin, he has a bunch of pictures in his office of guys doing that same thing."
But he took out the guy with his foot, didn't he?
"I think so," Malala said. "I didn't get the whole replay. ... It happened kind of fast."
And he decided to do it.
"If the situation was right," he said.
Hawaii terrorized Eastern Illinois on kickoff coverage all night. Malala praised his coverage teammate Blaze Soares, who also had a big game on special teams.
Low-risk policy: Eastern Illinois running back Vincent Webb ran for 105 yards on nine carries in the first half, but carried the ball just twice for 12 yards after the break.
Panthers acting head coach Mark Hutson told Webb before the game that the 5-foot-11, 205-pound senior might not play much in the second half.
"Coach said if we were up or down by a lot that there would be no reason to risk it," Webb said. "Especially since we're in nonconference. Coach wanted to keep as many guys as healthy as possible."
Eastern Illinois, the defending Ohio Valley Conference champion, gets back to league play next weekend at home against Southeast Missouri State.
Webb's 69-yard run through a gaping hole in the first quarter set up Eastern Illinois' only touchdown.
"I was upset about not taking it in for a touchdown," Webb said. "I looked up at the Jumbotron and didn't think he (Kenny Patton) could catch me. Afterwards, I thought maybe I should have weaved."
Webb moved into fourth place in career EIU rushing with 3,503 yards.
Only injury noted: UH no longer releases official injury reports to the media, but backup guard Laupepa Letuli was on crutches with ice wrapped on a knee after the game.