That certainly wasn’t Nevada out there
WELL, that's over with. Can we talk about Nevada now?
Last night's Hawaii-Eastern Illinois game was exactly what I vs. I-AA should look like. You establish yourself, take care of business, hope nobody gets hurt, let the subs have some fun and move on.
That's what these games are for, and everybody knows it going in.
You can name the score beforehand, and a few of you probably did.
"They made plays and they made explosive plays," EIU assistant head coach Mark Hutson would say afterward. He had that right.
Don't get me wrong. The Panthers played with more energy, ability, fortitude and heart than D-I UNLV did a few weeks ago.
But even Illinois ran it up on these guys earlier in the year. This is what it is. It was what it was.
Now, it's over. Now, here comes Nevada.
Check the Western Athletic Conference scores last night? Boise State -- back to using three backs -- won again. San Jose State won again. Fresno State lost again. Fresno State, which annually picks a swan-dive moment sometime each season, is slumping early this year. Fresno State is going into the tank.
Nevada is not.
We all thought Nevada would be hard-pressed to survive its early schedule. But survive it has. The Pack just put a pounding on the aforementioned hapless and heartless UNLV, and on the Rebels' home field to boot. No big deal, as we know. But still, that was a rivalry game. Anything can happen.
Nevada can pound the ball. Nevada can run when everyone in the stadium knows Nevada is running, and still get 3 or 4 yards. Nevada has an experienced quarterback and talented receivers to serve as a changeup or to occasionally bail the Pack out of trouble on third and long.
And here is this: Nevada was in this home bowl game last year when Hawaii wasn't. Nevada knows it can make this trip, come all this long way to Hawaii, and win a tough game. It knows because it did. Just last Christmas.
You think that isn't confidence? Are you kidding? As large as this trip looms, as big as this home-field advantage is, that boost is huge.
OK, it's all even in the confidence department, after last night, at the very least. Nothing builds confidence like knocking the you-know-what out of an inferior team.
"We have one of the best receiving corps in the nation and you can't even deny it," Colt Brennan said.
Later, he'd add, "Definitely, this is on a level that we weren't on last year."
He's right. Hawaii was sharp. Hawaii was spot on. Hawaii ran roughshod.
Hawaii took care of business, let the subs have some fun and moved on.
That's what these I-AA games are for. Nevada is next and Hawaii is polishing its game to a high sheen.
When the Wolf Pack watch this tape, they will have plenty to see. "In the first quarter," Hutson said, "they just moved the ball down the field at will."
Hawaii looked super last night.
"We definitely had to come in and do what we did," Brennan said. "I'm just glad that we did."