UH’s D-line takes a hit
LOGAN, Utah » This appears to be another costly victory for the Hawaii defensive line.
Tackle Kahai LaCount (chest), tackle/end Rocky Savaiigaea (ankle) and end Laupepa Letuli (knee) were knocked out of yesterday's 63-10 victory at Utah State with injuries, and Savaiigaea and Letuli look like they might miss some games.
Three defensive ends -- Renolds Fruean, Keala Watson and Amani Purcell -- were lost, possibly for the season, in last week's 68-10 win against Idaho.
"That's the only (negative) thing," UH coach June Jones said. "We lost a bunch of D-linemen again. We're down to, I don't know what we're gonna do. Actually, we're probably going to have to switch some more guys. We've lost six or seven guys on the D-line alone."
Former nose tackle Siave Seti, who was moved to running back in spring practice, will probably be switched back to the other side of the line, defensive coordinator Jerry Glanville said. Second-string offensive guard Larry Sauafea practiced on defense two years ago, but probably won't be moved since he's a top reserve now.
The one thing clear is UH can't afford more injuries to the defensive line as the season winds down with four home games remaining.
"They won't want to play for me. I'm Typhoid Mary," defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said. "We just gotta go back and see what we got."
Savaiigaea, a second-year freshman, was progressing well with expanded playing time at end. He forced a fumble and made a solo tackle before leaving the field in the third quarter.
"I've had worse ankle sprains before, so I don't think I'll be out that long. It's just right now it's stiff. We'll see how it goes," he said.
Letuli's injury was especially disheartening for the Warriors because it happened with 38 seconds left in a 53-point game. Letuli had just been switched over from the offensive line last week to help make up for the losses from the Idaho game.
"It's going to be tough. We gotta move guys around a little bit. But we're gonna be fine," said starting right end Ikaika Alama-Francis, who was in on five stops, including a sack for 8 yards.
Alama-Francis sat out of the Idaho game as a precaution because of back spasms the previous week at New Mexico State.
Inside linebacker Solomon Elimimian suffered a bruise to his knee yesterday, but said he doesn't expect it to keep him out of Saturday's game against Louisiana Tech.
Another KO: By Glanville's accounting, UH knocked a seventh running back out of a game this season when USU's Marcus Cross left with an injury in the first half.
The Aggies' leading rusher carried seven times for 9 yards. He was replaced by Antraun McDaniel, who went for 43 yards on 12 carries.
"He got hit and we had to pull him," USU coach Brent Guy said of Cross, who had rushed for at least 60 yards in the past five games. "He got hit in the head."
Outside linebacker Brad Kalilimoku landed the knockout hit on Cross, sticking him for a 2-yard loss on an option play midway through the second quarter.
"(No.) 4 is a great back, and he didn't last long," Glanville said. "It's an accumulation. It ain't one single hit."
Balmy?: That's how the official scorekeeper with a sense of humor described the 46-degree game-time temperature at Romney Stadium, as 10,291 settled in for Utah State's first home game in a month.
It did rain in the morning and a little bit late in the game. But there was very little wind to interfere with Hawaii's passing game.
"Once we got out here and put on the gear and started running around, we were just having fun. It felt pretty good to me," said UH receiver Ryan Grice-Mullins, who had two touchdown catches.
It didn't bother Nate Ilaoa, either. The Hawaii running back scored three times and amassed 210 yards receiving and rushing.
"It's good. It felt like I was playing back in Virginia (where he went to high school)," Ilaoa said. "After you run around a couple times you don't really feel it."
Reunion: Hawaii left guard Hercules Satele and Utah State punter/quarterback Leon Jackson III were teammates at prep powerhouse Long Beach (Calif.) Poly. They exchanged pleasantries after the game.
"I looked for him on the sideline after one of Nate's long runs, but couldn't find him," Satele said. "After the game he said he'll see us in Hawaii next year. I said 'Bring it all you want, we'll be ready.'"