Purcell looking for revenge
The UH D-lineman lost to Purdue when he was at Penn State
It might be a stretch to say No. 25 Hawaii is playing a revenge game against Purdue because of Boilermakers coach Joe Tiller's previous residency at Wyoming. He was the head Cowboy 10 years ago when they embarrassed UH 66-0 in Laramie.
Or maybe not. Guys like Glenn Freitas, Al Hunter and Eddie Klaneski would probably love to see some heavy payback inflicted on the Boilermakers at Aloha Stadium on Saturday.
One current Warrior doesn't need to reach too far for extra motivation. Junior defensive end Amani Purcell was on the losing end against Purdue two years ago when he was at Penn State.
Purdue improved to 5-0 when it beat Penn State, 20-13, in front of a crowd of 108,183
at Beaver Stadium in 2004.
"I just remember it was a good game and it was at home," Purcell said. "Most of the (Boilermakers) offensive linemen then were all seniors. That's when they had a pretty good team, too.
"They had a receiver, No. 21 (Taylor Stubblefield) that was pretty good. Small guy, just like how they got No. 9 (Dorien Bryant) now."
The starting left guard and left tackle from that team, Uche Nwaneri and Mike Otto, were sophomores then and are still starters on Purdue's offensive line.
Purcell's older brother, senior Melila, is the reigning WAC defensive player of the week after last Saturday's performance in UH's 54-17 victory over San Jose State.
"His play's been off the charts," Amani said of Melila, the starting left end. "I'm really proud of him."
Today, on Thanksgiving, the Purcell family, from Pago Pago, American Samoa, is grateful to be together and safe. The boys' father, also named Melila, has returned from a year of service in Iraq with the Army Reserve. He and their mother, Sauimoana, and other family members, are gathering in Hawaii for the last few games of the season.
Amani Purcell has missed the last three games with a knee injury, but looks like he might be able to return to action Saturday, adding depth to the Warriors' defensive line.
"It's still a little sore, but I guess there's only one way to find out," Purcell said, when asked if he's game-ready.
The 6-foot-3, 257-pound Purcell has 11 tackles, including a sack for 12 yards, and three quarterback hurries.
"I'm hopeful (Purcell can play)," defensive line coach Jeff Reinebold said. "He came out and pass-rushed a little bit. He can help us. He's played in the Big Ten, so he's not going to be intimidated by the size of these guys."
Reinebold, a graduate of Purdue rival Indiana, actually was a Boilermakers fan as a youngster.
"Growing up in South Bend, being a Notre Dame hater, I used to go to the stadium and watch Purdue come in, and in the '60s, beat Notre Dame on a regular basis," Reinebold said. "I have a tremendous amount of respect for that program. They'd come in with those shiny gold helmets with the block P and they'd be huge. They were always big. And they're still that way today."
Reinebold's son Zach and daughter Emi are students at Purdue.
Here's one you won't see in a game. During yesterday's practice, Colt Brennan pitched to running back Nate Ilaoa, who then lateraled to left guard Hercules Satele. Satele rolled to his right and threw a perfect pass to right tackle Dane Uperesa. Uperesa caught it in stride, 40 yards downfield.
Coach June Jones smiled.
"Perfectly legit," Brennan said. "Well, except for Dane being an ineligible receiver."
Eight is great:
When the Warriors won their eighth game in a row last week, it tied the school record for most consecutive wins in one season. The 1973 team coached by Dave Holmes won its first eight and finished 9-2.
However, UH did not become a Division I program until 1974. Hawaii teams coached by Dick Tomey in 1981 and 1984 both won seven in a row. Coincidentally, Tomey also coached San Jose State last week, the team the Warriors beat for eight in a row.
The 1980 team, also coached by Tomey, won its last four games, giving Hawaii an 11-game winning streak over the course of two seasons.
Another day, Brennan a finalist again:
Brennan is among 11 finalists announced yesterday for the Manning Award to be presented to the nation's best college quarterback.
The other finalists are: Erik Ainge (Tennessee), John David Booty (USC), Brian Brohm (Louisville), Chad Henne (Michigan), Chris Leak (Florida), Nate Longshore (California), Brady Quinn (Notre Dame), JaMarcus Russell (LSU), Troy Smith (Ohio State) and Patrick White (West Virginia).
Brennan, who leads the nation in several categories -- including touchdown passes, completion percentage and passing efficiency -- was also named Tuesday as one of three finalists for the Davey O'Brien Award, which also goes to the nation's top quarterback.