SHERATON HAWAI'I BOWL
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan was mobbed by fans last night during the last two minutes of the Warriors' Hawaii Bowl win over Arizona State at Aloha Stadium.
Colt gets his gift
» The quarterback breaks the touchdown record as UH wins the Hawaii Bowl
» The Warriors end their season with a 41-24 victory against the Arizona State Sun Devils, capped by Brennan's five touchdown passes
If this was Colt Brennan's final game at the University of Hawaii, he went out in style.
The junior quarterback for the Warriors broke the NCAA Division I single-season record for touchdown passes in yesterday's 41-24 Hawaii Bowl win over Arizona State.
Brennan broke the record that had been held by University of Houston quarterback David Klingler, who threw 54 touchdown passes for the Cougars, including seven against Arizona State in the final game of the 1990 season.
Brennan managed only five versus the Sun Devils 16 years later in yesterday's win, but it allowed him to finish with 58 touchdown passes for the season.
An Aloha Stadium gathering of 40,623 -- the largest in the five-year history of the bowl game -- watched as the Warriors finished the year at 11-3, tying the school record for most victories in a season, set in 1992. It is the fourth victory in five bowl games for Hawaii in June Jones' eight seasons as coach.
It might also be the final college game for Brennan, who finished sixth in Heisman Trophy balloting. He threw five touchdown passes and surpassed 5,000 yards for the season with 559 yesterday.
Brennan will announce his plans after receiving feedback from the NFL advisory board on in what round he might be drafted.
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Warriors give fans tidings of joy
Today must feel like the second coming of Christmas, because it sure felt like Christmas for 8-year-old football fanatic Noah Thomas at the Hawaii Bowl yesterday.
Noah, along with his parents and grandparents, attended their second game of the season at yesterday's Hawaii Bowl as an early Christmas treat.
"We just thought it'd be a great way to celebrate the holidays," said 40-year-old Sherri Thomas, of Mililani, who has not missed watching a game on TV. "I just finished Christmas shopping Friday night. It's over, and this is our early Christmas present to ourselves."
Parking at Aloha Stadium and three other areas opened up five hours before the game against the Arizona State University Sun Devils started, and the Thomas family was among thousands to take advantage of the head start.
Many residents got an early start for the game, setting up their canopies for tailgate parties. All hoped to beat the traffic.
Sure enough, there was plenty of space for Warriors fans to crack open a beer, play some parking lot football, blast Christmas CDs and kick up their legs to wind down from the holiday stress.
The Thomas family expressed hope that star quarterback Colt Brennan does not leave next year, especially since he has become Noah's role model.
"They represented the state very well this season," Sherri Thomas said. "We look forward to next year, and let's hope Colt doesn't leave us."
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Fans congratulated Colt Brennan yesterday after the UH quarterback threw his last touchdown pass, setting a new NCAA record for touchdown passes in a season.
Yesterday gave Ed Kokubun an opportunity to have a gift exchange with his regular tailgate tag-alongs. The 56-year-old Mililani resident called the Warriors' performance this past season "their gift to us."
"The season has exceeded expectations," the season ticket holder said.
Waipahu resident Rick Santana, another season ticket holder, planned his holiday shopping and activities around the Hawaii Bowl.
"We got everything out of the way and done because we knew the game was coming," said Santana, father of four.
Usually he and about a dozen of his friends would get together and bring random foods for their tailgate parties, but they turned out to be a little more prepared. Every game, they camp out at the same spot at the back of the parking lot.
Richard Corpuz's usual holiday plan -- big dinner with the family -- was thrown out on account of the game. His family usually gets together for a Christmas Eve dinner, but everyone opted to go to the game instead.
Corpuz was camped out with his wife and 15-year-old son. When asked where the rest of the family was, he said, "Everyone's out there somewhere. It's just too much of a hassle, I guess, to coordinate something."
Corpuz said he will have fond memories of the past season, whatever the outcome of yesterday's game.
"We didn't expect them to do that well," Corpuz said. "Especially with the way they started out."
Corpuz got there early to beat the crowd, after experiencing the traffic in the last few games. He, like Cindy Kanemoto, 47, of Aiea, got their wish, finding plenty of space.
"After last time, we thought it'd be a good idea to come early," said Kanemoto, who has been watching UH football for more than 20 years. "I guess nobody else wanted to come early. There's no way to predict the traffic, though."
The longtime Warriors fan described herself as "football crazy," and would have gone rain or shine, Christmas or not, and win or lose.
"All my family's here -- my mom, my sister, brother, aunties," Kanemoto said. "I guess this is what we look forward to, just getting together."