Colt still holds the keys to UH’s success
Watching Colt Brennan walk toward June Jones like an Iron Man participant trying to find the finish line left most at Aloha Stadium feeling a little lightheaded themselves.
The popular Hawaii quarterback took a shot from Utah State's Paul Igboeli on a pass play late in the second quarter that left Brennan lying on the fake grass for several minutes. He eventually found his feet, but it was clear he was hurting. He may have heard the roar of the crowd when Tyler Graunke completed a 36-yard pass to Davone Bess that set up the backup quarterback's 1-yard touchdown run just before half, but he didn't see it.
Brennan has taken several shots this season that left him straightening his helmet on more than one occasion. And last night was no exception, as the Utah State Aggies made it clear they're not to be confused with Northern Colorado in the 52-37 loss to the Warriors.
Prohibitive favorites, the Warriors found themselves in a tight game that had the fans a little nervous, especially when Graunke came in for Brennan in the second series of the second half. He promptly led the Warriors on a scoring drive that sealed the deal, but Brennan's durability is cause for concern.
Halfway to a possible BCS prize, you can almost see Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier leaning back in his chair and saying to the four walls in his office, "I had this planned all along." But if Brennan isn't close to 100 percent entering the second half of the season, how far can Hawaii go?
There's no question the Warriors are sizzling, as their showy 6-0 record attests. The nation's coaches, who are a key part of the BCS formula, like what Brennan and Co. are doing, even if it is against teams that are a combined 7-29. Hawaii will have a tougher time getting around the BCS computer geeks should they continue their BCS quest.
That dream lasts as long as Brennan remains upright, despite how well Graunke played against a tiring Utah State defense in the second half. The more difficult part of the schedule begins Friday night at San Jose State. The remaining six teams Hawaii faces are a combined 16-14. That's not something that guarantees a trip to the top 10, but it won't halt it if the Warriors keep hanging W's.
Before Brennan went out, there was little reason to believe that San Jose State would pull off an upset this weekend. That all changes if Brennan remains hobbled.
Texas Christian had a realistic shot of crashing the BCS party in 2000, only to fall victim to the Spartans on their home field. You can bet Dick Tomey likes his chances if Brennan's tender ankle acts up. Jones was asked earlier in the week if it wouldn't be a good idea to shelve Brennan for the Utah State game. He dispelled that notion, believing he needed his senior to secure last night's win. He didn't, but Jones couldn't have known that, and now he faces the toughest part of the schedule with Brennan one false step away from holding Graunke's clipboard. It's true the understudy saved the day last night. But saving the season is better left in Brennan's capable hands.
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org