DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Ryan Grice-Mullins of Hawaii caught passes totalling 195 yards, a career best.
Hawaii’s little lion cures the dropsies
Ryan Grice-Mullins found inspiration during the recent bye week in the form of a lion.
"I went to see 'The Lion King' and got a little Simba action," Grice-Mullins said. "That was my motivation."
Trying his best impersonation of the famous mammal, Grice-Mullins was the most lively and active Warrior receiver last night, recording a career-high 195 receiving yards and three touchdowns in Hawaii's 50-13 victory over New Mexico State.
"His number was called tonight," receivers coach Ron Lee said. "He dropped a couple or he would have had over 200 (yards)."
Hawaii hadn't played in 15 days and Grice-Mullins showed some early rust with three uncharacteristic drops in the first half.
He was still Colt Brennan's favorite target as he hauled in seven passes for 113 yards and two TDs before halftime.
Twice, he had drops on simple out routes where nobody was within 5 yards of him.
"It's something I don't do," Grice-Mullins said. "I was too anxious to get up field and start running. I've got to catch it first."
But it was basically the same route that Grice-Mullins scored his second touchdown on as he finally held onto the ball and found plenty of room in front of him to scamper down the sidelines for the 42-yard score.
That play was the perfect example of what distinguishes the junior standout from other receivers, according to Lee.
"He's so fast," Lee said. "That was just a 3-yard route and like that he took it all the way."
His three scores moved him past Ashley Lelie into a tie for fifth place on the school list for career touchdowns with 33.
He also moved into the top five in receiving yards (2,950) and receptions (197), in which he also passed Lelie.
When Grice-Mullins arrived at Hawaii, the current San Francisco 49er was near the top of nearly every major statistical receiving category.
"I heard so much about him and watched some film of him," Grice-Mullins said. "He's a first-round draft pick, so it's a nice accomplishment."
By the time Grice-Mullins is done, Lelie's name will be much farther down the list.
Even more amazing than the actual numbers he has put up is the fact that Grice-Mullins has accomplished them in just 30 games (Lelie played 36).
With five more to go this season, and assuming he returns for his senior year, it's scary to think what the numbers may end up being, even though it's the furthest thing from his mind.
"To tell you the truth I have never been a record guy," Grice-Mullins said. "I'm sure when I'm done and get a chance to look back on them it'll be nice, but I'm just enjoying the winning."
It shouldn't be a surprise to anyone that wins are what drives him. He never experienced the feeling during his senior year at Rialto (Calif.) High School -- his team went 0-10.
"Trust me, records don't mean anything if you're not winning," he said. "I experienced it first hand."