DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii held New Mexico State running back Justine Buries to 26 yards on 10 carries last night at Aloha Stadium.
House throws the first punch
Davon House made one of New Mexico State's most spectacular plays of the game in last night's 50-13 loss to Hawaii.
Too bad for the Aggies that it didn't have any bearing on the outcome at Aloha Stadium.
It was the first play from scrimmage when House cut in front of Hawaii's C.J. Hawthorne and picked off a long pass from Heisman Trophy candidate Colt Brennan.
The visitors from Las Cruces, N.M., couldn't capitalize on the turnover, though, and things went downhill from there for the Aggies, who hung around on the scoreboard for a while (29-13 midway through the third quarter), even though the impending loss was evident as Hawaii steadily pulled away.
The Aggies also failed to take advantage of another turnover, safety Alex Bernard's fumble recovery early in the second quarter when a 13-0 deficit was still manageable and punching home a score could have been a momentum builder.
"Not doing anything with those turnovers was indicative of our whole night," NMSU coach Hal Mumme said. "We did not play together as a team at all. We'd have 10 guys out there playing and one who didn't want to play. Or we'd have somebody that didn't want to make a hit or a block or didn't want to catch the ball.
"We played offense a little. We played defense a little. And we got our asses kicked by a great football team. There's no excuses. It was bad coaching and bad playing."
NMSU's early turnover machine, however, dried up the rest of the way.
"Those two turnovers were very good, and if we had been able to score (off of them) or if we got some more as the game went along, it probably would have made a difference," said Aggies starting noseguard Ray Manumaleuna, who played his high school ball for Kahuku and was part of the 2000 state championship team.
Manumaleuna limped toward the north end zone after the game, trying to shake off the bumps and bruises after the rough outing. He was smiling, happy to be home, but also disappointed.
"Coach told us that we didn't perform to our best and that he doesn't want to hear excuses," Manumaleuna said. "Hawaii is a good team and they played better than us. We gave it our all, but now it's time to focus on Nevada (on Friday night). We're trying to make a bowl game and we need to win three more games to do it. We've gotta regroup.
"It was a privilege to come back here and play. I thought I'd never be able to come back and play here. A lot of family and friends came to the game, and (the rest) of the fans were good to us, but it would have been great to win it."
Dylan Moss, who played linebacker at Saint Louis, was in on special teams for the Aggies last night. He also got some time at his new position this season -- fullback -- at the end of the game.
"I wasn't going to play much at linebacker this year, so the coaches gave me an opportunity to switch over. I looked at that as a green light to get on the field more.
"It was a dream of mine to come back and play here. It sucks that we didn't do better than this. We did the best we could, but it could have been better. Coach told us that we're responsible for our own actions, but to keep our head up."