Just another chapter in Colt’s storied career
FOR those standing in the back of the end zone, barely 15 yards away from Colt Brennan as he brought his Hawaii football team to the line of scrimmage, the excitement emanating from the 50,000 people packed into Aloha Stadium was palpable.
Most of us thought he would call a running play to set up a possible game-winning field goal by Dan Kelly. If they scored a touchdown from 5 yards out on the rush, so be it, but the run was the safe and sound thing to do.
So what did Colt do?
"I saw they were in man free and decided to go for the pass," Brennan said. "I told Coach (June Jones) that the play was there for the taking. He agreed with me and the rest is history."
Ryan Grice-Mullins caught the 5-yard touchdown pass with 44 seconds left as Hawaii took a 35-28 lead that seemed safe at the time. But the Washington Huskies weren't going to take things lying down and almost scored in the final seconds before an interception by Ryan Mouton sealed the deal.
"I knew they were going to come back; I sensed it," Brennan said. "But our defense has come up big time and time again this season. And they did it again when we needed it most. This is a team. We believed in ourselves all season, and now we're 12-0.
"On that last play, I just tried to block everything out of my mind and just execute the play. You could feel the crowd lifting us up the entire game. They never stopped believing and neither did we."
Hawaii athletic director Herman Frazier and WAC commissioner Karl Benson could have done without all the excitement, as Hawaii fell behind 21-0 early, only to keep its composure and likely secure the first BCS bid in school history. Hawaii will find out where it's going later today, but for Frazier, the 12-0 season is vindication.
"I'm so happy for our student-athletes and for June and his coaching staff," Frazier said. "You know, we captured the imagination of the entire state. Everybody screamed about our schedule. We don't want to talk about our schedule anymore. All we want to talk about now is we're going to the BCS."
BENSON IS CONVINCED no one will keep the WAC out of its second consecutive BCS bowl game. The Warriors must finish in the top 12 of the final BCS standings that will be released this afternoon at 3. It would seem unlikely that the Warriors will drop out of the top 12 after last night's win. Benson is sure of it.
"What a great comeback," Benson said. "You know, I said this was a team of destiny a month ago. I saw the San Jose State game and the Nevada game, and to see this game, what a great finish for a great team.
"It validates our league in such a big way. Unfortunately, we've got to turn our attention to one more game and hope they can do it again. This is a team that has proved they can do it. We're going to another BCS game."
Sports Editor Paul Arnett
has been covering sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1990. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org