JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Colt Brennan and his Hawaii teammates cheered when they learned their fate yesterday.
Next up: New Orleans
Warriors to take show under the dome
STORY SUMMARY »
They did it the hard way, but the Hawaii Warriors are headed to the Big Easy.
The Warriors will play the Bulldogs in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic
No. 10 Hawaii (12-0) vs. No. 4 Georgia (10-2)
When: Jan. 1, 2008
Where: Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans
TV: KHON, Ch. 3
Radio: KKEA, 1420-AM
UH had to win every game on its 12-game schedule to earn its first BCS bowl game appearance and the $4.5 to 5 million payday that goes with it.
No. 10 Hawaii (12-0) will play fourth-ranked Georgia (10-2) in the Allstate Sugar Bowl, Jan. 1 at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. The Warriors got first-place votes in all three polls yesterday, and moved up to 10th in the BCS standings.
A crowd of around 7,000 at the Stan Sheriff Center at UH, including the Warriors team, cheered wildly as the announcement was made on Fox's BCS show yesterday afternoon.
"It's not just about our team, it's about our whole state," coach June Jones said.
It will be UH's second mainland bowl game; in 1992, the Rainbows beat Illinois in the Holiday Bowl in San Diego.
JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Colt Brennan, who threw for 442 yards and five touchdowns Saturday, said yesterday that he is excited to see what the prolific Hawaii offense can do indoors in the Sugar Bowl.
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This is one road game in which Hawaii won't have to worry about the weather.
UH finished the regular season ranked 10th and as the nation's only unbeaten team at 12-0, and was rewarded yesterday with an invitation to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans on Jan. 1.
Hawaii will play fourth-ranked Georgia (10-2), a classic SEC powerhouse (although it failed to reach the conference championship game). The Bulldogs were installed as early 8-point favorites.
One thing the Warriors have going for them is the nation's highest-scoring offense. UH's four-receiver attack generated 46.2 points per game this season.
Georgia's defense is 19th in the nation in yards allowed, yielding 324.7 per game against a schedule including a gauntlet of tough conference foes.
The Sugar Bowl is played in the Louisiana Superdome, and quarterback Colt Brennan likes that idea. Brennan thinks the Warrior offense can heat up even more in the dry, room-temperature climate of the dome.
"I haven't been to New Orleans and I'm excited about it, especially playing in that dome," Brennan said after yesterday's announcement. "So many great games have been played there. I can't imagine how this offense will run indoors."
Not that the Warriors haven't taken care of business in poor conditions. It rained quite a bit during UH's comeback victory Saturday at Aloha Stadium when Hawaii beat Washington 35-28.
Brennan completed 42 of 50 passes for 442 yards and five touchdowns. The effort may have punched his ticket to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York on Saturday. He finds out Wednesday.
The senior from Irvine, Calif., was more interested in talking about the team and its series of close victories.
Last season the Warriors may have been more talented. But they went 11-3, with the three losses by eight or fewer points.
"I think last year is the real reason we've won these close battles this year," Brennan said. "Losses last year taught us how to win this year. And that's what football's all about."
Brennan received the Alec Waterhouse Most Valuable Player Award at the team's banquet last night at the Sheraton Waikiki. He also took home the Warrior Club award for offense.
Senior defensive tackle Mike Lafaele won the Ben Yee Most Inspirational Award and freshman running back Kealoha Pilares got the Scholar-Athlete Award.
Captains Awards went to senior left guard Hercules Satele, senior cornerback Myron Newberry and junior special teams standout Guyton Galdeira.
Junior linebacker Adam Leonard and senior special teams star Timo Paepule won the other Warrior Club awards.
Junior quarterback Jake Santos, freshman defensive end Elliot Purcell and freshman special teams player Kenny Estes captured the Scout Team honors.
The Warriors are planning on leaving for New Orleans on Christmas Day and returning to Hawaii on Jan. 2.
The team's practice schedule had not been set yesterday. For those interested in tickets to the game, go to the Web site HawaiiAthletics.com and click on the Sugar Bowl link.
Safeties plan to be healed
Senior starting strong safety Jake Patek said a month is plenty of time for his re-aggravated ankle sprain to heal. He is one of the few Warriors who was hoping for the Sugar Bowl rather than the Rose Bowl or Fiesta Bowl.
"I've got a lot of family and friends who are going to try to make it," Patek said. "On the West Coast it might not have been that way."
Patek sprained his right ankle in UH's victory over Boise State and hurt it again trying to block a field goal against Washington. Starting free safety Desmond Thomas injured his hip, but also said four weeks will be plenty of time to recover. Keao Monteilh, the former starter at free safety, has been out with a broken shoulder blade. He said Saturday he might be able to play in the bowl game.
The injuries to Thomas and Patek, as well as one to top backup Dane Porlas, came very early in the game. That left the safety spots to rarely used Erik Robinson and cornerback Ryan Mouton. Both rose to the challenge, especially Mouton, whose interception with 3 seconds left sealed the win.
"I've really got a lot of respect for Ryan going out there and playing out of position and making several tackles and making things happen," Patek said. "E-Rob and Ryan showed that no one is irreplaceable. Everyone's here to contribute to the team and you never know when it will be your time."
Five big plays from Hawaii's 35-28
win over Washington
Chosen and described by the
Star-Bulletin's Dave Reardon
1. Bad penalty
The Setup: Washington 0, Hawaii 0, around 13:40 remaining, first quarter, Washington ball, third and 4 at midfield.
The Play: DB Ryan Mouton stops QB Jake Locker for a 4-yard gain, 4 yards short of a first down on the first possession of the game. But Hawaii broke the huddle with 12 players, resulting in a substitution penalty, giving Washington a first down and negating the three and out.
The Impact: Washington takes advantage of the break, and Locker runs for 22 yards on the next play. Five snaps later he scores from 8 yards out. Washington dominates the first quarter, building a 21-0 lead.
Hawaii linebacker Blaze Soares: "We came out flat, we came out real flat. I think we came out too complacent. Then we all talked to each other and asked who wanted it more."
2. Halftime momentum
The Setup: Washington 28, Hawaii 14, 0:21 remaining, second quarter, Hawaii ball, first and 10 at Washington 13.
The Play: WR Jason Rivers scores his third touchdown on a pass from QB Colt Brennan in the second quarter alone, this one a 13-yarder.
The Impact: Hawaii battled back in the second quarter after losing three fumbles in the opening period. Brennan completed a school-record 20 passes in a row, going 16-for-16 in the second quarter.
Brennan: "What we were doing earlier was working, but we were fumbling and not executing fully. We went back to what we knew we could do and we threw some touchdowns."
3. Over the line?
The Setup: Washington 28, Hawaii 28, 4:21 remaining, fourth quarter, Washington ball, third and 15 at Hawaii 46.
The Play: Locker rolls out and throws a complete pass to Quintin Daniels for an apparent first down. But Locker is ruled to have released the ball beyond the line of scrimmage. The play is called back and the ball placed at the 50.
The Impact: Washington punts and Davone Bess returns 13 yards to the Hawaii 24, setting up Hawaii's go-ahead drive, in which Brennan completes six of six passes.
Washington coach Ty Willingham: "I couldn't see it, but it was probably fitting for all the calls we had tonight."
4. Colt's call
The Setup: Washington 28, Hawaii 21, 0:49 remaining, fourth quarter, Hawaii ball, second and goal at Washington 5.
The Play: During a Washington timeout, Brennan gets permission to change coach June Jones' running play to a pass. Brennan then hits SB Ryan Grice-Mullins for a 5-yard touchdown.
The Impact: After a scoreless third quarter, Brennan's fifth scoring pass gives Hawaii its first lead. It is the fourth time this year Hawaii scores the winning points in overtime or the final minute of regulation, and it is the third game in a row Hawaii overcomes a second-half deficit.
Jones: "I had called a run play, but Colt said that he knew (Washington) would be in man and wanted to call a 'go' route, so we went with it."
5. Mouton saves it
The Setup: Hawaii 35, Washington 28, 0:12 remaining, fourth quarter, Washington ball, second and goal at Hawaii 6.
The Play: Washington doesn't give up, with Locker throwing two passes to get to the Hawaii 4. But Locker's final pass is tipped and Mouton intercepts it in the end zone.
The Impact: Mouton, normally a cornerback playing out of position at safety because of injuries to Desmond Thomas, Jake Patek and Dane Porlas, seals Hawaii's victory and 12-0 unbeaten record.
Mouton: "Everyone has to know what everyone does, in case we have to fill in or whatever. We know we can get the job done no matter who's out there."
2007-08 Bowl Schedule
Subject to change; all times Hawaii time
At San Diego
Utah (8-4) vs. Navy (8-4), 4 p.m. (ESPN)
New Orleans Bowl
At New Orleans
Florida Atlantic (7-5) vs. Memphis (6-5), 3 p.m. (ESPN2)
At Birmingham, Ala.
Cincinnati (9-3) vs. Southern Miss (7-5), 8 a.m. (ESPN2)
New Mexico Bowl
New Mexico (8-4) vs. Nevada (6-6), 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Las Vegas Bowl
At Las Vegas
BYU (10-2) vs. UCLA (6-6), 3 p.m. (ESPN)
East Carolina (7-5) vs. Boise State (10-2), 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Motor City Bowl
Central Michigan (8-5) vs. Purdue (7-5), 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
At San Diego
Arizona State (10-2) vs. Texas (9-3), 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Champ Sports Bowl
At Orlando, Fla.
Boston College (10-3) vs. Michigan State (7-5), noon (ESPN)
At San Francisco
Maryland (6-6) vs. Oregon State (8-4), 3 p.m. (ESPN)
TCU (7-5) vs. Houston (8-4), 3 p.m. (NFL)
At Charlotte, N.C.
Connecticut (9-3) vs. Wake Forest (8-4), 8 a.m. (ESPN)
At Memphis, Tenn.
Mississippi State (7-5) vs. UCF (10-3), 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
At San Antonio
Penn State (8-4) vs. Texas A&M (7-5), 3 p.m. (ESPN)
At Shreveport, La.
Colorado (6-6) vs. Alabama (6-6), 3 p.m. (ESPN)
Armed Forces Bowl
At Fort Worth, Texas
California (6-6) vs. Air Force (9-3), 7:30 a.m. (ESPN)
At El Paso, Texas
South Florida (9-3) vs. Oregon (8-4), 9 a.m. (KGMB)
At Boise, Idaho
Fresno State (8-4) vs. Georgia Tech (7-5), 9 a.m. (ESPN2)
Music City Bowl
At Nashville, Tenn.
Florida State (7-5) vs. Kentucky (7-5), 11 a.m. (ESPN)
Clemson (9-3) vs. Auburn (8-4), 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
At Tempe, Ariz.
Indiana (7-5) vs. Oklahoma State (6-6), 2:30 p.m. (NFL)
At Tampa, Fla.
Wisconsin (9-3) vs. Tennessee (9-4), 6 a.m. (ESPN)
Missouri (11-2) vs. Arkansas (8-4), 6:30 a.m. (KHON)
Capital One Bowl
At Orlando, Fla.
Michigan (8-4) vs. Florida (9-3), 8 a.m. (KITV)
At Jacksonville, Fla.
Virginia (9-3) vs. Texas Tech (8-4), 8 a.m. (KGMB)
At Pasadena, Calif.
Southern California (10-2) vs. Illinois (9-3), noon (KITV
At New Orleans
Hawaii (12-0) vs. Georgia (10-2), 3:30 p.m. (KHON)
At Glendale, Ariz.
West Virginia (10-2) vs. Oklahoma (11-2), 3 p.m. (KHON)
Kansas (11-1) vs. Virginia Tech (11-2), 3 p.m. (KHON)
Rutgers (8-4) vs. Ball State (7-5), 7 a.m. (ESPN2)
At Mobile, Ala.
Tulsa (9-4) vs. Bowling Green (8-4), 3 p.m. (ESPN)
BCS National Championship
At New Orleans
Ohio State (11-1) vs. LSU (11-2), 3 p.m. (KHON)