SUGAR BOWL: GEORGIA VS. HAWAII
UH failed to stop Moreno and Brown
NEW ORLEANS » Hawaii defensive coordinator Greg McMackin still had his halftime speech, written on the back of a folder, clutched in his hand as he ticked off what went wrong after last night's 41-10 loss to Georgia in the Sugar Bowl.
The two key things he saw go awry early on were not being in sync and not being properly prepared to deal with the speed of the Georgia offense as running backs Thomas Brown and Knowshon Moreno ran around and through an overmatched Hawaii defense.
The two backs combined for 134 yards and three touchdowns, including two by Moreno in the opening quarter, to key a first-half onslaught Hawaii never recovered from before a sellout crowd at the Superdome.
"We had some problems with our angles and we weren't used to that kind of overall team speed," McMackin said. "I thought once we got out of the first quarter, we did a better job of tackling at the point of the block.
"Several times in the second and third quarters, I think we held them after turnovers that kind of kept us in the game, but they did a great job early on of catching us in some blitzes, that kind of thing. We didn't face anybody this year who had backs like these. Their O-line did a good job. We tried to hang in there, but this was a very good football team."
Georgia finished with a modest 334 yards as the Bulldogs' defense did as much as the offense to get the Bulldogs out front 24-3 at the half. Four interceptions and two fumbles put Hawaii on the defensive as Georgia pressured the Warriors from the outset.
Several times the defense held after the mistakes, but the big offensive line, coupled with the power of Moreno running inside and his speed on the edge, were more than the Hawaii front seven could handle.
"I can say their defense never quit, but I don't think they were used to a team like ours," Moreno said. "We were able to strike quickly and Coach (Mark Richt) told us it was important to get out on them early. I thought we did a good job of that."
UH junior linebacker Solomon Elimimian said Georgia didn't do anything Hawaii didn't expect, the Bulldogs just did a good job of executing their game plan. He and safety Jake Patek led the team in tackles with nine each. Elimimian also had one tackle for a loss of minus 3 yards.
"We knew they were going to be a good football team and we knew they were going to try to pound it in there," Elimimian said. "We just weren't in sync early on because we weren't used to that kind of speed and power.
"But once we settled down a little bit, I thought we did a lot better job. There were a couple of times we held them after turnovers that showed we never quit. That goal-line stand (after a 90-yard kickoff return by Ramarcus Brown) at the end was big for us."
"I thought our players did a good job in the second half of hanging in there and making plays," McMackin said. "If we could have gotten off to a better start, I think it would have made a difference. But when you play a team like Georgia, you have to go hard and play well the full 60 minutes. They've got a lot of talent in the SEC.
"But it shouldn't take away from what these guys accomplished this season. This is still a special group."