An Honest
Day’s Word

By Joe Edwards

Wednesday, October 15, 1997

BYU can be had,
if UH stays grounded

IT seems like such a long time ago that poor Carlton Oswalt missed a chip-shot field goal against Brigham Young. Has it really only been four years?

So much has happened to the Hawaii football team since then, not all of it good.

The kick that day hit the left upright and BYU drove for a field goal to beat the Rainbows, 41-38.

Oswalt should have never been on the field.

I've always believed that was a defining moment in former coach Bob Wagner's time at Manoa. Here he was just two games removed from winning the Holiday Bowl the previous season. The Rainbows had never beaten BYU in Provo and the team had just run the ball the length of the field, setting itself up for what should have been a game-winning touchdown.

It seemed so simple. The Cougars hadn't stopped a running play the entire drive. Even knuckleheads like me figured Hawaii would merely break the huddle, line up, snap the ball, hand it to Calvin Melvin and have one heckuva big smile on their faces all the way back to the islands.

Three straight incomplete passes later, people were screaming at their television sets all over the state.

So Wags put the game on the foot of a freshman kicker whose only play the rest of the day should have been to kick the last extra point in a 45-38 victory.

The football program hasn't been the same since.

Could it all start to change this weekend? I wouldn't bet my children's college fund on it, but BYU is incredibly beatable. This is a team that is last in the WAC in rushing. OK, they're second in the league in passing, but they're also two touchdowns away from being 0-5. They darn near lost to SMU, for heaven's sake.

An old football coach friend of mine once said, if you have great athletes all over the field, go ahead and run the fancy offense. If you don't, keep it simple.

Here's hoping the Rainbows stick with their ground game. Offensive linemen love to play smash-mouth and let's face it, if the big hosses up front are happy, the rest of team will follow.

Amazing how the Wahine volleyball team went on the road last week and played three straight nights. From Kalamazoo to SMU and TCU. Won all three matches.

And get this. They didn't even fly by charter. Or have a training table. How do these athletes survive, let alone thrive, under such low-budget conditions?

Game 4 of the American League Championship Series sure brought back some memories, and that's not good news for Baltimore Orioles fans.

Don't get me wrong, Scott Erickson has had a fine season and when his sinker is on, it's one of the nastiest in either league.

But I've seen this guy pitch more times that I care to remember. On Sunday I was half-lamenting the fact that Erickson was pitching for the Orioles and catcher Lenny Webster had played a key role in Baltimore's success this season.

Both men formerly played for the Minnesota Twins, the team I grew up with. Both were a couple games away from the World Series and the Twins were a couple weeks away from moving to North Carolina.

But then, Erickson gave up a couple of big hits, the score got tight and so did his throat. Webster followed by taking part in the silliest play of the playoffs so far. Arthur Rhodes relieved Erickson and threw a wild pitch. Cleveland's David Justice scored from third and made the play of the game from the seat of his pants. He slid hard into Rhodes, knocked him down and subtly kept Rhodes from retrieving the ball. Sandy Alomar scored all the way from second on the play and the momentum of the game had swung.

Yep. Same old Twins, er, Orioles.

Joe Edwards is sports editor of the Star-Bulletin.

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