Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Monday, October 13, 1997



Hawaii O-line makes it
look oh so easy

THEY scored on three long drives, including the Mother of All Drives -- a 99-yarder that lasted seven minutes and 55 seconds.

The star running back gained a season-high 143 yards.

The sophomore quarterback passed with pin-point accuracy, completing 11 of 15 passes with no interceptions.

The offensive line didn't give up a sack.

The defense recorded four sacks, had a great goal-line stand and didn't give up a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter, when the game was already a wrap.

The Fresno State Bulldogs?

Wrong.

The University of Hawaii Rainbows.

You had to see it to believe it. Unfortunately, not many saw Hawaii's 28-16 upset over Fresno State Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.

Not that the Rainbows could blame the fair-weather fans after a 63-0 loss at Colorado State the previous week.

"We had to step up and make a statement. And I think we did," quarterback Josh Skinner said.

Fresno State coach Pat Hill said his Bulldogs, 11-point favorites, were out-played and out-coached.

Defensively, the Rainbows bottled up Mike Pittman, one of the WAC's top runners, limiting him to 48 yards on 16 carries.

Offensively, the plan was to keep things basic for Skinner. And to keep the tight ends in as bodyguards against Fresno State's pass rush, which set a school record with 12 sacks against Utah a week earlier.

The Rainbows were bent on running the ball to keep the blitz-minded Bulldogs honest.

"It's not as profitable to blitz if you're able to run the ball inside the tackle box and make some yards," vonAppen said.

And Charles Tharp did. He enjoyed a great coming-out party with 143 yards -- a career best that should only get better, considering he's only a freshman.

MAKING it all possible was the oft-maligned offensive line, which had its best performance of the season. For once it won the battle at the line of scrimmage.

This wasn't against Cal State-Northridge. This was against a good Fresno State team that whipped Utah and lost to Oregon in overtime.

Center Shane Oliveira, guards Conrad Paulo and Gary Krug and tackles Adrian Klemm and Kaulana Noa deserve a great measure of credit for the victory, as do the tight ends who stayed in to block.

"We prepared for it (Fresno State's pass rush) the whole week," said Noa, a sophomore who started all 12 games as a redshirt freshman last season. "For the first time, we established a running game and kept them honest. And that long drive -- 99 yards -- kind of took the wind out of them. That's an O-lineman's dream."

"We tried to put a body on everybody and keep them out of the sack mode," said Klemm, also a sophomore. "It's pretty fun. Linemen like it when we run the ball and we ran the entire game."

"We did pretty much what we wanted to do on the ground against them," Tharp said. "They (the offensive linemen) did a great job. We had a challenge from our coaches for the offense to step it up and make some things happen in the run game; make some time for Josh at the line. I think everybody did a great job and stepped up."

Said Skinner of the offensive line:"They worked their tails off, that's for sure. That win's definitely theirs."



Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.




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