Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Thursday, October 30, 1997

Falcon players
only down in the mouth

I had to chuckle after reading a postgame comment by Air Force linebacker Jeff Mohr following the Falcons' 25-22 upset loss at San Jose State Saturday.

"I'm sure they (the University of Hawaii Rainbows) think they can ambush us over there, too, the way we've been playing," Mohr said. "Shoot, they're probably licking their chops . . . They'll be ready to jump all over us. It's easy to kick a guy when he's down, and we're down."

Excuse me? Down?

Sorry, Future Fly Boys of America, but you guys don't know what down means. Losing two straight games after a 7-0 start and a No. 18 ranking in the Associated Press poll isn't down.

You might be experiencing some mild turbulence. It might be time for you to put your seatback in the upright position. And time to fasten your seat belt loosely around your waist. But down it's not.

I'll tell you what down is. Down is losing five of your last six games.

Down is not scoring a touchdown the last two games.

Down is getting sacked on fourth-and-goal at the 3-yard line.

Down is losing 19 straight Western Athletic Conference road games since 1992, and losing 12 of 16 at home in the WAC since the 1994 season.

Down is playing before some 25,000 empty seats at Aloha Stadium.

I could list 27 "downs," and I don't mean first downs.

That, by the way, is the number of first downs the Rainbows had without scoring a touchdown in losing to San Diego State last week.

LOSING 10-3 to the Aztecs -- whom Hawaii hasn't beaten this decade -- is also a downer, especially since UH had allowed an average of 47.2 points a game to SDSU in seven previous losses.

The only touchdown in the game came in the first four minutes, causing UH coach Fred vonAppen to wonder what might have happened if the Aztecs hadn't scored that TD, or if the Rainbows could have tied the game.

"We'd probably still be playing," vonAppen said at the Monday Quarterback Club. And, he added tongue-in-cheek, there's no truth to the rumor that the NCAA is planning to investigate the UH football program for point-shaving.

So Jeff, you and your Falcon teammates shouldn't feel down. You can still finish 10-2 since you play Army and Wyoming at home after leaving here. Not that you have to play at home to win, having won 11 of your last 15 WAC road games.

So meet the team that's really down -- the Rainbows. Try not to kick them too hard while they're down. And don't go around licking your chops. Even if it might be the easy thing to do.

YOU guys are 1112-point favorites in Saturday night's game at Aloha Stadium, which should be half-full, showing you what an optimist I am.

I think that's a lot of points. At first I thought that was the over-and-under line -- the total number of points bookies figure will be scored in a game. But some of my friends, who are into such things, said that they've never heard of an over-and-under lower than 30. But then, they've never seen the Rainbows play.

It would be great if the Rainbows could finally score a touchdown or two. With both teams struggling offensively, the team that scores touchdowns should win.

This year, Air Force's motto is "Just Win."

Lately, the Rainbows' motto has been "Just Score."

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

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