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UH improves on third down


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POSTED: Monday, October 27, 2008

In the wake of a stirring win over Nevada, Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin reiterated that he “;could care less about stats.”;

But one he does pay close attention to is third-down conversions.

“;That's one of the stats I am interested in,”; McMackin said.

The Warriors' ability to reverse a season-long trend of trouble on third-down conversions certainly played a role in their dramatic 38-31 Western Athletic Conference win over Nevada on Saturday.

The Warriors converted a season-high 50 percent of their third-down opportunities against the Wolf Pack, going 7-for-14 in the game and converting on six of nine chances in the second half. The defense, meanwhile, held Nevada to 31 percent.

Included in those six was the game's decisive play, a 24-yard touchdown pass from Greg Alexander to Malcolm Lane with 20 seconds left.

Hawaii entered the game last in the WAC and near the bottom of the national rankings at just under 26 percent on third downs. But they were able to sustain drives in the second half in winning a shootout with the WAC's highest-scoring team.

“;You always want to do well on third down,”; UH offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. “;But when you're playing well, a lot of those things fall into place.

“;Definitely, that helps when you stay on the field. It's overall the way we played that did it.”;

The Warriors went 1-for-5 in the first half, the exception coming on the final play of the first quarter when starting quarterback Inoke Funaki scrambled and dove for the marker on a 13-yard gain on third and 12. The drive culminated with a touchdown pass from Funaki to Mike Washington to put the Warriors up 14-7.

Though not as nimble as Funaki, Alexander—who passed for 205 yards in operating the offense for all but one possession in the second half—also escaped the Nevada pass rush to run for two third-down conversions, including a 10-yard scamper on third and 9 to extend UH's game-winning drive.

“;I just want to make a play and get positive yards,”; the 6-foot-3, 230-pound Alexander said. “;I'd rather be throwing though.”;

When he did throw, Alexander was 6-for-7 on third-down plays—although two came up short of the marker—and hit Lane for the winning score on a third and 1.

“;He played me bump-and-run, man,”; Lane said of Nevada cornerback Mike Evans.

“;Any wide receiver loves that—it's a challenge, it's one-on-one.”;

Lane had also been fairly quiet leading up to Saturday's game, with six catches over the previous four games. He matched that total against Nevada and led the Warriors with 178 all-purpose yards, including 115 on kickoff returns.

The effort was part of UH's highest point output of the season. The Warriors had averaged just over seven points in the second half of their games this season. They put up 24 after the break on Saturday, including 14 in the final period after going scoreless in the fourth quarter in the previous five games.

“;One thing I like was the fact that when (the defense) had a chance to win the game we didn't really do it and the offense had our back,”; senior linebacker Solomon Elimimian said. “;That's how you win as a team.”;

 

Leonard's hurting

UH defensive tackle Josh Leonard is questionable for Saturday's game against Utah State. Leonard, who has started every game this season, suffered a sprained ankle late in the fourth quarter against Nevada and left the stadium on crutches.

“;I'm hoping he can play, but right now it's questionable,”; McMackin said. “;It depends how fast he can recover.”;

Linebacker Adam Leonard played most of the game with a broken finger, but still had nine tackles and is expected to play this week.

 

Hitting the road

Hawaii embarks on its last and longest road trip of the season this week at 4-4 overall and 3-2 in WAC play, three wins away from securing a bowl berth with five regular-season dates left.

The Warriors depart Thursday to begin a two-game mainland swing starting with Saturday's game at Utah State (1-7, 1-3) in Logan. They'll spend the following week in El Paso, Texas, and close the road schedule at nearby New Mexico State on Nov. 8.

Utah State was on the other end of a last-second thriller over the weekend as a 58-yard field goal as time expired gave Fresno State a 30-28 win over the Aggies.

 

Special again

The Warriors special teams units turned in one of their most complete all-around performances of the season on Saturday. Lane took over kickoff return duties and ripped off runs of 45 and 47 yards, and Aaron Bain had 25 yards on three punt returns.

Punter Tim Grasso averaged 45.8 yards on six kicks, his net aided by JoPierre Davis, who downed two punts inside the Nevada 5.

“;We never had field position,”; Nevada coach Chris Ault said. “;It's very difficult to win the game playing from inside the 5.”;


Team Statistics

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

HawaiiOPP
FIRST DOWNS141160
Rushing4774
Passing7871
Penalty1615
RUSHING YARDAGE8281,465
Yards gained rushing1,0771,693
Yards lost rushing249228
Rushing attempts243310
Average per rush3.44.7
Average per game103.5183.1
Touchdowns rushing815
PASSING YARDAGE1,7801,604
Att-Comp-Int269-152-19245-134-7
Average per pass6.66.5
Average per catch11.712.0
Average per game222.5200.5
Touchdowns passing1112
TOTAL OFFENSE2,6083,069
Total plays512555
Average per game326.0383.6
KICK RETURNS: No-Yds43-85229-642
PUNT RETURNS: No-Yds15-2117-213
INT. RETURNS: No-Yds7-6119-202
FUMBLES-LOST17-717-9
PENALTIES-YARDS69-61560-484
PUNTS-Yards42-1,64335-1,523
TIME OF POSSESION/GAME30:5829:02
3RD-DOWN CONVERSIONS30/10340/119
4TH-DOWN CONVERSIONS4/810/17
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
RUSHING

GAttNetAvgTDLong
Pilares7452365.2434
Libre7522144.1116
Funaki8681922.8133
Wright-Jackson826973.7116
Rego814765.4019
Farmer55306.019
Washington8294.5012
Alexander31960.3013
Mouton810000
Rausch11-4-4.000
Peoples42-5-2.500
Graunke45-20-4.002
Total82438283.4834
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
PASSING

GAttCompIntYdsTDLong
Funaki815789121,072653
Graunke458304388342
Alexander347312306229
Rausch17211409
Total824513471,6041277
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
RECEIVING

GRecYdsAvgTDLong
Washington83740010.8339
Salas82741615.4241
Bain8232279.9233
Lane81627917.4353
Pilares7161408.8123
Wright-Jackson810707.0020
Libre77365.1016
Mouton855811.6018
Medeiros65479.4024
Pollard535919.7029
Taylor423819.0026
Farmer511010.0010
Total81521,78011.71153
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
TOTAl OFFENSE

GPlaysRushPassTotAvg
Funaki82251921,0721,264158.0
Graunke463-2038836892.0
Alexander3666306312104.0
Pilares745236023633.7
Libre752214021430.6
Wright-Jackson8269709712.1Rego814760769.5
Farmer55300306.0
Rausch18-4141010.0
Washington829091.1
Peoples42-50-5-1.2
Total85128281,7802,608326.0
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
SCORING

TDFG1XP2XPTot
Kelly0819043
Pilares500030
Washington300120
Lane300018
Salas200012
Bain200012
Mouton10006
Funaki10006
Wright-Jackson10006
Libre10006
Farmer10006
Fonoti10006
Graunke00010
Total218191171
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
PUNTING

No.YdsAvgLong
Grasso411,64240.055
TEAM111.01
Total421,64339.155
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
PUNT RETURNS

No.YdsAvgTDLong
Washington12-4-0.303
Bain3258.3012
Total15211.4012
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
KICK RETURNS

No.YdsAvgTDLong
Mouton2451421.4190
Taylor913414.9030
Lane818723.4047
Allen-Jones1-2-2.000
Farmer11919.0019
Total4385219.8190
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
TACKLES

GUTATTot
Elimimian8312960
Veikune8311546
Dowling8261541
Satele8251641
Leonard, A.7221638
Fonoti8211637
Robinson8211435
Roberts828634
Monteilh8171330
Mouton821728
Leonard, J.8161127
Watson810919
Thomas810919
Kiesel-Kauhane811718
Allen-Jones88412
Silva8729
Tufaga8538
Rego8224
Smith8314
Davis8213
Kafentzis8123
Laeli6213
Ahmad7303
Ingram8303
Porlas8303
Lolotai8303
Meatoga8123
Purcell8112
Washington8202
Clore6202
Bryant3202
Savaiigaea1011
Wong1101
Watson2101
Funaki8101
Salas8101
Kelly8101
Torres4101
Maka2101
Libre7011
Kia7011
Total8347207554

MISC.
Sacks (No.-Yds): Veikune 2-17, Satele 1-16, Fonoti 1-13, Elimimi.an 1.5-9, Leonard 1-8, Robinson 1-8, Mouton 1-7, Allen-Jones 1-7, Dowling 1-3, Kiesel-Kauhane 0.5-1. Total: 11-89.
Interceptions (No.-Yds.): Monteilh 3-13, Thomas 1-24, Bryant 1-11, Roberts 1-9, Satele 1-4. Total: 7-61.
Fumbles (Forced-Recovered): Fonoti 2-13, Dowling 1-7, Thomas 1-0, Kiesel-Kauhane 1-0, Tufaga 1-0, Rego 1-0, Elimimian 1-0, Roberts 1-0. Total: 9-20.
Blocked kicks: Watson, Mahaley. Total: 2.