'The Gregs' get going when things get tough


POSTED: Saturday, September 05, 2009

When all else failed against scrappy Central Arkansas, the Gregs delivered.

The Greg Alexander-to-Greg Salas connection jump-started the Hawaii offense at several key points in last night's narrow 25-20 win over the Bears at Aloha Stadium.

And no play was larger than what the quarterback and slotback delivered at the most crucial juncture of the game, when the Warriors were nearly undone with their third lost fumble of the game in the fourth quarter.

It was Greg-to-Greg that bailed UH out on its next possession.

A mobile Alexander tossed a short pass to Salas near the left sideline at midfield, and the 6-foot-2 junior saw open field ahead. He caught a couple of key blocks by teammates, then crossed up the defense at the Bears' 30 when he switched hands and ran to the opposite sideline. He was finally pushed out at the UCA 8, which set up Alexander's strike to Rodney Bradley for the final go-ahead score.

“;It was tiring,”; Salas said with a smile as he walked off the field. “;It was a play I was supposed to come across the middle, but I saw Greg get (flushed) out of the pocket, so I broke my route off and went outside while he was scrambling. He hit me and it's history now. That's what happened.”;

Salas finished with seven catches for 180 yards and a first-half touchdown, and another pair of huge grabs by the junior slotback set up the Warriors' other two TDs.

“;He had a great game. That's kind of what we expect out of Salas,”; Alexander said. “;He does a great job for us, and came up big again tonight. He's a kind of good security blanket to have.”;

Deep Salas grabs kick-started the UH offense in both halves.

A 61-yard drive featuring Greg to Greg was really all that went right in the first half. Alexander hit Salas for a 44-yard pass—on which Salas earned a solid 20 yards-after-catch—to advance the ball to the Bears' 2. Three plays later the QB hit the slotback with a touchdown lob on the run to the right for UH's only score of the half.

Salas had 70 of UH's 132 receiving yards at halftime.

“;A lot of things went bad for us (early), but none of us really worried about it or stressed out,”; Salas said. “;We knew we've been doing it all summer, all spring, all fall. So we stuck with it and we knew once we got rolling, we'd be on a roll.”;

After the UH defense forced a three and out on UCA to open the second half, Salas snatched a 37-yard toss up the middle to advance it to the UCA 25. He followed with a 7-yarder to help set up Alexander's TD strike to Kealoha Pilares, which put UH ahead 16-14 with 8:47 left in the third.

The Bears' secondary did a solid job of staying with the UH receivers for most of the night, forcing Alexander to scramble 16 times (netting 76 yards) when he didn't see an opening. Salas was usually his best option, as he represented a third of UH's 21 completions.