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StarBulletin.com

Warriors hope road isn't rocky


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POSTED: Tuesday, September 08, 2009

It's been the source of years of frustration, but also the setting for some of Hawaii football's greatest triumphs.

The road.

The Warriors embarked on a 12-day trip to Washington State and UNLV this week that could shift the fortunes of this young season, for good or ill.

Traveling the minimum 2,500 miles to get to the mainland has been traditionally rough for UH, often turning road Warriors into road apples. But they'd better find a way to get comfortable this season; after last week's opening win against Central Arkansas, Hawaii goes 36 days until its next contest at Aloha Stadium.

That's the second-longest home-game drought in the country this year, narrowly behind UAB. Including the Sept. 30 date at Louisiana Tech, it's the first time in UH's Division I history that it plays three straight away games.

Senior center John Estes thinks the team is ready.

“;When you go on the road it's all about football,”; he said. “;No distractions, we're in the hotel, and around the coaches 24-7. ... It's just football the whole time and watching film and being with the guys.”;

Hawaii is 45-78-2 on the road since UH became a D-I football team in 1974, Larry Price's first year as coach. That's a winning percentage of .366.

OK, here's the good news: Hawaii has accomplished a back-to-back road sweep in two of the last three years (2006 and 2007). The bad: The Warriors split or dropped both games of consecutive road contests the other 12 times.

THE MICHAEL Carter-led Holiday Bowl and WAC championship team of 1992 offered up the only other instance of back-to-back roadie W's in the Warriors' D-I history.

That year, Hawaii kicked off the season with an impressive 24-21 win at Oregon, and followed it up a week later with a 6-3 victory in a war of attrition against Air Force.

Carter thought it helped that the Rainbows went home after their win vs. the Ducks; they had learned their lesson from the year before when UH won at Wyoming, then stayed in Chicago awaiting a game at Iowa. The No. 15 Hawkeyes pasted Hawaii 53-10 in front of 70,044—what Carter considers the toughest crowd he ever played in front of.

Another reason for success in '92, the dual-threat quarterback explained, was the team shared a special bond. It was a result of a low projected finish in the WAC and Hurricane Iniki, which hit the islands the day before the Air Force game.

“;We had a little chip on our shoulder, were ready to show some people what we had,”; Carter said. “;Our team was real close and I think (Iniki) actually helped us jell too, because there were a lot of local players away from their families, not knowing what was going to happen. They had nothing but their teammates, the coaches, to lean on.”;

UH finished 3-2 on the road that year, not including the 27-17 mainland win over Illinois in the Holiday Bowl.

In Carter's mind, a team absolutely focused on winning can overcome the time difference, the lengthy plane and bus rides and the distractions of being in a new place.

Still, it's one of only 10 Division I seasons that UH posted a winning record on the road.

SOME PLACES have been kinder to Hawaii than others.

Not coincidentally, the homes of UH's old and new rivals have been the toughest places to buy a win.

The Warriors are winless in seven tries as a D-I team at the home of their old foil, Brigham Young. And Hawaii is 0-for-4 on the blue turf of its most recent WAC tormentor, Boise State.

Until recently (wins in 2002, 2006 and 2008) success at Fresno State was also a tall order for the Warriors. (In 2004, the Bulldogs gave the Warriors a 70-14 shellacking on the heels of a 69-3 blowout loss at Boise).

But UH actually has a favorable road record against four of the six teams on its away schedule this year. UH is 2-0 at Idaho, 2-1 at LaTech, 5-4 at UNLV, and a respectable 5-5-1 at San Jose State.

Tight UH road wins in the Sugar Bowl year of 2007—at LaTech (45-44, OT), San Jose State (42-35, OT) and Nevada (28-26)—rank among the program's most important.

Other big road wins can't be forgotten. The 6-0 win at Nebraska in 1955 was huge, as were UH's 10-7 triumph at Washington in 1973, 21-7 win at Cal in 1994, and 20-0 victory at SMU to end a 24-game WAC road losing streak, which lasted between 1992 and 1999.

June Jones, who broke that dubious run, is UH's winningest road coach at 20-20. Dick Tomey went 13-9 on the WAC road for the best away conference winning percentage (.591), while Fred vonAppen is the worst at 0-12.

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OTHER STATS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
UH
       
Opp.
FIRST DOWNS
» Rushing66
» Passing1011
» Penalty00
PENALTIES
» Penalties-yards2-56-35 
» Avg. per game5.035.0
TOTAL OFFENSE
» Total plays6069
» Avg. per play6.93.9
» Avg. per game415.0270.0
RUSHING YARDS
» Attempts2838
» Avg. per rush4.02.2
» Avg. per game111.084.0
PASSING YARDS
» Att.-Comp.-Int.21-32-120-31-0
» Avg. per pass9.56.0
» Avg. per catch14.59.3
» Avg. per game304.0186.0
TIME OF POSSESSION/GAME
 26:2633:24

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2009 INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
RUSHING
       
 GPAtt.GainLossNetAvg.TDLg.Avg./G
Greg Alexander11610024764.802376.0
PASSING
 GPEffc.C-A-IPct.Yds.TDLG.Avg./G
Greg Alexander1170.121-32-165.6304366304.0
RECEIVING
 GNo.Yds.Avg.TDLg.Avg./G
Greg Salas1718025.716625.7

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SCORE BY QUARTERS
       
 1st2ND3RD4THOTTotal
» Hawaii2710625
» Opponents770620
 
               

     

 

CONTRIBUTORS: Paul Arnett, sports editor; Michael Rovner, designer; Bryant Fukutomi, cover art; copy editors Sjarif Goldstein, Steven Berkowsky, Jerry Campany; and photographers Craig T. Kojima and George Lee