Fresno never let Moniz get started


POSTED: Sunday, October 11, 2009

Welcome to life as a Division I starting quarterback, Bryant Moniz.

Fresno State greeted the Leilehua alum in his first D-I start with a proverbial welcome mat, then picked up the mat and proceeded to smack Moniz and his fellow Warriors around with it last night during a 42-17 win for the visitors at Aloha Stadium.

For three quarters, little went right for Hawaii and Moniz, the local product by way of Fresno City College. Moniz, replacing the injured Greg Alexander, finished 24-for-52 for 283 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions.

While it wasn't the outcome Hawaii or Moniz wanted—the mobile QB took punishing hits all night, even when he got the ball off in time—he was unbowed afterward.

“;I think we did good out there. I think we just gotta work on finishing our drives,”; Moniz said.

He and teammates Greg Salas and Blaze Soares were unanimous in focusing on the positives afterward. Namely, salvaged pride near the end after failing to score a touchdown against Louisiana Tech the week before.

There were dropped passes and misread routes aplenty over the first three periods. Moniz started 3-for-9 and was 10-for-22 by halftime. His best chance to guide the team to six points in the first half was snuffed out by an interception thrown at Fresno's Moses Harris in the end zone near the start of the second quarter.

But the sophomore stuck with it, despite the 42-3 blowout entering the fourth quarter.

“;He missed a couple, but he did a heck of a job,”; offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. “;We didn't help him as much with receivers and stuff, and then we got behind. But I think overall he did a heck of a job. First game against a good team. And he'll get better.”;

In the fourth, he nearly had two touchdown passes to Salas, but one was called back by a holding penalty and the other was undone by Salas' fumble at the 1, which Jon Medeiros recovered for the score.

Finally, he broke through to Rodney Bradley for his first career TD, a 4-yard strike, with 4 minutes, 42 seconds left.

“;I was really happy for him,”; Salas said. “;He deserves it, practices hard. He's a leader, and good things are gonna happen for him. The more experience you get in this offense, the more game reps—that's the key, you know. He'll be a lot more comfortable next game.”;

Moniz said he had no butterflies from breakfast all the way through the game, and he even wasn't afraid to sport pink bands in his hair in front of the crowd of 35,533.

“;It was for Breast Cancer Awareness Month,”; he explained. “;I seen the pros doing it, so I figured, might as well. It's for the ladies.”;

If Moniz can improve as his teammates and coaches expect, maybe he can win one at Idaho next week for the Warriors, too.