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Austin hits the field


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POSTED: Sunday, October 25, 2009

So this is what it feels like to study up on algebra and have your professor pull out a pop quiz in calculus.

Hawaii backup quarterback Shane Austin got a sudden, unexpected chance to showcase his ability at Aloha Stadium last night.

Unfortunately, it came against the toughest opponent the Warriors have faced at home in years, and No. 6 Boise State rolled to a 54-9 victory.

With starter Bryant Moniz knocked out of the game with a concussion at the end of the first quarter, it fell upon Austin, a redshirt sophomore who began the year as the fourth-stringer, to make a stand against the formidable Broncos the rest of the way.

Instead, he received an indoctrination in Boise's school of defensive opportunism.

“;I always kind of had that in the back of my head. I figured my first game would be against a big-time team, maybe Boise State or USC next year,”; Austin said. “;I never knew for sure, but I always had that feeling, even (Friday) night.

“;I told myself, 'Just get your mind right, because you might be going in.' “;

It's become a rite of passage for the Warriors' signal-callers to take their lickings in this downward spiraling season, and it was no exception for the 6-footer from Camarillo, Calif. He finished 22-for-36 for 174 yards with three interceptions and a touchdown.

Yet Austin showed command of the run-and-shoot offense from the moment he stepped on the field. The only problem was Boise was ready to pounce the moment he slipped up.

At halftime, Austin was 7-for-9 ... but his two incompletions were interceptions, which Boise happily turned into a touchdown and field goal. The Broncos also nabbed a downfield heave to Joe Avery in triple coverage in the second half.

“;It's a tough deal. Your fourth-team quarterback doesn't get any reps,”; coach Greg McMackin said. (Although Austin has practiced with the second team since the Louisiana Tech game, when Moniz was thrust into a starting role). “;It's basically he was back there watching, and all of a sudden he's gotta go in and play. How would you like to do that?”;

“;It's never ideal, but you gotta be ready to start whenever,”; quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich said. “;That's the toughest defense we've seen so far. I have to give them some credit. I think we just hurt ourselves a little bit.”;

Even when Hawaii completed passes or handed off the ball, the Broncos forced fumbles—and turned them into more scores. In all, UH committed six turnovers, which BSU converted into 30 points.

With the game long decided at 9 minutes, 50 seconds to play, Austin hit Jon Medeiros for a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it 47-9.

“;I think he handled things pretty well,”; Medeiros said. “;He seemed cool, calm, collected. Now that he has game experience, we need to jell with him as a receiving corps.”;