Getting defensive


POSTED: Thursday, November 05, 2009

In 2008, Utah State handed Hawaii its most surprising loss of the football season.

A year later, the Warriors hope to turn around an entire season filled with frustrations against the Aggies.

Hawaii (2-6, 0-5 Western Athletic Conference) will try to snap a six-game losing streak against Utah State (2-6, 1-3) tomorrow night at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is at 5:05 p.m.

The Warriors are in the midst of their longest losing streak since the 0-12 season of 1998.

Nevada is the latest team to chew up Hawaii's defense, to the tune of more than 500 total yards, including 312 on the ground.

Like the Wolf Pack, Utah State is led by a quarterback who can beat you with his arm and his legs.

Junior Diondre Borel has completed 58 percent of his passes (146-for-251) with 11 touchdowns and only one interception. He's also run for five touchdowns and piled up 342 yards on the ground.

In last week's near-upset of Fresno State, Borel ran for 105 yards and threw for 240 more, proving he'll be a tough cover for a Hawaii linebacker corps that will have to be disciplined in its assignments.

“;When you're blitzing, you don't want to just run all out at him because he can just run around you,”; senior Blaze Soares said. “;You can't let that guy loose. He can hurt your team.”;

Hawaii faced a similar quarterback last week in Nevada's Colin Kaepernick, who netted 114 yards rushing. The Wolf Pack piled up yards against UH, but the Warriors made third-down stops in crucial situations that allowed them to stay close in a 31-21 loss.

“;As a defense, we try to get the offense back on the field,”; said starting middle linebacker Mana Lolotai, who had six solo tackles against Nevada. “;Can't give up big plays and do what you have to do to get off the field.”;

Hawaii made the trip to Logan, Utah, last year in the middle of a chase to become eligible for a bowl game. The Aggies were 1-7 at the time and seemed the perfect opponent for UH to get one step closer to the Hawaii Bowl.

Hawaii pressured Borel into four sacks, but when they couldn't get to him, he shredded the Warriors defense for more than 300 total yards and only misfired on five passes.

Hawaii wound up losing 30-14 and nearly had a losing season because of it.

The Warriors must win tomorrow to have any chance at a winning season.

“;We've been more physical, (there's been) more intensity in practice, it's just more energy and we have to have that,”; Soares said. “;We're just trying to beat the crap out of each other out here to get better.”;

Hawaii will have to defend the entire field, as Borel has been good at spreading the ball around to different receivers. Six different Aggies have at least 15 receptions, and five are over 200 receiving yards for the season.

Sophomore Stanley Morrison leads the way with 488 yards, averaging more than 18 yards a catch.




Aloha Stadium: Parking/Turnstiles/Gates

        » Lower Halawa Parking Lot opens at 11:30 p.m., all other parking lots open at 12:30 p.m. Turnstiles open at 2 p.m.

        » Traffic updates available on KKEA, 1420-AM

        » Entrance through Gate 1 (Main Salt Lake): ADA, Bus Lot and Sections 1-7 only (passes only)

        » Entrance through Gate 2 (North Kamehameha): Parking areas 8-14 only (passes only)

        » Entrance through Gate 3 (Halawa): Upper and Lower Halawa parking lots only

        » Entrance through Gate 4 (Lower Salt Lake): Upper and Lower Halawa parking lots only

        » Entrance through Gate 5 (Kamehameha): Kamehameha parking lot only

        Note: Access to the Lower Halawa Lot will be through Gates 3 and 4. Vehicles will not be allowed to move to other sections of the parking lot from the Lower Halawa Lot.

        » Alternate parking sites: Kam Drive-In ($5 per vehicle with free shuttle service); Leeward Community College (parking is free, cost is $2 for shuttle service with free admission to the Aloha Tailgate located at Pole 29); Radford High School (Parking is $5, no shuttle service available).


Sports Editor: Paul Arnett | Designer: Michael Rovner | Cover Art: Bryant Fukutomi | Copy Editors: Sjarif Goldstein, Steven Berkowsky, Jerry Campany | Photographer: Jamm Aquino