Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Monday, October 11, 1999

’Bows have nothing
to be ashamed of

SURE, the 38-19 loss to Rice was disappointing to the Hawaii Rainbows, who saw their four-game winning streak come to an end.

But, you know what? The UH locker room sure had a different ambience Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.

The Rainbows - to a man - were ticked off that they lost their first Western Athletic Conference game of the season. But they were not resigned to losing, which was such a different feeling.

They knew they had a lot of chances to win the game. Which is more than what they could have said a year ago when they went 0-12.

That's the difference between this year's Rainbows under first-year coach June Jones, who has his team believing that they could be winning if they could only execute their assignments.

They didn't, and that's why the Owls won the game. They were a better team Saturday night and the difference was the play of the respective quarterbacks.

Rice's Chad Richardson put on one of the best displays of an option quarterback I've seen since Aloha Stadium opened 25 years ago.

Forget Air Force's Dee Dowis or Beau Morgan. Richardson outdid both of them.

Nobody ran the run-oriented option better then Richardson since Sept. 9, 1975, when Rich Ritchie of Texas A&I also ran the Rainbows ragged in a 43-9 victory in the very first game played at Aloha Stadium.

RICHARDSON carried the ball 28 of Rice's 66 rushing attempts and gained 168 yards, scoring three touchdowns and passing for a fourth.

The Rainbows knew Richardson was the guy to watch on every play, but they couldn't do a thing about it.

That was what was so frustrating to the defense.

Meanwhile, UH quarterback Dan Robinson had an off night, which is strange to say considering he completed 25 of 53 passes for 400 yards.

He overthrew two open receivers for sure-fire touchdowns that might have kept the Rainbows' winning streak and postseason bowl hopes alive.

All said and done, at least the Rainbows had a chance to win, which is more than anyone could have said last season.

The remnants of the turnstile crowd of 36,253 realized as much, as they stood and applauded the vanquished 'Bows when they left the field after the game.

They realized they lost to a better team and a better quarterback.

The Owls, after all, were no slouches. They held Texas, a team that scored 69 points against Pac-10 leader Stanford, to only 18 points in a close loss.

THEIR clock management proved the most telling as they held the ball 17-plus minutes more than the Rainbows.

Eight minutes and five seconds of it came on a 14-play, 85-yard drive that gave Rice a 31-13 lead to put the game out of reach.

The game's turning point, though, according to Jones, came on his team's three-and-out series just before that.

Jamal Garland ran a kickoff 41 yards back to Rice's 45, but UH punted after three incomplete passes, two on low-percentage bombs.

"We had our opportunities and we didn't take advantage of them," Jones said.

"It came down to their making the plays and we not making the plays," added Rainbow defensive coordinator Greg McMackin. "But, hey, we're 4-2."

That folks, is the bottom line.

As bitter as that the loss to Rice was, being 4-2 sure beats being 0-6 as the Rainbows were this time last season.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.

E-mail to Sports Editor

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