H A W A I I _ S P O R T S


Monday, October 11, 1999



Middle option was big

A play designed by a high school coach in Texas might be the most revolutionary idea to hit the option lanes this decade.

Rice quarterback Chad Richardson executed the mid-line option to perfection in last Saturday's 38-19 win by Rice over Hawaii.

None was bigger than the 60-yard scoring scamper by Richardson through the heart of the Hawaii defense on the first play of the second half.

Offensive coordinator David Lee -- who once ran the option as the head coach at Texas-El Paso -- said that run set the tone for the eventual final score of the game.

"It's a mid-line option play that we got from a high school team in Dallas," Lee said of the eye-opening touchdown by Richardson, who finished with 168 yards rushing on 28 numbing carries. He scored three touchdowns and threw for another to seal the deal.

"We put this play in four years ago and we averaged 8.7 yards a carry with it," Lee said. "We averaged over six yards the last two years, so it has been very productive for us.

"It's a devastating play because you don't block the three technique. You read the guy over the guard and when you have a guy like Chad Richardson who can read what those guys are doing and yank it when they close and then take off, it's a lethal play."

UH linebacker Jeff Ulbrich agreed. He thought the fullback had the ball and when he realized he didn't, it was too late. Richardson scooted up through the hole and past a surprised Nate Jackson at safety, who couldn't get over quickly enough to make the play.

"That play hurt because it was the first one of the second half," said Ulbrich, who led the Rainbows with 18 tackles, including two for losses. "We had done a pretty good job in the first half, so to let that happen really set us back."

Holding the football

As you might expect in an option vs. run-and-shoot game, Rice held onto the football longer than Hawaii. The Owls entered the game first in the league in time of possession and the Rainbows were last. This game did little to affect that batting order. Rice had the ball for almost 39 minutes to Hawaii's 21.

Can't run, won't win

The running game was nonexistent for the Rainbows. While the Owls gained 354 yards on the ground and only 28 through the air, the Rainbows had 400 yards through the air, but only 24 yards rushing. It was the lowest output since Hawaii managed only 27 yards in the 62-7 loss to USC.

"We were pathetic on the ground," Jones said. "We've got to do a better job the second half of the season."

Hit with a big stick

Wideout Scott Sims was clocked by Rice safety Travis Ortega on a play just before the half. Sims broke free down the middle on a seam route. But just as the ball arrived, Ortega leveled him with what many said was the hardest hit this decade at Aloha Stadium.

Sims appeared to have caught the ball for what would have been a huge completion. The officials ruled he dropped it, but replays showed they were wrong.

By Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin

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