Saturday, November 13, 1999
Rainbows beat Fresno 31-24By Pat Bigold
in double-overtime; the win
could mean a bowl bid
for the 'Bows
Hawaii won a share of the Western Athletic Conference title, and very likely a post-season bowl berth, the hard way last night at Aloha Stadium.
A crowd of 35,417 saw the Rainbow Warriors (7-3 overall, 5-2 WAC) go two overtimes to defeat Fresno State, 31-24.
Hawaii, which had lost 19 games in a row before beating Eastern Illinois on Sept. 11, tied a NCAA record for most improved win-loss mark after a winless season.
The Rainbows share the record with Florida, which won seven games in 1980 after posting a 0-10 record in 1979.
Dan Robinson, the conference's leader in total offense, passed nine yards on 3rd-and-6 to Craig Stutzmann for the winning OT touchdown.
Eric Hannum kicked the extra point.
In the ensuing FSU drive (which began from the 25, per tiebreaker rules), defensive end Joe Correia made the key defensive play when he sacked Bulldogs quarterback Billy Volek for a loss to the 24 after FSU had earned a first down on the Hawaii 12.
Volek made his final attempt to get back in it with a pass intended for Charles Smith on 4th-and-22. Defended by Shawndell Tucker, Smith ran through the right corner of the North end zone to the wall in pursuit of the ball.
As soon as he hit the wall, and fell to the ground, dozens of fans poured out of the end zone stands and mobbed the goal post in an attempt to take it down.
But Honolulu police managed to disperse them as they arrested one fan who climbed to the top of the goal post.
"I was numb," said Hawaii head coach June Jones, who was coaching the San Diego Chargers at this time last year. "The feeling at midfield after the game was just awesome. That's what we play for. To be honest, that's why I'm glad I'm back in college ball -- those emotions the kids showed. Even the coaches have a fire."
FSU head coach Pat Hill conceded his team had plenty of chances in the game but didn't capitalize.
RealAudio: Click here to see a RealVideo or RealAudio replay of the game.
HAWAII VS. FRESNO STATE
"Hawaii made plays at critical times - we didn't," he said.
The Rainbows, who will probably be invited to the Oahu Bowl (Christmas Day) or the Las Vegas Bowl (Dec. 18), seemed to have the game in hand with 14:13 left in regulation after a 15-yard touchdown pass from Robinson to Ashley Lelie. With Hannum's extra point, that gave Hawaii a 21-7 lead.
But FSU came back with a grueling 77-yard, 13-play touchdown drive that consumed 5:01 and ended with Volek's quarterback sneak into the end zone with 9:12 left.
Hawaii then ate up 5:11 in a drive that ended with a failed 29-yard Hannum field goal.
FSU took over at its own 20 with four minutes left, and reeled off five plays before facing 3rd-and-2 at the Bulldogs 47 with 2:00 left.
A roughing the passer penalty against Nate Jackson sustained the FSU drive. The ball was placed at the Hawaii 38 and four plays later, Volek passed 28 yards to Smith for a touchdown. Jeff Hanna's extra point kick was good and the game was sent into OT.
It was only the second time Hawaii has been involved in an OT situation. The first time was Nov. 22, 1997 when the Rainbows lost to Northeast Louisiana (23-20) at Aloha Stadium.
The Rainbows led, 13-7, at the half, after converting on a pair of turnovers by FSU.
Safety Dee Miller, who had a school record three fumble recoveries in the game, got two of them before intermission, both off of freshman fullback Derrick Ward.
Ward fumbled three times in the game.
Miller picked up the first fumble on the Hawaii 48. Seven plays later, Robinson passed five yards to Dwight Carter and Hannum kicked the extra point to tie the game at 7-7.
It was Carter's sixth touchdown reception of the season and it came with 2:38 left in the first quarter.
Miller recovered the second Ward fumble (caused by defensive end Mike Iosua) at the FSU 44. Robinson finished off a 10-play drive with a one-yard slide into the end zone on second down with 5:27 left in the half.
Hannum's kick failed.
In the half, the Rainbows stopped the Bulldogs three times on third down and converted once on fourth down.
The Hawaii secondary played well enough to hold Volek to 69 yards on 16-for-19 passing in the half.
The Bulldogs got on the board first after Hawaii opened the game by going three-and-out.
Paris Gaines capped an eight-play, three-and-a-half-minute drive from the Hawaii 47 with a three-yard rush to paydirt. Hanna kicked the extra point to give FSU a 7-0 lead.
The drive included three passes to tight ends for 16 yards.
Hawaii finished the first half with 150 yards of total offense on 34 plays, compared with FSU's 139 yards on 35 plays.
For the game, Hawaii controlled the ball for 25 minutes and 53 seconds while the Bulldogs had it for 34:07.
Robinson, who completed 21 of 48 attempts for 268 yards and was picked off twice, became the school's second leading career passer. He now has 5,254 yards.
He needs 377 yards to become the all-time leader.
Garrett Gabriel (1987-90) is the current leader with 5,631 yards.
Robinson broke two single-season school records last night.
His 2,992 yards of total offense bettered the 1988 record (2,937) of Warren Jones. He now has 493 total plays on offense to top Rafael Cherry's 1984 mark of 463.
Robinson now has nine straight 200-yard games.
Volek completed 34 of 54 passes for 235 yards and was not intercepted.
Defensively for Hawaii, Yaphet Warren had 17 tackles, Jeff Ulbrich had 16 and Jackson had 10.
Middle linebacker Tim Skipper led FSU with seven tackles.
Skipper and defensive end Justin Johnson each had a sack on Robinson.
Fresno 7 0 0 14 3 0 -- 24 Hawaii 7 6 0 8 3 7 -- 31
SCORING SUMMARYFSU-Paris Gaines 3 run (Jeff Hanna kick)
UH--Dwight Carter 5 pass from Dan Robinson (Eric Hannum kick)
UH--Robinson 1 run (kick failed)
UH--Ashley Lelie 15 pass from Robinson (Avion Weaver run)
FSU-Billy Volek 1 run (Hanna kick)
FSU-Charles Smith 28 pass from Volek (Hanna kick)
FSU-Hanna 28 FG
UH--Hannum 21 FG
UH--Craig Stutzmann 9 pass from Robinson (Hannum kick)
INDIVIDUAL STATISTICSRUSHING--FSU: Paris Gaines 26-130, Derrick Ward 10-21, Rodney Wright 2-19, Billy Volek 3-(-20). UH: Avion Weaver 12-69, Afatia Thompson 11-65, Dan Robinson 6-(-5).
PASSING--FSU: Volek 52-34-0 for 235 yards. UH: Robinson 48-21-2 for 268 yards.
RECEIVING--FSU: Wright 9-58, Gaines 6-46, Charles Smith 6-43, Billy Jack Pierce 5-37, Vince Branstetter 5-28, Saleem Mahdi 2-17, Brenard Berrian 1-6. UH: Dwight Carter 7-78, Ashley Lelie 5-59, Channon Harris 4-89, Craig Stutzmann 3-31, Thompson 2-11.
Ka Leo O Hawaii