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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Monday, November 6, 2000

UH 1-7 and heading
for ‘home’ stretch

WHATEVER your take on the new nickname for the University of Hawaii football team, one thing's for sure -- road warriors they aren't.

They went 0-4 in road games this season, and were outscored, 163-68. The latest -- and, thankfully, final away game of the year -- was a 45-27 hammering by Fresno State.

At 1-7 and assured of a losing season, UH has to get ready for the "home" stretch of the 2000 schedule.

It's circle-the-wagons time for the final four games at Aloha Stadium, which hasn't exactly been too friendly, either.

Of the remaining four games -- Nevada, Louisiana Tech, Wisconsin and UNLV -- the best hope of a victory is against the Wolf Pack, 1-8 but winless in its first year in the Western Athletic Conference.

Saturday's game isn't only a matter of pride for Hawaii, it's also a battle to avoid last place in the WAC.

It also won't look too good on June Jones' resume, coaching a team that goes from worst to first to worst.

No question, injuries have devastated Hawaii's hopes of a season matching the 9-4 record in Jones' first year. But, as he has said more than once, injuries are part of the game.

Particularly disappointing this year has been the defense and special teams. Especially since everyone knew that the offense would struggle with a new quarterback.

The deficiencies were glaring again at Fresno as the Bulldogs overcame a 14-0 deficit by scoring the next 45 points to turn the game into a rout.

Led by quarterback David Carr, the Bulldogs moved the ball at will. He exploited UH's soft corners to complete 23 of 28 passes for 257 yards and two touchdowns. He also ran for two touchdowns.

So don't be surprised if Carr becomes the sixth player to earn WAC player-of-the-week honors this season at Hawaii's expense.

Meanwhile, two interceptions thrown by Nick Rolovich, subbing for an ailing Tim Chang, aborted UH drives, the second to Fresno's one-yard line.

Still, it was close until the Bulldogs scored a key touchdown seconds before the half to open a 10-point lead.

Then the dam broke. One was an 81-yard touchdown by Dante Marsh after he recovered a blocked field goal attempt by Eric Hannum that bounced up right to him.

THE Bulldogs got two other friendly bounces -- both of them occurring in the end zone.

One led to a touchdown call in their favor. The other cost Hawaii a scoring opportunity when Rolovich's pass was ruled an interception instead of an incompletion.

But the way Fresno State was moving the ball, it wouldn't have mattered anyway.

There was no question about the outcome as the Bulldogs extended their home winning streak to 14 games -- third longest in the nation.

The only question that might be asked: What happened to Hawaii's conversion attempt at the end of the game?

Which brings us to Saturday's intriguing encounter with Nevada. Intriguing because it'll match two teams which have been unable to stop anybody.

If you think Hawaii's defense is bad, check out that of the Wolf Pack.

Nevada's not only last in the WAC in team scoring defense, giving up 40.1 points a game, it's also last in the nation among 114 Division I-A teams.

Nevada has also given up 438.2 yards a game, ranking it 108th in team defense. Hawaii is 86th with a 396.5 average.

Hawaii's last home game with San Jose State that ended 57-48 might have nothing on this one when it comes to lighting the scoreboard.

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