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Star-Bulletin Sports

Monday, November 27, 2000

U H _ F O O T B A L L

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
Wisconsin's Michael Bennett (29) coughs up the ball
while being hit by two University of Hawaii players.

worked hard
for win

But UH players found
no reason for celebration,
despite hanging tough
against a Big Ten team

By Paul Arnett

The questions lobbed in by most of the media to University of Hawaii head coach June Jones leave you wondering if these guys have any idea what's going on during a football game.

Questions centering on never quitting, playing hard and you're so close to turning the corner, border on insulting and patronizing.

It's a little like a television general manager saying, "Well, I know the technical difficulties kept you from seeing any network programs today, but at least our color bars were in register."

Granted, trying hard and never quitting are the basics to having a good football team. But if you don't execute at critical junctures in a game, you lose.

Take a walk around the Warriors' locker room and there wasn't anybody in there patting each other on the shoulder pads for hanging tough in last Saturday night's 34-18 loss to Wisconsin.

They were upset because they had an opportunity to gain back a little of that respect lost over the course of a 3-8 season, only to see it slip away in a sea of penalties, missed tackles, turnovers, botched extra points and blown reads in the secondary.

Hawaii is way past heart and soul. The Warriors already proved that with one of the more remarkable turnarounds in NCAA history. But to quote today's generation, "That's so last year."

What Hawaii has failed to do is make plays when it counts the most. Any coach will tell you that most games are decided on a half-dozen calls. Those who make them, win. Those who don't, lose. Simple as that.

By George F. Lee, Star-Bulletin
University of Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang gets ready
to unload a pass under heavy pressure by a Wisconsin
defensive lineman.

UH freshman quarterback Tim Chang always has his moments each Saturday night he steps on the field. He is nimble in the pocket, fast on the draw, but still learning the nuances of Division I defenses.

On the bright side, he found Justin Colbert splitting the coverage for a 35-yard touchdown pass late in the first quarter. He threw a 31-yarder on the opening drive of the second half to James Fenderson to cut Wisconsin's lead to 20-18.

But on the dark side, Chang wasn't very effective after that. He seemed to go for the home run far too often, something he said he wasn't aware of after the game.

"I didn't think I went for a lot of long passes," said Chang, who hit 24 of 56 attempts for 361 yards and two touchdowns. "Sometimes, it just ended up that way. We threw the hitch in a lot. The corners started squatting on our guys, so we decided to go on top.

"If I could have hit a couple of them, maybe Channon Harris going up the left side and Stutz (Craig Stutzmann) going up the right, it would have been a different game. But I didn't."

Chang conceded both of his interceptions in the third quarter turned the momentum Wisconsin's way. In fact, after throwing the TD pass to Fenderson 54 seconds into the second half, Hawaii's next seven drives ended in three punts, two interceptions and two failed fourth downs. Not exactly the highlight reel head coach June Jones would use to promote his run-and-shoot offense.

Rarely defensive friendly even when its percolating, Hawaii's offense spent only 18 minutes and 13 seconds on the field. The band almost had as much air time at the half, leaving the defense bedraggled by game's end. As defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa put it, "What, were we on the field for 100 plays?"

No, it only seemed like it. Actually, it was 85, including 64 on the ground. Undersized defensive end Chris Brown is one of those Warriors who never quits.

"But let me tell you, after dancing around with those big guys all night, I'm tired," Brown said. "These guys know how to hold onto you so good, the officials don't even notice.

"We always play hard. But we also play to win. We could have beat these guys if we had played better. But we missed too many tackles and had some bad penalties. No way you beat a caliber team like Wisconsin playing that way."

Free safety Nate Jackson echoed those sentiments. Despite leading the team in tackles with 14 and snagging a pair of interceptions to run his season total to six, it was a blown coverage he had that resulted in a big play in the third quarter that stuck in his mind most of all.

"You always remember the bad plays more than the good ones," Jackson said. "We knew exactly what they were going to do. And they did it, right down to the play I blew to keep a drive alive.

"All week I covered the drag route across the middle, but tonight, I let him go. I don't know why. But it's stuff like that you remember as a player. The interceptions are only good if you win."

That attitude is what makes this team have a chance to be special in the future. Heart gets you to the 1-yard line. But it's execution that takes it in.

"Every game is a learning experience," Chang said. "I think football is a life story in itself. Every game I'm going to learn something different. I learned a lot of things this game. I see my mental mistakes that I should not be making. But they still come back. Those mental lapses, I just wish I could take them back."


Saturday, 6:05 p.m., Aloha Stadium

UNLV needs victory
over UH to be eligible
for bowl game

By Paul Arnett

The original schedule put together by University of Hawaii athletic director Hugh Yoshida had the Warriors' season ending last Saturday night.

But thanks to the University of Texas pulling out of the scheduled season opener and a Nevada-Las Vegas team willing to come over here this week at the last minute, the Warriors get a chance to end the disappointing 2000 campaign on a positive note.

In a strange twist of fate, the game may prove costly to the Rebels, who are coming off a huge 31-24 win at San Diego State to run their season record to 6-5.

Had they not scheduled the Hawaii game, the Rebels would be bowl eligible and would either host the Las Vegas Bowl or travel to San Jose, Calif., to play in the first Silicon Valley Classic.

But because UNLV plays a 12-game schedule, head coach John Robinson's crew needs to beat Hawaii this Saturday night to finish 7-5 in order to be eligible for the postseason parade.

"I'm sure they're going to come in here looking to get the win," UH head coach June Jones said. "They've had a good season. I'm glad coach Robinson was willing to take on this football game at such a late date."

Hawaii is expected to return the favor in 2002 by going to UNLV and renew an old rivalry outgoing UH president Ken Mortimer ended when he severed relations with the Mountain West Conference schools after the infamous split of 1998.

Several players from Hawaii dot the UNLV lineup. The Warriors also have two starting defensive linemen who originally signed with the Rebels coming out of high school. They are Laanui Correa and Lui Fuga.

UH fortress loaded
for Bennett, allowing
Chambers to cause grief

By Tim Crouse
Special to the Star-Bulletin

When Wisconsin visited Hawaii in 1996, the Badgers ran all over the University of Hawaii's defense for 499 yards on the ground -- a record for a UH opponent.

That's when Wisconsin had freshman Ron Dayne, who ended his career as the NCAA's all-time leading rusher.

This time around, the Badgers brought senior tailback Michael Bennett, the fourth-leading rusher in the nation (153 yards a game) -- and started off by trying a long pass downfield.

That pass from sophomore quarterback Brooks Bollinger fell incomplete, but by the time the first half was over, a potent Wisconsin aerial attack had made a large impression on UH.

"They surprised us early when they threw the ball," UH defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa said.

During their first five drives, the Badgers threw on first down more than half the time (eight out of 15 plays).

"We thought they would run the ball first, then pass when they needed to because they're so big and strong," UH secondary coach Rich Miano said.

Bennett did gain 218 rushing yards, but the big plays propelling Wisconsin to a 20-12 halftime lead came through the air.

And most of the time, the connection was between Bollinger and senior wideout Chris Chambers.

UH crowded the line of scrimmage to stop the run, often leaving Chambers with one-on-one coverage.

On the game's opening drive, Bollinger found the 6-foot-1, 212-pound receiver twice, the second time for a 27-yard touchdown.

Two and a half minutes into the second quarter, Bollinger hit Chambers in the end zone from 30 yards out for another score, giving the Badgers a lead they would not relinquish.

On Wisconsin's third scoring drive, Chambers made a five-yard catch on third down to move the chains early in a drive that ended up lasting nearly nine minutes.

At halftime, the Badgers had more passing yards (139) than rushing yards (120).

"We thought that we would be pretty balanced and be able to get some plays in the passing game, particularly if they were going to load up the box and play one-on-one coverage on Chris Chambers," Wisconsin offensive coordinator Brian Smith said.

Chambers finished the night with eight catches for 169 yards and two touchdowns. Four of his receptions netted first downs.

Bollinger threw for 161 yards, and backup Jim Sorgi completed one pass in the fourth quarter -- a 46-yarder to Chambers -- to set up Wisconsin's final touchdown.

The Badgers put the game away in the second half on the ground, rushing for 143 yards on 32 carries and wearing down the Warriors' defense.

But a major key to setting up the second half was the passing game in the first half.

"They had some success, which sometimes makes you deepen up a little and you lose some confidence," Miano said. "They kept us off balance."

Bennett is one of a handful of great backs the Warriors faced this year -- along with LaDainian Tomlinson and Deonce Whitaker -- but Lempa and Miano have no doubts about the best receiver to play against UH.

"Chambers is the best receiver we've faced," Miano said.

"He's so big and strong, and fast," Lempa said. "We had a hard time matching up with him."

Bennett sees great things ahead for his teammate.

"He's going to be the next Jerry Rice," he said.

Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez said he expects Chambers to be a high draft pick in next spring's NFL draft.

"He's playing great football. When people want to load the box to take away the run, they're going to expose themselves to one of the best receivers in the country," Alvarez said.


UH drive stalled
by non-timeout

TO hear University of Hawaii head coach June Jones tell it, he thought the Warriors had called a timeout with a dozen seconds left in the first half.

But apparently, he was the only one who did. Freshman quarterback Tim Chang knew the unnecessary roughness penalty by Wisconsin would not stop the clock.

At that point, it was first and goal from the Badgers' 6-yard line. Chang hurried under center once the referee signaled for the clock to start. He got the play off, but it was an incomplete pass to Ashley Lelie, who was forced out of bounds by cornerback Jamar Fletcher.

"Maybe I should have called a timeout, but I was just trying to get the play off before the clock ran out," Chang said. "After marking off the penalty, the referees signaled time back in because my fumble was considered a running play. Maybe I could have downed it, but I went for Ashley instead on the fade."

Jones not only thought he had used his final timeout, he felt Lelie was interfered with as well by the All-Big Ten corner.

"I called timeout," Jones said. "And I thought we had a timeout. But the officials didn't give us a timeout. I called it after Timmy fumbled the snap. It was pass interference on that play. But we didn't get the call."

Going empty

You might have noticed Hawaii running a different formation in the first half where fifth-year senior Ricky Lumford came in for running back James Fenderson to create a five-wide look.

In coach-speak, that formation is called empty. Unfortunately for the Warriors, when using the formation that leaves no running back with Chang, they came up empty most of the time.

Chang seemed a little nervous not having a blocking back at his side and hurried the passes when in it.

"We saw on film that Wisconsin's defense automatically went into a certain coverage every time they saw the five-wide look," Jones said. "We thought we could take advantage of it, but we just didn't make many plays out of it. Timmy was a little nervous at the start of the game. So we went back to some of our other stuff."

Just missed it

After Bronson Liana mishandled a couple of snaps on PATs and field goals, special teams coach Dennis McKnight opted to use backup quarterback Kevin Gilbride as the holder the past two games.

Much like Liana, Gilbride didn't handle the snap from center after Hawaii's first touchdown in the 34-18 loss to Wisconsin, leading to a night of failed extra points.

"I just dropped it," Gilbride explained. "I think I took my eyes off of it as I was bringing it down. It was my fault all the way."

Place-kicker Eric Hannum also missed a 33-yard field-goal attempt. For the season, Hannum has hit 6 of 11 field goals and 26 of 28 PATs.

Injury update

There were no reported injuries during the game, but offensive lineman Kynan Forney and defensive tackle Mike Iosua didn't play because of badly sprained ankles.

Iosua hasn't been in the starting lineup in five weeks and Forney has missed the last two games. Both are iffy for this Saturday's season finale against Nevada-Las Vegas, as is running back Afatia Thompson, who is slowed by a bad ankle as well.

By Paul Arnett



Texas Christian10 10.909710.875293 89
Texas-El Paso 8 30.727710.875283167
Fresno St. 7 40.636620.750235144
San Jose St. 7 50.583530.625250240
Tulsa 5 70.417440.500155165
Hawaii 3 80.273260.250197276
Rice 3 80.273260.250186215
Southern Methodist 3 90.250260.250118248
Nevada 2100.167170.125144317

Last week's results

Wisconsin 34, Hawaii 18
Texas Christian 62, So. Methodist 7
Tulsa 38, Nevada 3
Fresno State 37, San Jose State 6

Coming up Saturday

Nevada-Las Vegas at Hawaii

Season statistics


Yards gained rushing10502419
Yards lost rushing202321
Rushing Attempts224531
Average Per Rush3.84.0
Average Per Game77.1190.7
TD’s Rushing1323
Average Per Pass6.37.2
Average Per Catch12.412.7
Average Per Game320.2200.8
TDs Passing2217
Total Plays783922
Average Per Play5.65.2
Average Per Game397.3434.3
TIME OF POSS.25:4534:15
3RD DOWN CONV.56/16374/176
4TH DOWN CONV.9/268/21








2000 UH Football Special

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