Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, September 9, 2001


Hawaii wide receiver Justin Colbert was dragged down by two
Montana defenders last night. Colbert had 139 yards in receiving.

Warriors roll
in opener

Hawaii wins first season opener
in four years, behind 435 yards
by Tim Chang

By Dave Reardon

WAILUKU>> The Hawaii football team accomplished something last night it didn't even do during its championship season of 1999.

The Warriors won their opening game, building momentum as the game went along to beat Montana 30-12 at War Memorial Stadium in Hawaii's first-ever game on a neighbor island.

"It's so diffferent," said senior left guard Manly Kanoa. He wasn't referring to the unique environment at the Valley Isle stadium, which was filled with around 11,254 fans.

UH Football Kanoa watched from the Aloha Stadium sideline as a true freshman when UH last won an opener, in 1997 against Minnesota. Since then Hawaii has rebounded from a 19-game losing streak, won a conference championship and a bowl game, and almost went back to square one with last year's 3-9 season and coach June Jones' near-fatal car accident.

Last night's victory wasn't a masterpiece, but it's a starting point for a program in need of one.

"We got our confidence up tonight and it's going to roll on and on and never stop, like an avalanche," Kanoa said.

Jones was less excited.

"We were about 40 or 50 percent efficient today, but a win is a win and no one should be hanging their heads," Jones said. "I'm a little discouraged at a lot of things we did. We've got a lot of things we need to clean up.

Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang had 435 yards in
yesterday's game against Montana.

"I thought there was some good effort on both sides of the ball, some big plays on offense. Last year we didn't have guys step up. Timmy Chang and Ashley Lelie really stepped up making big plays."

The Grizzlies, last year's Division 1-AA runners-up, took a 6-0 first-quarter lead, as kicker Chris Snyder nailed 47- and 49-yard field goals with a 20 mph wind to his back, and Hawaii's offense sputtered.

But UH scored the next 23 points, as quarterback Tim Chang settled down and the run-and-shoot prospered with strong efforts from receivers Ashley Lelie, Justin Colbert and Craig Stutzmann.

The Chang Gang rolled up 435 yards, as the 2000 Western Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year completed 31 of 54 passes including TDs to Lelie and Stutzmann. Chang was off-target at times, yielding two interceptions.

Freshman running back Mike Bass started and was impressive at times with 72 yards on 16 carries.

Offensive production was expected.

A strong defensive effort, however, was not considered a given. Hawaii, with several players in new positions, gave up 397 yards to the Grizzlies, but Pisa Tinoisamoa (three sacks) and others performed well when necessary.

The Warriors didn't allow a touchdown until there was 9:25 left, when Etu Molden caught a 12-yard touchdown pass from John Edwards, making it 23-12.

"I rate our intensity a 10," junior linebacker Chris Brown said. "I think we showed some people that we can play."

UH running back Thero Mitchell fights his way to the end zone
against Montana to tie the score at 6 in the second quarter.
The extra point put UH ahead.

Tinoisamoa said the Warriors front four helped him and the other linebackers.

"When you protect your linebackers, they can make plays," defensive end Houston Ala said.

Tinoisamoa was in on 13 tackles. Five of them were for losses, including three sacks.

"It wasn't about me," he said. "The whole defense, the offense, special teams helped us win. This is just the beginning for us."

The defense paid a price, though. Starting safety Jacob Espiau suffered a shoulder sublux injury, second-team linebacker Bronson Liana sustained a concussion and second-team cornerback Josiah Cravalho hurt a hamstring. All could possibly miss next week's game at Nevada.

"We lost five or six guys on defense that we couldn't get back in the game," Jones said. "That made it difficult to find healthy guys to put in for our nickel packages.

Chang completed touchdown passes to Craig Stutzmann and Ashley Lelie as Hawaii scored three second-quarter touchdowns to take a 20-6 halftime lead.

The 20-mph North-to-South wind factored in as Chang's passes in the second half, with the wind behind him, were more accurate. Hawaii amassed 179 of its 242 first-half passing yards in the second quarter.

Hawaii's defense also improved as the half wore on, but the Warriors dodged several bullets. Tinoisamoa keyed Hawaii's first-half defense with three sacks. The Grizzlies got 114 of their 153 first-half yards in the first quarter.

Montana threatened at the end of the half after an interception and 48-yard return by Calvin Coleman put the ball on the UH 25 with 27 seconds left.

Edwards completed a 22-yard pass to Humphery, putting the ball on Hawaii's 9.

UH defensive lineman Houston Ala points to the crowd at Maui
War Memorial Stadium after a big defensive play.

But Snyder missed a field goal attempt against the wind from 27 yards away with 2 seconds left.

Lelie scored on a 26-yard pass from Chang with 8:37 left before intermission, making it 14-6.

That was followed by Chang's 3-yard TD pass to Stutzmann with 1:24 left. The score capped a 12-play, 76-yard drive that featured a spectacular, over-the-shoulder catch by Justin Colbert of a Chang pass that resulted in a 52-yard gain.

UH was assessed a 15-yard penalty for excessive celebration by Colbert, and the ball was put on the Montana 25.

But a subsequent pass interference penalty on the Grizzlies put the ball on the Montana 2.

Chang found Stutzmann in the back of the end zone three plays later.

Mitchell's TD was set up by a 27-yard pass from Chang to Stutzmann.

Snyder kicked field goals of 47 and 49 yards, and Montana stopped UH's only threat of the first quarter when Johnnie Peoples intercepted a Chang pass into the end zone with 24 seconds left in the period.

But Montana failed to score again until Edwards, who completed 24 of 46 passes for 232 yards, found Molden in the closing minutes. Snyder missed the extra point after a 10-yard holding penalty against the Grizzlies.

Justin Ayat had kicked a 22-yard field goal with 12:12 left, and Mitchell scored his second touchdown on a 2-yard run with 3:06 left to ice it.

Scoring summary


Mon--Chris Snyder 47-yd FG, 5:07

Mon--FG, Snyder 49, 9:43


Haw--Thero Mitchell 4-yd run (Justin Ayat kick), 2:20

Haw--Ashley Lelie 26-yd pass from Timmy Chang (Ayat kick), 6:25

Haw--Craig Stutzmann 3-yd pass from Chang (kick failed), 13:36


Haw--Ayat 22-yd FG, 2:48

Haw--Etu Molden 12-yd pass from John Edwards (kick failed), 5:35

Haw--Thero Mitchell 2-yd run (Ayat kick), 11:54


Team statistics

Mon Haw
Punt Returns 2-(-2) 5-55
Kickoff Returns 1-49 1-12
Interceptions Ret. 2-48 1-27
Comp-Att-Int 24-47-1 31-54-2
Sacked-Yards Lost 4-23 1-6
Punts 8-281 6-236
Fumbles-Lost 0-0 0-0
Penalties-Yards 9-84 10-86
Time of Possession 27:54 32:06

Individual statistics

RUSHING--Hawaii: Mike Bass 16-72, Thero Mitchell 5-19, Tui Ala 4-7, Timmy Chang 2-(-7). Montana: Yohance Humphery 22-133, Dane Oliver 1-19, Branden Malcom 1-11, John Edwards 7-23, Etu Molden 1-0, Tate Hancock 2-(-2).

PASSING--Hawaii: Timmy Chang 31-54-2-435. Montana: John Edwards 24-46-1-232; T.J. Oelkers 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING--Hawaii: Ashley Lelie 8-163, Justin Colbert 8-139, Craig Stutzmann 8-99, Mike Bass 5-17, Channon Harris 2-17. Montana: Etu Molden 11-94, Humphery 3-34, Oelkers 3-11, Rory Zikmund 2-44, J. Fitzgerald 2-21, Branden Malcom 1-13, Dane Oliver 1-8, Spencer Frederick 1-7.

MISSED FIELD GOALS--Montana, Snyder, 27.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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