Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, September 23, 2001


Hawaii's Mike Bass is tackled by Nevada's Ronnie Hardiman.
Bass ran for 79 yards on 12 carries yesterday.

UH breaks down
and loses

Warriors have trouble protecting
Chang and punching in scores
against the Wolf Pack

By Dave Reardon

RENO, Nev. >> June Jones called it perfectly, much to his horror.

The Hawaii football coach said on Friday that the major areas of concern going into yesterday's game against Nevada were stopping the Wolf Pack running attack and protecting Warrior quarterback Tim Chang.

UH did neither, and Nevada beat Hawaii 28-20 in the Western Athletic Conference opener for both teams.

Jones and the Warriors (1-1) might have won with the Wolf Pack's (1-2) Chance Kretschmer rushing for 162 yards, which he did yesterday -- but not when combined with a breakdown of UH's offensive line and more red zone woes for the run-and-shoot offense.

Hawaii, which allowed only 10 sacks all of last season with four of the same linemen as it started yesterday, watched Chang go down six times yesterday.

The normally animated offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh shook his head in embarrassment, and could only promise to work his unit harder this week as UH prepares for its Aloha Stadium opener against Rice on Saturday.

It wasn't any prettier when the Wolf Pack had the ball. The Nevada offensive line manhandled the UH front, blowing open huge holes for Kretschmer, the WAC's leading rusher.

But the Warriors also lost their fifth-consecutive road game because they couldn't put the ball into the end zone. Despite the pass protection problems, the offense looked decent -- until it got deep into the Wolf Pack's lair.

"We can't win when we keep getting turned away in there," Jones said. "We had our chances, but we kept having to settle for field goals."

Hawaii receiver Ashley Lelie braces for impact as Nevada
defensive back Marion McLaughlin prepares to tackle
him in the first quarter.

Nevada stopped Hawaii at its own 1, 4 and 13 in the first half, with UH getting just two Justin Ayat chip shots to show for it (a 21-yard attempt was blocked by Leondre Lewis).

The score was tied at 13 at half time, as Chang found Channon Harris for a 1-yard touchdown pass and the Wolf Pack hurt itself with 80 of its 111 yards in penalties.

But the biggest red zone heartache for Hawaii was when Ronnie Hardiman picked off Chang at the Nevada goal line in the third quarter; it was a third-and-10 play from the Wolf Pack 20 with UH trailing 19-13. The Warriors never recovered.

Kretschmer and the Wolf Pack offensive line took over from that point, swallowing the game clock in huge chunks with scoring drives of 8 minutes and 16 seconds and 6:07. In the second half, Nevada didn't look like a team that went 2-10 last year. The Wolf Pack looked like they're used to closing out games.

"It was important for us to run the football," Nevada coach Chris Tormey said. "You've got to be impressed with the offensive line. We thought it'd be a big game for Chance."

Quarterback David Neill was almost lost in the Wolf Pack grind. Despite not playing in three weeks because of a suspension and the postponement of last week's game, Neill was effective in dissecting UH's defense.

His 231 passing yards included three touchdown throws on 21-of-28 accuracy. Neill and wideouts Jermaine Brown and Nate Burleson were helped not only by the running attack, but mistakes by Hawaii's secondary.

Injury was added to insult when cornerback Kelvin Millhouse left the game with a concussion after Burleson beat him on a key 27-yard pass play.

It was just one of the most obvious of many Hawaii miscues for the day -- many more will be uncovered as the coaches look at tape today.

The players and staff refused to use the 4,000-foot altitude, 85-degree heat or an obviously inspired Nevada team as excuses.

"It's nothing we didn't see (on tape)," senior left guard Manly Kanoa said. "I wouldn't say they were hungrier than us. They executed better than we did."

Said Chang: "We killed ourselves. There's no blaming going on, but there are certain aspects we need to get better at."


Game's lone turnover proved to be pivotal

Because the run-and-shoot offense is based so much on reads made on the fly, mistakes are often magnified.

That was the case when Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang was intercepted by Nevada free safety Ronnie Hardiman with 10:43 left in the third quarter. No UH receiver was in the vicinity.

"It was a combination of mistakes," Chang said. "I probably should have gone to the backside."

It was the Warriors' only turnover and came at an inopportune time -- with UH trailing 19-13 and on the Nevada 20.

The Wolf Pack immediately went on an 18-play, 92-yard drive that consumed 8 minutes and 16 seconds of game time and set the tone for the rest of the game.

Scoring summary

First Quarter

Haw--Justin Ayat 18-yd FG, 11:43

Nev--Jermaine Brown 17 pass from David Neill (Damon Fine kick), 8:18

Haw--Channon Harris 1 pass from Timmy Chang, (Ayat kick), 4:32

Second Quarter

Nev--Fine 24-yd FG, 8:21

Haw--Ayat 30-yd FG, 1:23

Nev--Fine 40-yd FG, 0:08

Third Quarter

Nev--Nate Burleson 9 pass from Neill (kick failed), 12:09

Nev--Brown 7 pass from Neill (pass failed), 2:27

Fourth Quarter

Haw--Chad Owens 5 pass from Chang (Ayat kick), 9:14

Nev--Fine 22-yd FG, 2:55

Hawaii 10 3 0 7 20

Nevada 7 6 12 3 28

Team statistics

UH Chart

Haw Nev

Punt Returns 0-0 0-0

Kickoff Returns 3-77 3-77

Interceptions Ret. 0-0 1-8

Comp-Att-Int 25-38-1 21-28-0

Sacked-Yards Lost 3-13 6-35

Punts 1-56 2-60

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 1-0

Penalties-Yards 5-33 15-111

Time of Possession 23:22 36:38


Individual statistics

RUSHING--Hawaii, Mike Bass 12-79, Thero Mitchell 2-1, Timmy Chang 6-(-35). Nevada, Chance Kretschmer 31-162, Adrien Dugas 6-35, David Neill 7-18, Marquis Starks 3-7, Nate Burleson 1-3.

PASSING--Hawaii, Chang 25-37-1-303, Nick Rolovich 0-1-0-0. Nevada, Neill 21-28-0-231.

RECEIVING--Hawaii, Ashley Lelie 8-93, Craig Stutzmann 4-58, Channon Harris 3-45, Justin Colbert 3-23, Mitchell 3-17, Bass 2-41, Joe Correia 1-21, Chad Owens 1-5. Nevada, Burleson 7-92, Jermaine Brown 3-96, Mo Jones 3-18, Dan Bythwood 2-51, Mike Crawford 2-16, Tim Fleming 2-11, Eric Streelman 1-4, Aaron Carter 1-3.

MISSED FIELD GOALS--Hawaii, Ayat, 21.


Owls' rushing attack up next for Warriors

Hawaii (1-1, 0-1 WAC) makes its long-awaited Aloha Stadium season debut Saturday, hosting Rice (2-1, 0-0 WAC).

UH was to have opened its schedule at home against Iowa State on Sept. 1, but the Cyclones pulled out.

Rice's only loss was 48-3 against No. 3 Nebraska last Thursday. But the Owls moved the ball against the Huskers, with 196 yards rushing and 169 passing.

"We'll have to prepare for their option plus some other wrinkles they've added," Warriors coach June Jones said.

Rice averages 234.7 yards rushing per game, tops in the WAC. Hawaii yields 203.0 yards on the ground, near the bottom of the conference.

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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