Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, September 23, 2001


Nevada running back Chance Kretschmer carried 31 times
for 162 yards against Hawaii in Reno yesterday.

Warrior defense couldn’t
corral Nevada work horse

By Dave Reardon

RENO, Nev. >> At one point late in Nevada's 28-20 victory over Hawaii, a gang of Warriors roped and tied Wolf Pack running back Chance Kretschmer, a former rodeo star.

But they only got him after another big chunk of yardage and another first down, as Nevada wore down UH's defense in the heat of half-filled Mackay Stadium.

"I got tackled by about four or five guys," said Kretschmer, who pounded Hawaii for 136 of his 162 yards after half time. "One of them said, 'You gotta stop doing that. You're killing us.' That's when I got my extra wind."

The UH defense never got a chance to breathe, as Nevada dominated the second half the old-fashioned way -- on the ground. With a young but efficient line blowing open huge holes, the Wolf Pack closed the deal with two long drives featuring the former walk-on who, as a freshman, leads the Western Athletic Conference in rushing.

Hawaii led in time of possession in a first half that ended in a 13-all tie. But Nevada finished the game having controlled the ball more than 13 minutes longer than UH.

The Warriors fell behind 25-13 after an 18-play, 92-yard drive that consumed 8 minutes and 16 seconds of the third quarter and featured seven bruising carries by Kretschmer for 34 yards. It was nothing fancy, but it was effective. Jermaine Brown's second touchdown catch from David Neill, a 7-yarder, finished it.

More of the same came in the fourth quarter, when the Wolf Pack line, including former Waianae all-stater Kika Kaululaau at left guard -- manhandled UH again. Kretschmer carried 10 times for 49 yards of a 15-play, 61-yard drive that culminated with Damon Fine's third field goal, for 22 yards.

Nevada led by eight with 2:55 left -- enough time for a run-and-shoot miracle or even two. But not on this day. Hawaii was done in the sun.

"It was my worst nightmare," UH defensive coordinator Kevin Lempa said after the Warrior coaches met for a half-hour preliminary autopsy afterward. "I have to look at the tape to figure it all out, but it's obvious we have a lot of work to do."

Lempa was wary beforehand of Kretschmer grinding out good first-down yardage, limiting UH's blitzing opportunities. And it came to reality, time and again.

A lack of big plays from the defense -- only four tackles for losses and no Nevada turnovers -- was caused at least partly by the grunt work of Kretschmer and his linemen.

Keani Alapa started at outside linebacker because of a domino effect caused by defensive tackle Mike Iosua's unavailability due to injury. Alapa praised Kretschmer but said UH caused its own problems on defense.

"He's a good running back, but we should have stopped him," said Alapa, who was in on five tackles.

Linebacker/defensive tackle Chris Brown had hoped Hawaii would prove it could finally stop the run yesterday. It simply didn't happen. When Kretschmer wasn't rumbling with the ball, Neill picked his spots with accurate passing.

Each keyed the other, and Nevada outgained Hawaii 451 to 348 in total yardage.

"It was little mistakes we kept making. Misalignments, not doing our jobs," Chris Brown said. "We could have done better on the run. We lost it ourselves. There's nothing else to blame."

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

E-mail to Sports Editor

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Do It Electric!]
[Classified Ads] [Search] [Subscribe] [Info] [Letter to Editor]

© 2001 Honolulu Star-Bulletin