Dave Reardon

Press Box

By Dave Reardon

Sunday, October 21, 2001

Chang happy to
be towel boy for
winning Warriors

TULSA, Okla. >> Tim Chang spent yesterday's postgame celebration passing out towels to his teammates.

And he did it with a huge smile on his face.

Chang, who started Hawaii's first three games at quarterback, stood on the sideline for the third consecutive game, nursing a sprained right wrist. Nick Rolovich has subbed for him and UH has won all three games.

Yesterday, Rolovich completed 24 of 35 passes for 324 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions as the Warriors beat Tulsa 36-15.

"All I want to do is win, no matter how we do it," Chang said.

"If I've got to sit on the side, so be it. When you're in the locker room like this and you see how happy everybody is you forget about who did this and who did that. It's a team."

Chang was expected to start yesterday, but he didn't throw much in practice on Wednesday and coach June Jones said Friday that Rolovich would start.

"When I see Rolo doing good, it's like I'm in there," Chang said. "All eyes were on me, but now I'm hurt, I'm out, and everybody steps up. It felt great."

Jones sticks to his guns: With three wins in a row, many will be calling for Rolovich to start Friday against Fresno State, regardless if Chang is ready.

But Jones has insisted Chang is the starter, and he says starters don't lose their jobs to injury.

Rolovich said he is prepared to step back again if he must.

"I know I am the second-string quarterback, but I have to be ready," he said.

"I'm glad to make plays for this team and the state of Hawaii. We're really making some good progress with our offense and defense playing together and believing in each other."

Getting their kicks: Kicker Justin Ayat and punter Mat McBriar had their best games of the season.

Ayat, who made one of five field goals two weeks ago at Southern Methodist, made a 50-yarder last week against Texas-El Paso and blasted a 55-yarder yesterday.

"I don't want to feel like (after the SMU game) again," Ayat said. "Mentally, I'm trying to focus more and if I miss it forget about it."

McBriar said he was trying too hard before popping five punts for a 47-yard average yesterday, including a 69-yarder and a perfectly placed punt that put Tulsa at its own 4.

"I was just relaxing a bit more. In the earlier games I was a little tense out there, trying to hit it so hard," McBriar said. "I was a bit more relaxed and the longer ones came."

Wideout matchup: It seems that every week UH plays a team with a big-time receiver.

Donald Shoals hurt Hawaii last year with a touchdown catch and a scoring punt return. Shoals tried to do it again yesterday as the focal point of Tulsa's attack, with 79 yards on seven catches, including a 25-yard TD from Josh Blankenship.

But UH has a top-notch receiver of its own in Ashley Lelie. Lelie topped Shoals' output with seven catches for 85 yards and two touchdowns.

Lelie has seven touchdown catches in six games.

Dave Reardon, who covered sports in Hawaii from 1977 to 1998,
moved to the the Gainesville Sun, then returned to
the Star-Bulletin in Jan. 2000.
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