Star-Bulletin Sports

Sunday, November 18, 2001


Hawaii quarterback Nick Rolovich threw a school record seven
touchdown passes and had 500 yards passing last night
against Miami (Ohio).

UH wins

Justin Ayat kicks a last-second
field goal for the victory

Ayat only needed another chance


By Dave Reardon

It was almost the game of June Jones' dreams. Get rid of those 11 running plays, and there you have it -- the perfect run-and-shoot game.

Nick Rolovich piled up a career-best 500 yards passing and threw for a school-record seven touchdowns last night as Hawaii (7-3) guaranteed a winning season by outlasting Miami (Ohio) (7-4) in the most furious finish of the season. The Warriors prevailed 52-51 as Rolovich hooked up with all four starting receivers for at least one touchdown.

UH Football A small but boisterous -- and fortunate -- crowd of 29,073 saw it at Aloha Stadium. Many more will wish they'd been there.

In the end, it was redshirt freshman kicker Justin Ayat who provided the difference between two wild offenses -- Miami coach Terry Hoeppner's "Midwest Coast Offense," which amassed 616 yards with freshman Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback, and Jones' run-and-shoot, with former backup Rolovich winning his sixth of seven starts this season.

The teams combined for 106 passes, 70 of them complete in a game that lasted 3 hours and 49 minutes.

Ayat's 24-yard field goal with 5 seconds left was the final of five lead changes in the last 8 minutes and 48 seconds of the game.

"Welcome to WAC football I guess -- that was a real shootout," Hoeppner said. "Rolovich did a great job for Hawaii. Congratulations to June Jones, he was masterful."

So was Rolovich and the rest of the offense, especially in the second half. The offensive line did its part, allowing only one sack in one of its best games of the season.

"We just ran the plays," Rolovich said. "We executed and we came out on top."

Even Ayat's chip shot afforded unusual drama, as the RedHawks' Michael Adams jumped offside, and Ayat, who was distracted by Adams, rushed and missed the kick.

But Adams was called for the penalty, and the freshman from Kamehameha Schools got another chance.

This one he made.

Then he was mobbed by his teammates and hoisted onto the shoulders of mascot Vili Fehoko.

"I wasn't really nervous," Ayat said. "After the miss I just relaxed myself. Good blocking, good hold, good kick."

Thero Mitchell's 17-yard run, and a 17-yard pass to Ashley Lelie, who caught six passes for a career-high 211 yards and three touchdowns, helped set up Ayat's kick.

The kick would have sent the game to overtime if not for Sean Butts' block of Miami's extra point attempt after Roethlisberger's 9-yard TD run that made it 51-49, RedHawks with 1:08 left.

Roethlisberger passed for 452 yards and three touchdowns.

Justin Colbert, who finished with 10 catches for 151 yards, grabbed one from Rolovich at the 3:39 mark to make it 49-45, Hawaii.

That was right after Chauncey Henry put Miami up 45-42 at 5:27 on a 39-yard pass from Roethlisberger.

Hawaii took its first lead when Rolovich hit Channon Harris with a school-record sixth TD pass of the game. The 22-yarder was Harris' second scoring catch of the night, and gave UH a 42-38 lead with 8:48 left.

On the previous play, Craig Stutzmann made a diving grab of a Rolovich pass for 20 yards.

Miami led 28-21 after a first half in which the RedHawks threatened to put the game away early. But UH hung around despite never leading.

Little, who finished with 122 yards on the ground, rushed for touchdowns of 2, 12 and 1 yard. Roethlisberger was perfect in the first quarter, completing all 12 of his passes, including a 16-yard touchdown to Branch.

Rolovich was off-target much of the first half, completing only 13 of 30 passes. But three were for touchdowns, including two to Lelie for 78 and 10 yards. The other was for 7 yards to Channon Harris 42 seconds before the break.

UH ran the ball only four times in the first half for 22 yards, including two scrambles by Rolovich.

Both teams passed for 209 yards before intermission, but the difference was the RedHawks' 20 rushes for 108 yards, including 91 by Little.

Hawaii edged back in the third quarter on Lelie's third touchdown catch, a 60-yarder from Rolovich, and Stutzmann's 3-yarder, also from Rolovich.

Miami scored 10 points in the period, on Jared Parseghian's 42-yard field goal and Branch's second TD reception, a 5-yarder.


Scoring summary

MIAMI (OHIO) 14 14 10 13 51

HAWAII 7 14 14 17 52

First Quarter

Mia--Little 2 run (Parseghian kick), 9:46.
Haw--Lelie 78 pass from Rolovich (Ayat kick), 7:30.
Mia--Little 12 run (Parseghian kick), 3:10.
Second Quarter

Mia--Branch 16 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), 10:48.
Haw--Lelie 10 pass from Rolovich (Ayat kick), 6:41.
Mia--Little 1 run (Parseghian kick), 1:25.
Haw--Harris 7 pass from Rolovich (Ayat kick), 0:42.

Third Quarter

Mia--FG Parseghian 42, 10:16.
Haw--Stutzmann 3 pass from Rolovich (Ayat kick), 7:06.
Mia--Branch 5 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), 2:04.
Haw--Lelie 60 pass from Rolovich (Ayat kick), 1:45.

Fourth Quarter

Haw--Harris 21 pass from Rolovich (Ayat kick), 8:48.
Mia--Henry 39 pass from Roethlisberger (Parseghian kick), 5:27.
Haw--Colbert 10 pass from Rolovich (Ayat kick), 3:39.
Mia--Roethlisberger 9 run (kick blocked), 1:08.
Haw--FG Ayat 24, 0:00.

Team statistics

Mia Haw

First downs 35 23

Rushes-yards 38-164 11-45

Passing 452 500

Comp-Att-Int 40-53-0 30-53-1

Return Yards 39 7

Punts-Avg. 3-39.3 3-53.7

Fumbles-Lost 0-0 1-0

Penalties-Yards 16-121 5-33

Time of Possession 40:40 19:20

Individual statistics

RUSHING -- Miami: Little 26-123, Roethlisberger 8-32, Henry 1-8, Clemons 2-2, team 1-0. Hawaii: Mitchell 4-28, Rolovich 3-15, Bass 3-3, Cobert 1-(-1).

PASSING -- Miami: Roethlisberger 40-53-0-452. Hawaii: Rolovich 30-53-1-500.

RECEIVING -- Miami: Tillitz 12-130, Larkin 8-101, Henry 6-98, Branch 5-47, Little 3-13, Kirkpatrick 3-38, Stegman 2-19, Frazier 1-3, Hawk 1-3. Hawaii: Colbert 10-151, Harris 8-65, Lelie 6-211, Stutzmann 5-66, Bass 1-7.


Butts' extra-point block set up Ayat's heroics

Sean Butts has been a force in the middle all season for Hawaii, so when he blocked the extra point by Miami (Ohio) place-kicker Jared Parseghian it didn't come as a surprise. It was his third blocked kick of the year and set up the winning field goal by Justin Ayat.

The RedHawks had just scored on a 9-yard run by freshman quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to make it 51-49 with 1:08 left in the game.

In stepped the 6-foot-3 Butts through the middle to cleanly block the extra-point kick and give UH new life.

Justin Ayat kicked the winner through from 24 yards out to be carried off the field, but without Butts, the boot would have meant overtime, not victory.

Paul Arnett, Star-Bulletin


Air Force comes back after abandoning WAC

Air Force flies into Hawaii after absorbing a 34-10 pounding at Nevada-Las Vegas yesterday.

After winning four of their first five games, the Falcons (5-5) have gone south since losing 63-33 at Brigham Young on Oct. 20.

Freshman quarterback Keith Boyea leads Air Force's option attack in rushing (901) and passing (1,142) yardage.

Hawaii is 5-11-1 against Air Force. This will be the first time the schools play since the Falcons flew the WAC coop for the new Mountain West after the 1998 season. Air Force won the last meeting 34-27 at Aloha Stadium on Nov. 1, 1997.

The game will be on Saturday, as ESPN opted not to televise it and force a move to Friday.

Dave Reardon, Star-Bulletin

UH Athletics
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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