Warriors hope
to keep rolling

Hawaii will try to avenge its last
WAC loss, which was to Boise State


By Dave Reardon

Justin Colbert was fuming. He was irate and agitated.

Minutes after Hawaii lost 28-21 to Boise State last year, the UH receiver vociferously complained that he was interfered with by cornerback Julius Brown as the Warriors tried to mount a last-minute drive.

Months later, Colbert is still bothered when reminded of how Hawaii suffered its only Western Athletic Conference loss in its last eight league games.

"I still feel the same way I felt after the game. But some things you just got to deal with, I can't change it now," the senior wideout said.

While Colbert can't undo history, he gets a chance to do what the Broncos did to the Warriors last year -- beat them at home.

"We really want these guys," said Colbert, who caught three passes for 37 yards against BSU last year. "It's going to be tough, but we can do it. They have virtually the same secondary as last year. They'll be capable. (Brown) is back and he's a very good player. I'm going to approach this game like he's the top corner in the nation."

Colbert, who has started a team-high 27 consecutive games, is UH's lone returning receiver among the first five. He has been steady this season, with 12 catches for 210 yards and two touchdowns.

After a big game in Saturday's 42-10 rout of Southern Methodist, inside receiver Chad Owens leads the Warriors with 23 receptions overall for 313 yards.

Receivers coach Ron Lee said the pass catchers are beginning to come into their own right on time.

"I can sleep better at night now," Lee said. "They're catching the ball, playing more as a unit. We're not quite there yet. But we're having a better understanding playing together. With a couple more practices, getting ready for Boise, I think it's perfect timing. Going against a well-disciplined team like Boise, we're going to find out exactly where we are."

The Broncos rank fourth in the WAC in pass defense, but they are experienced and talented in the secondary. Rover Quintin Mikell is third in BSU history with 333 tackles and Brown already has two interceptions this year and five in his career.

Lee said the key is to spread the ball around.

"To beat a Boise State and score points, we can't just have Chad Owens have 11 catches, we have to have the other guys have seven or eight grabs," the coach said. "That's what (quarterback) Timmy's (Chang) working on, too."

Hawaii's top receivers from last year's game -- Channon Harris (10 catches for 112 yards) and Ashley Lelie (4 for 77 and the only receiving TD) are gone. But Lee and Colbert have long memories.

"That game shouldn't have come down to the last drive. We had lots of other opportunities. They're a good team, solid well-disciplined," Lee said. "We need to go up there and win it, because they're not going to give it to us. They don't lose at home. Defensively and special teams we'll be fine. We need to win it with our offense."

None of the diminutive UH starting receivers are taller than 5-foot-10, so a few people who remember the 1980s have taken to calling them "The Smurfs," like the small but nimble Washington Redskins receivers of that decade were known.

Colbert claimed ignorance of the old cartoon characters, but was exposed when he said to call him "Papa Smurf." And he laughed when told he and his mates are invading the Smurf Turf on Saturday.

Colbert just wants to leave the Broncos as blue as their field while settling a 10-month-old grudge.

"It's time to move on," he said. "(Last year's game is) still going to be in my head every route I run and everything I do, to make sure I'm fundamentally sound and make some big plays."

Warriors vs. Broncos

Who: Hawaii (3-1, 2-0 WAC) at Boise State (3-1, 0-0)
When: Saturday, 2:05 p.m., Hawaii time
TV: ESPN Plus (on Channel 5)
Radio: KKEA 1420 AM

UH Athletics

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