Kalani Simpson


By Kalani Simpson

Great game brought
down by madness

IT'S sad that this game soured the way it did. It was disgusting the way this masterpiece dissolved into boos and bad blood. We should have been yelling "hana hou." Forget protocol and forget convention. Forget the accepted way of doing things. Had Cincinnati won its last two games it should have been back here for a rematch on Christmas Day.

But that was before the riot. Before a wildfire swept over this artificial turf, bodies surging everywhere scarily, Hawaii running back Mike Bass on the bottom of it all, getting kicked with full force.

"It was fun," he said, after emerging victoriously, with a 20-19 win and a story for the ages. "Didn't hurt."

But it did. This besmirched the two programs, this sullied what should have been remembered as a great game.

Hawaii will remember it as such, but now partly for the wrong reasons.

"They lost," said tackle Uriah Moenoa, "and they lost the fight."

Yeah, we have our own Marshall-Miami massacre now. It was out of control, players everywhere, fans dumping and throwing things on a Cincinnati team heading into its locker room. Police shoving fans back. Mayhem. Mass hysteria.

"Beautiful," Moenoa said.

It wasn't. It was ugly. But Hawaii players, macho guys caught up in the moment, celebrated in a world gone mad. Chris Brown came out of the scrum with a Cincinnati helmet, ran toward the crowd and held it up like a trophy. The Romans at ringside howled with triumph and called for more blood.

How did this happen? How did it all spin out of control?

"I don't really know," June Jones said.

For all but the final minutes this was football. This was fun. This was a game. It started out as the Hyperbole Bowl. The Best Quarterback in Cincinnati (a city which a few stubborn souls still insist is home to an NFL franchise) against The Man Who Will Win the Heisman Trophy.

But then Timmy "Downtown Athletic Club" Chang got hurt. Cincinnati took the lead. We saw why Cincinnati could play to the wire against Ohio State. We saw why Cincinnati entered this game at 5-5.

And then in the fourth quarter, Chang returned. It was hero time.

"Well that was big," Jones said.

Not so fast. Hawaii stalled, and Hawaii punted twice. Then Brown stole an interception and rumbled 26 yards. Hawaii's longest pass completion of the night.

But on the very next play the ball pinballed, bing, bong, boom, and Cincinnati's Ivan Fields had it, and UC might have had the game, too.

People were stomping and jumping in their seats. UH had to make a stand, and did, and then Chang made a throw and Jeremiah Cockheran caught it falling down.

Touchdown. It was official. This game was a great one.

But ugliness descended. Chang was knocked out of the game and the crowd saw maliciousness. Tempers were hot. When the clock showed zeroes, all hell broke loose.

"I saw everything," Moenoa said. "I saw crutches ..."

Later, a cooler Chad Owens came out to make peace with UC players. A classy move. A good sign.

A policeman on the scene summed it all up: "(Blanking) ding dongs," he said.

Kalani Simpson can be reached at

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