RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang was helped off the field after suffering an injury during the fourth quarter last night.
Chang overcameNearly lost in a chaotic brawl that punctuated Hawaii's 20-19 victory over Cincinnati last night at Aloha Stadium was a gritty performance by Warrior quarterback Tim Chang.
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Warriors get costly win
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By Jason Kaneshiro
Chang led the Warriors to the dramatic win, but finished the game getting X-rayed in the training room after injuring his knee in the fourth quarter.
Chang strained his left knee in the first half, but returned in the fourth quarter. He didn't have his best night statistically, completing 23 of 42 passes for 219 yards, but rallied the Warriors from a 19-14 deficit before going down again late in the game.
"It hurt a lot seeing Timmy down on the ground, after coming back from adversity from last year," said UH offensive lineman Vince Manuwai. "He had everything going for himself this year."
Chang sat out the third quarter after hurting his knee in the first half. With Chang on the bench, the Warriors managed just two first downs as Cincinnati rallied to claim the lead.
He returned in the fourth quarter, but completed just 1 of 9 passes and tossed an interception, before leading the Warriors to the game-winning score, a 33-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Cockheran with 5:10 left in the game.
"The crowd was there for us, and we just tried to stay focused because we've been in these situations before," Cockheran said.
The go-ahead touchdown capped a wild exchange between the Warriors and Bearcats. With Cincinnati protecting a 5-point lead, UH linebacker Chris Brown intercepted a Gino Guidugli pass and returned it to the Bearcats' 12.
But on the next play, Chang's pass into the end zone was batted in the air and picked off by Cincinnati's Ivan Fields.
But the Hawaii defense forced a punt and Hawaii took over at its own 49.
"Defense did a great job, the crowd was on our side and that's why we had to put that touchdown in," Manuwai said. "We didn't want that to die out. Even though we turned the ball over, we still put it together."
Chang found Cockheran and Britton Komine for 9-yard passes to set up the winning touchdown.
Chang lofted a pass down the right side for Cockheran, who had gotten behind Cincinnati cornerback Blue Adams. Adams stumbled near the goal line and Cockheran cradled the ball in the end zone to give the Warriors the lead.
The play, 60-Houston, was designed for Cockheran to clear out space to open up the slot receiver on his side. But when Adams pressed him, he bolted for the end zone.
"The corner came up bump and run on me, so I'm just supposed to just run him off and take a (fade) route," Cockheran said . "I was running down the field, the ball was in the air, I saw it was to my outside, I adjusted to the ball, the guy fell down and I was just concentrating on the ball and made the catch.
Cockheran finished with a team-high seven catches for 82 yards.
"I told (Adams) I was going to get him all night," he said. "He made that comment in the paper ... about how he didn't know who our receivers are. After this game they know who I am and the rest of our receiving corps."
Chang went down on Hawaii's last possession and was wheeled off the field in the final minutes of the game. X-rays on his left knee were negative and an MRI is scheduled for today.
"That's our leader right there," Cockheran said. "That's our emotional and physical leader. It hurt a lot, like I lost a brother."
The injury and the trash talk being exchanged between Hawaii players and the Bearcats of Conference USA throughout the game fueled the melee that broke out on the field after the contest.
"They said UH didn't play nobody, they were like, 'We beat Louisville, we beat TCU,' " Manuwai said. "And it was like, 'Whoopie, you guys beat them, congratulations. You didn't play the Warriors yet.'
"We pulled it off and I'm just happy for the win and I congratulate the team and the fans for making this one memorable from the start and all the way to the end."
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[ KEY STATS ]
[ GAME STATS ]
SCORING SUMMARYFirst quarter
Cin -- Vann 5 pass from Guidugli (Ruffin kick), 5:52.
Haw -- Mitchell 1 run (Ayat kick), 12:17
Haw -- Mitchell 1 run (Ayat kick), 8:35
Cin -- FG Ruffin 47, 1:54.
Cin -- FG Ruffin 35, 10:09
Cin -- FG Ruffin 25, 7:48.
Cin -- FG Ruffin 25, 10:53
Haw -- Colbert 33 pass from Chang (pass failed), 5:10.
INDIVIDUAL STATSRUSHING -- Cincinnati: McCleskey 31-121, Harwell 3-8, Guidugli 3-4, Hall 1-3. Hawaii: Mitchell 9-52, Chang 3-4, Bass 2-4, Withy-Allen 5-1, West 1-0, Team 2-(-5).
PASSING -- Cincinnati: Guidugli 19-41-1-231. Hawaii: Chang 23-42-1-219, Withy-Allen 5-10-1-56.
RECEIVING -- Cincinnati: Olinger 7-102, Keith 3-56, McCleskey 3-25, Murray 3-24, Hall 1-12, L. Vann 1-7, B. Vann 1-5. Hawaii: Cockerhan 7-82, Komine 7-65, Ilaoa 5-43, Colbert 4-44, Herbert 2-4, Owens 1-23, Mitchell 1-12, Bass 1-2.
A -- 33,961.
CONFERENCE OVERALL W L Pct W L Pct Str Boise St. 8 0 1.000 11 1 .917 W10 Hawaii 7 1 .875 9 2 .818 W6 Fresno St. 5 2 .714 7 5 .583 W3 San Jose St. 4 4 .500 6 7 .461 L1 Nevada 4 4 .500 5 7 .417 L2 Louisiana Tech 3 4 .429 4 7 .364 W1 Rice 3 5 .375 4 7 .364 L2 SMU 3 5 .375 3 9 .250 W2 UTEP 1 7 .125 2 10 .167 L5 Tulsa 1 7 .125 1 11 .083 L4
SMU 24, Tulsa 21
Boise St. 44, Nevada 7
Louisiana Tech 38, UTEP 24
Fresno St. 19, San Jose St. 16
Hawaii 20, Cincinnati 19
[ TURNING POINT ]
As far as coach June Jones is concerned, it was something Tim Chang did after his 33-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Cockheran in the fourth quarter that was the turning point of last night's 20-19 victory over Cincinnati.
Changs gutsy run
kept chains moving
"The biggest play, the thing that was most impressive was his run for the first down when he was hurt," Jones said. "That says a lot about him."
Chang, who left the game in the second quarter with a sprained left knee, came back in the fourth quarter and threw the TD pass to Cockheran for the winning points.
But Chang also scrambled for an 11-yard gain and a first down to help kill the remaining three minutes without Cincinnati getting the ball back.
"He won us the game when he took off and ran for that first down," receiver Chad Owens said.
Dave Reardon, Star-Bulletin
[ COMING UP ]
Alabama comes to Hawaii on Saturday for its unofficial bowl game and the first meeting between the schools. The Crimson Tide (9-3, 6-2 SEC) are ineligible for postseason play due to NCAA sanctions.
Bamas bowl game
comes after loss
Auburn beat No. 9 Alabama 17-7 in the Iron Bowl yesterday, the annual rivalry game that is the state's biggest athletic event.
Alabama went into the weekend with the nation's top-rated defense, but it was Auburn that held the Crimson Tide to 93 yards under its SEC-leading 413.8 yards per game and to its lowest points output of the season by 13.
Saturday's game here marks the revival of the coaching rivalry of UH's June Jones and Alabama's Dennis Franchione.
When Franchione's Texas Christian team beat Hawaii three years ago, Jones complained about TCU's chop-blocking technique.
Dave Reardon, Star-Bulletin
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