An HPD officer sprayed pepper spray toward fans as Cincinnati players went through the tunnel to their locker room last night at Aloha Stadium. A fight broke out between the two teams following the game.

Scuffle mars end
of tough game

Warriors get costly win
Chang overcame injury to lead UH
Funds raised for Jackson

By Cindy Luis

Cincinnati is a town famous for its chili. Last night, the Bearcats left Aloha Stadium with a bad taste in their mouths.

It was heartburn city as the Cincinnati football team had to be escorted to buses by security following an ugly 20-19 loss to No. 25 Hawaii.

Twenty minutes after the last punch and helmet were thrown on the field, Bearcat coach Rick Minter herded his players to the showers and denied all interview requests.

It was a hard-fought game that turned into a melee after Warrior quarterback Tim Chang took a late hit with 2:39 remaining.

Junior linebacker Tyjuan Hagler was penalized for roughing the passer after Chang had clearly gotten rid of the ball.

"I just saw it as a guy going as fast as he can and not really paying attention to the whistle," said Cincinnati running back DeMarco McCleskey, who avoided the postgame brawl by heading to the locker room. "I think the referees really lost the game for us today. We set ourselves up in position to win and they kept calling penalties on us.

"But I think it was a nice trip, I got to go to Waikiki. I'm a senior and I'm going out with a bang."


As the final seconds ticked down, Minter pointed to the locker room. He tried to get his players off as coaches from both teams went out for the traditional handshakes. Instead, players from both benches ran out to join the fight.

Bottles were thrown onto the field, helmets went flying from both benches, Bearcat tackle Trent Cole had to be restrained by his own teammates and senior receiver Tye Keith was helped off with what appeared to be a bloody nose.

The Cincinnati coaches requested a security escort to the buses, which were backed down the north end zone

Cincinnati (5-6) nearly became the first team to defeat Hawaii (9-2) in six home games this season. Instead, UH ran its streak to nine in a row, dating back to the 28-21 loss to Boise State last Nov. 10.

The Bearcats nearly pulled it off, thanks to the foot of senior kicker Jonathan Ruffin, the nation's top kicker in 2000, and the feet of McCleskey, who became the 12th CU player to post a 1,000-yard rushing season.

The record-setting Ruffin upped his career mark to 59 field goals when he hit all four of his attempts, running his string to 10 in a row. It tied his own school record for most field goals in a single game. He has hit at least one field goal in the past seven games.

McCleskey ran for 121 yards, pushing his season total to 1,033.

Although held to one reception, well below his average of 6.2 per game, senior receiver LaDaris Vann extended his skein of consecutive games to 43. His lone catch came with 10:41 left in the third quarter, a 7-yarder to the 25 that helped set up Ruffin's second field goal and bring the Bearcats to within 14-13.

Cincinnati nearly did in the Warriors with two interceptions in the second half.

The first was by senior cornerback Blue Adams as Hawaii was on the move late in the third and trailing 16-14. With the goal line just 35 yards away and a second-and-seven situation, Adams picked off a Shawn Withy-Allen pass on the 18 and returned it 12 yards. It was Adams' fifth interception in 10 games.

The second was by safety Ivan Fields on a deflection in the end zone with 8:08 to go in the game.

Cincinnati had dominated the fourth quarter this season, outscoring opponents 90-27 in the previous nine games. The Bearcats had a 34-3 edge in winning their last three games and had only allowed two fourth-quarter touchdowns all season.

But the visitors couldn't capitalize on their two final possessions against a very solid Hawaii defense. Cincinnati must now win its final two games in order to become bowl-eligible for a third straight season.

Hawaii's Chad Owens and Cincinnati's Antwan Peek met afterward to shake hands. Vili the Warrior, Hawaii's mascot, also met the Bearcats as they headed to their buses nearly an hour after the final gun.

UH Athletics

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