Warrior Report

Tulsa quarterback James Kilian looked for running room yesterday against Hawaii. Kilian had 115 yards on 18 rushes.

Hawaii blown
off road by
Golden Hurricane

The Warriors come out flat
to lose their third straight game
away from home

TULSA, Okla. -- On a night when the Skelly Stadium scoreboard operator couldn't even believe it, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane started slowly but blew away Hawaii's Warriors for a 27-16 upset of the team many picked to win the Western Athletic Conference football championship.

The three points for Brad DeVault's career-long 49-yard field goal in the third quarter were initially posted for Hawaii, expanding UH's lead to 19-10 and drawing jeers from many of the 17,342 in attendance. But those were the only "points" the Warriors got in the entire second half, and as things turned out, Hawaii (2-3, 1-1 WAC) would've needed much more than that to avoid its first loss to Tulsa (3-2, 1-0) since 2000.

"Certainly we were flat. That's for sure," UH coach June Jones said minutes after the Warriors' road record slipped to 0-3. "Started out on both sides of the ball pretty well and made some plays, and then we just didn't tackle in the second half and we didn't make any plays on offense. If you do that you're going to lose."

Jones also placed some credit where it belonged -- with Tulsa's rugged quarterback James Kilian and the Golden Hurricane coaching staff, led by first-year head man Steve Kragthorpe. Tulsa, 2-21 in 2001 and 2002, won its first WAC game since beating Texas-El Paso 20-0 last year.

"Tulsa did a good job of halftime adjustment," Jones said. "(Kilian's) a very tough kid. He took some licks out there and just kept on fighting. He's obviously a talented football player."

Kilian rushed 18 times for a career-high 115 yards and completed 12 of 26 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown. And he had lots of help; five different Tulsa players scored and six had five or more tackles, including defensive end Jeremy Davis, who bagged all three of the Hurricane's sacks.

Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang finished with 21 completions in 35 attempts for 240 yards, no touchdowns and a crucial interception.

"They had about 100 yards on the little flair they ran out of the back, but once we got that taken care of there really wasn't much they could do because our secondary was playing so well in one-on-one coverage," Davis said.

associated press
Hawaii QB Tim Chang was dragged down by Tulsa's Sherman Steptoe in the fourth quarter yesterday. Chang came out of the game following the play and did not return, as Tulsa won 27-16.

The play of Kilian and Davis, and Tulsa in general, was indeed solid. UH was shorthanded, as starting receivers Jeremiah Cockheran and Chad Owens and defensive tackle Isaac Sopoaga did not play. But the Warriors blew a 16-3 first-half lead, and in the end could only point to themselves for lack of execution.

"Missing Jeremiah and Chad, that's one thing," said UH receiver Britton Komine, who caught five passes for 64 yards. "We had our chances. We have to finish, put them away. We beat ourselves. We had our chances."

Overall, Tulsa outgained Hawaii 426 yards to 371, committed no turnovers to two for UH, and had 25 first downs while Hawaii made 20.

"We had to just keep the chains moving and find a way to keep the offense on the field and the defense off, but we didn't do that," said Chang, who left the game in the final minutes with a possible concussion.

The game was eerily reminiscent to Hawaii's 33-22 loss at UNLV 15 days prior in that the Warriors had chances to come back in the fourth quarter but could not make the plays.

Hawaii led until 11:06 left in the game when TU wide receiver Jermaine Landrum took a handoff and went 15 yards for a score and a 20-16 Hurricane lead.

Despite starting its next possession at its own 15 because of a false start, UH seemed to get into rhythm with completions of 15 and 9 yards from Chang to freshman Jason Rivers.

But on the next play, Rivers bumped TU cornerback Jermaine Hope before reaching back to make a catch. Rivers was called for interference for a 15-yard penalty, and UH was slapped with another 5 yards for another false start. Hawaii -- which couldn't make a long pass connection all game -- predictably failed from this second-and-21 quagmire, and the outcome of the game became clear.

Tulsa tight end Garrett Mills looked for running room during the first quarter against Hawaii yesterday in Tulsa, Okla.

"I was just going for the ball, and they got the call," said Rivers, who ended up leading UH with five catches for 72 yards.

Hawaii got the ball back one more time after a 9-yard TD run by Uli Parrish (94 rushing yards) made it 27-16, but Tulsa linebacker Nick Bunting intercepted UH backup Jason Whieldon with 2:41 left.

"Our offense just wasn't clicking on the same page. That's all it was. Any of our receivers can play well on any give day," Rivers said. "This wasn't that day for us."

But it began like Hawaii's previous two games against Tulsa, which UH won 36-15 and 37-14.

West Keliikipi, who rushed for a team-high 37 yards, opened the scoring with his first of two touchdowns at 7:24 of the first quarter. This one was a 1-yard run, with a second-effort burst after he was hit in the backfield.

On the previous play, Mike Bass ran to the Tulsa 1, and apparently fumbled after being hit by Shannon Carter and the Hurricane's Michael LeDet recovered the loose ball. But the play was ruled dead.

Justin Ayat's extra-point attempt was blocked by Bobby Blackshire, and Tulsa closed to 6-3 on a 37-yard field goal by DeVault, capping a 13-play, 64-yard drive at 3:36 of the first. TU drove to the Hawaii 15, but a 5-yard sack by Travis LaBoy helped force the field goal.

Keliikipi's nifty 10-yard run -- aided by shoddy Tulsa tackling -- made it 13-3 after Ayat's successful PAT with 45 seconds left in the first quarter. Ross Dickerson's 24-yard run with a reverse and Chang's 20-yard pass to Komine highlighted the drive.

Chang started the next Hawaii possession with a 31-yard pass to Rivers, and it ended with Ayat kicking a 25-yard field goal at 10:12 before intermission. Hawaii's lead was 16-3.

Oliver Fletcher's interception of Chang set up Tulsa's first touchdown and was the turning point of the game. Kilian hit Richard McQuillar for a 22-yard TD pass to close the gap to 16-10 at 2:52 until the break. It was McQuillar's first career touchdown.

The Hurricane drove at the end of the half, but time ran out when Kilian was tackled after a 27-yard scramble at the Warriors' 23.

The best was to come for Kilian and his teammates after intermission, at the Warriors' expense.

"He was real good in the second half," UH defensive line coach Vantz Singletary said. "He exploded, made some great runs, scrambles. He gave them what they needed to win the game."


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