Warriors home for 3-game final exam


POSTED: Monday, November 10, 2008

Saturday was the third time this season the Hawaii offense looked at least a little like the Warriors of 2006 and 2007 who scored at will.

Greg Alexander completed 26 of 32. He came through often on third down, and he's got a nice little string going of no interceptions in 92 throws.

Alexander wasn't born a scramblin' man, but he's shown a penchant for choosing the right times to tuck, the right times to chuck.

Daniel Libre, a tough guy even by football standards, turned in the season's best performance by a UH running back, despite getting dinged again early in the second half.

The offensive line played its best game of the year.

Also, the defense returned to good form after an off game at Utah State.

Now, not to kill the buzz or anything, but before we talk about winning out or starting the 2009 Heisman campaign, let's remember this was against New Mexico State.

That means I still want to see something like this against a legitimate defense before being really impressed.

If you are a good Warriors fan, you bounce right back with, “;But Dave, New Mexico State has the best pass defense in the WAC.”;

You probably heard or read that a couple of times last week, or thought you did. It's a classic misinterpretation of a generally overrated stat, passing yards allowed per game.

Boise State's got the best pass defense in the WAC, along with the best pretty much everything else. You don't need numbers or me to tell you that.

The reason New Mexico State doesn't give up very many yards by air per game is because most teams don't bother to throw against them because they can get to the end zone as efficiently by running the ball.

Even after the relative torching by Alexander of 288 yards, the Aggies are still first in the WAC and sixth nationally, yielding 162.89 by air per game. But they don't lead in any other more meaningful pass defense stats. And opponents run over them any way you look at it.

The UH offense was this good only in the Weber State and Nevada games—one half against an FCS team and in spots against the worst secondary in the WAC (by any measuring stick).

Next up on the run to the Hawaii Bowl: Idaho.

Its season started with separate wardrobe controversies for the players and cheerleaders to rival that of proud Vandals alum Sarah Palin. Things have gone as bad as usual on the field with just one WAC win ... against New Mexico State.

Here are some telling pass defense(less) stats: Idaho allows 7.85 yards per toss, 67.46 percent of opponent throws are completed, and the Kibbie Domers have given up 26 TD passes. Second-to-last, last and last in the WAC.

UH failed miserably at Utah State. After beating New Mexico State in what amounts to a makeup of an algebra midterm, the Warriors get an A. But that doesn't mean they're ready for calculus.

Good thing it's back to simple math, and the Warriors have two weeks to study. Cool for them, too, that all the remaining tests are take-homes.