Warriors paint Vandals green


POSTED: Sunday, November 23, 2008

Some concerns Hawaii had entering last night's game against Idaho didn't turn out to be much of a problem at all.

The rain that hit over the weekend largely stayed away from Aloha Stadium.

And the Warriors offense alleviated coach Greg McMackin's concern over the effects of a week off.

Fed by a defense that came up with four turnovers, the Warriors rolled up their highest point total of the season in a 49-17 win over the Vandals before a crowd of 23,491.

With the victory, the Warriors (6-5, 5-3 Western Athletic Conference) moved over the .500 mark for the first time this season and closed to within one win of a bowl berth.

“;We had a purpose this game,”; UH linebacker Solomon Elimimian said. “;(The Vandals) were trying to take something we wanted, that's to go to the Hawaii Bowl.”;

McMackin admitted to some trepidation over the offense maintaining its timing during the week off following a 42-point outing in a win over New Mexico State.

But it didn't take long for the Warriors to put that to rest.

Hawaii quarterback Greg Alexander completed 14 of 24 passes for 264 yards and three touchdowns, two going to receiver Malcolm Lane, as UH rolled up 356 total yards while holding Idaho to 219.

“;Greg Alexander's really bringing us together,”; McMackin said. “;The package is just opening up to him and he's exciting everybody. The offense has a swagger now.”;

Lane didn't start for the first time this season, but racked up 201 all-purpose yards and broke the century mark for the first time in his career in finishing with 144 receiving yards.

With the game tied at 7, Lane's first reception of the night—an 82-yard catch and run down the right sideline—gave the Warriors the lead for good.

Alexander also hit Aaron Bain for a second-quarter score to give UH a 28-10 halftime lead and connected with Lane on a 36-yard touchdown to open the second half.

Running back Daniel Libre added two short touchdown runs in the second half to cap the Warriors' scoring.

“;The main thing is everybody's just communicating and everybody's starting to understand what's going on,”; Alexander said. “;The past couple of weeks we've been executing pretty well. We worked really hard in practice. ... everybody's on the same page and it's starting to show.”;

The Warriors defense helped ignite the blowout with three interceptions and a fumble recovery, and recorded a season-high seven sacks—all of them coming from defensive linemen—among their 13 tackles for losses.

Starting tackles Keala Watson and Josh Leonard had two each, with David Veikune, Fale Laeli and C.J. Allen-Jones also chipping in.

“;I think it was the bye week where last Saturday when we were all sitting at home doing nothing, away from the field where we belong,”; Watson said of the line's energized performance. “;We came out here with the attitude that we want to establish a presence on the D-line.”;

Idaho jumped ahead on its opening possession, keeping the ball for nearly half of the first quarter in driving 74 yards in 14 plays and scoring on a 6-yard touchdown pass from Enderle to Peter Bjorvik.

The Warriors needed far less time to catch and pass the Vandals (2-10, 1-7). Alexander tied the game with a 1-yard quarterback sneak to cap an eight-play drive.

After the defense forced a punt, Lane got loose down the right sideline and Alexander hit him in stride for the UH offense's longest play of the season.

“;I love when a corner plays bump-and-run at me,”; Lane said. “;As soon as I beat him I just looked back for the ball and I knew Greg was going to put it on the money.”;

After the teams traded fumbles, Jameel Dowling came up with an interception and appeared to return it for a touchdown. A review showed he stepped out of bounds at the Idaho 2, but the reversal only delayed UH's score—a Kealoha Pilares run.

Desmond Thomas and Keao Monteilh also came up with picks for the Warrior secondary.

“;The D-line had a lot of pressure and we did our job, we played our alignment and assignment,”; Dowling said.