Wright-Jackson shines in return


POSTED: Sunday, September 13, 2009

Back in his home state, Leon Wright-Jackson flashed back to his days as one of Washington's top prep athletes.

“;Coach Mack just told me to run like how I ran in high school,”; Wright-Jackson said.

Wright-Jackson, a Parade All-American at Pasco High, ripped off a 26-yard dash to spark Hawaii's initial drive and later scored UH's first rushing touchdown of the season. His 2-yard plunge gave the Warriors a 21-0 lead late in the first quarter.

Wright-Jackson said he knew of 45 friends and family members who attended the game. A few more showed up by kickoff, pushing the number closer to 60.

“;It meant everything, seeing a whole bunch of family members,”; Wright-Jackson said. “;It gave me chills just to see everybody in here.”;

UH linebacker Aaron Brown, from Puyallup, Wash., finished with three tackles, including one for loss.


Shotgun start

Hawaii dialed up the blitz on offense, scoring early and often en route to a 35-0 lead midway through the second quarter.

Four of Hawaii's first five scoring drives lasted for less than 1 minute, 48 seconds, and averaged three plays apiece.

In contrast, Washington State's first scoring drive, which resulted in a 20-yard field goal from Nico Grasu, spanned 13 plays and lasted 5 minutes, 42 seconds—nearly a minute-and-a-half longer than the aforementioned drives put together.

“;We came out fast, made completions quick, and got out on the field and scored,”; said Hawaii receiver Greg Salas after piling up 195 yards and a touchdown on seven catches. “;We got in the right position, Greg (Alexander) put the ball on us, and we did what we had to do.”;


In-state road game

Almost half (28 of 60) of the players on the Cougars roster eligible to play yesterday were making the first road trip of their careers.

Head coach Paul Wulff wound up playing more players than he originally intended because of an onslaught of injuries.

Safety LeAndre Daniels broke his fibula and could be done for the season. Receiver Gino Simone and linebacker Andy Mattingly left the game with concussions and offensive lineman Zack Williams rolled an ankle. Simone, Mattingly and Williams were all starters.


The line did fine

The UH offensive line may have been the unit that showed the most improvement from the season opener—at least on paper. The Warriors generated 626 yards in offense, in large part because the line protected quarterback Alexander on passes and created openings for 137 yards on the ground. There was just one sack for 1 yard, compared to four for 23 yards last week.


Sideline shorts

The Warriors came out of this game pretty healthy. Coach Greg McMackin said the early indication is that there were no significant injuries. He also said he expects starting defensive end John Fonoti to be available for Saturday's game at UNLV. ... Former Hawaii linebackers M.L. Johnson and David Maeva and receiver Lindsey Yowell were among the many UH lettermen in attendance.