By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
The late Colt Brennan started and ended his University of Hawaii football career with disappointing losses against college football powerhouses – debuting against USC and finishing with Georgia – but almost every game in between was a mesmerizing treat for Rainbow Warrior fans. Brennan’s three seasons at UH were marked with new passing records, momentous wins, Heisman hype and, to cap it off, an achievement that was Sugar sweet. We pay tribute to Colt with this list of his five greatest games as a UH QB:
5. CAREER NIGHT, Oct. 15, 2005. In his sixth game in a Rainbow Warrior uniform, Brennan threw for a career-high 7 TDs – just one TD short of the school record held by Nick Rolovich – as Hawaii rolled over New Mexico State, 49-28. It was Homecoming Night at Aloha Stadium, and Brennan didn’t disappoint the home fans. He was 38 for 53 for a season-high 515 yards and the 7 scores. Ryan Grice-Mullen was his primary target, as the sure-handed receiver snared 9 receptions for 137 yards and 4 TDs. Chad Mock had 10 catches for 147 yards and 1 TD, while Davone Bess contributed 7 receptions for 128 yards and another score.
4. ROAD WILD: Oct. 14, 2006. For Rainbow Warrior fans, this was a sweet victory. Hawaii blitzed their WAC rival, Fresno State, 68-37, for their first road win over the Bulldogs since the 2000 season. The 68 points were the school’s most on the road in program history. Brennan was a big part it all, passing for 409 yards and 5 TDs, including two each to Bess and Ian Sample. The junior QB also displayed amazing accuracy, completing 32 of his 39 pass attempts. Brennan was also the team’s leading rusher (a rare occurrence) with 43 yards on 7 scrambles.
3. BEDEVILING THE DEVILS: Dec. 24, 2006. In front of a record Hawaii Bowl crowd of 43,435 fans, Brennan passed for a UH record 559 yards and 5 TDs, leading the Rainbow Warriors to a thrilling 41-24 victory over Arizona State on Christmas Eve. Hawaii actually trailed the Sun Devils, 7-3, at halftime. But Brennan and his teammates erupted for 24 straight points in the second half. Brennan’s chief target this time around was ex-Saint Louis Crusader Jason Rivers who caught 14 balls for a school record (and NCAA bowl game record) 308 receiving yards. Not to be outdone, Brennan’s 5 scoring strikes gave him 58 for the season – a new NCAA record.
2. THE COMEBACK: Dec. 1, 2007. Hawaii had already clinched their first outright WAC title a week earlier, but the Rainbow Warriors needed to win one more time to secure a perfect regular-season record and a possible berth in the Sugar Bowl. It didn’t start very well, as the visiting Washington Huskies raced out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. But three scoring strikes from Brennan to Rivers in the second quarter narrowed the lead, and Washington led, 28-21, at the half. After a scoreless third period, Brennan went to work, completing another TD pass to Rivers to tie the game. Then, with 44 seconds left in the game, Brennan found Grice-Mullen from 5 yards yard out to win the game, 35 to 28. The next day, UH officially received an invitation to play in the BCS Sugar Bowl.
1. CHAMPS: Nov. 23, 2007. Brennan’s greatest game as a college football quarterback happened on a championship stage: In the conference season finale before a sold-out crowd at Aloha Stadium, the senior QB passed for 495 yards and 5 TDs, leading No. 13 UH to a 39-27 win over No. 17 Boise State for the WAC championship. Bess was Brennan’s top target on this night, with 15 receptions for 181 yards and 2 TDs. Said a triumphant Brennan after the game, “It was a great win for us, the school and the state. The faith on this team is huge. We believe in ourselves.”
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