By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
Hawaii and New Mexico State will meet for the ninth time on the gridiron today, this time at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, New Mexico. While the game won’t be shown on TV, ESPN Honolulu will bring you all the action starting with the pre-game “New Countdown to Kickoff” at noon, followed by kickoff at 2:00 p.m. (Note: Big City Diner at Windward Mall, the site of today’s pre-game show, WILL be showing the game. Come early, as seating is limited.)
The Rainbow Warriors are 17-point favorites today and have never lost to the Aggies.
We thought we’d look back on the first and most recent meetings between the two programs. Here is what we found:
FIRST MEETING: Nov. 11, 1978
In front of 25,193 fans at Aloha Stadium, the Rainbow Warriors used a dominating ground attack to pummel the Aggies, 35-20. UH fullback Keith Hill led the charge with 147 rushing yards, while freshman tailback Gary Allen contributed 107 yards. In all, Hawaii had 326 yards on the ground. Hill, QB Jeff Duva and backup tailback David Toloumu each had a rushing TD.
The UH defense also produced a strong effort, shutting out NMSU in the second half. Safety Blane Gaison and linebacker Junior Talaesea both had an interception and a fumble recovery. Gaison also contributed 10 initial tackles. DB Nelson Maeda also picked off an Aggie pass attempt.
The victory gave the Rainbow Warriors their fifth W of the season. Under second-year head coach, Hawaii would finish the year 6-5, giving UH their first winning campaign in three years.
LAST MEETING: Oct. 23, 2011
UH QB Bryant Moniz threw for 264 yards and 2 TDs and added 62 rushing yards and another pair of TDs to lead Hawaii to a 45-34 win over the Aggies.
It was Homecoming Night for the Rainbow Warriors, and a vocal crowd of 30,568 cheered on the high-scoring contest. Hawaii rolled up 503 total offensive yards. Running back Joey Iosefa paced the ground attack with 90 yards and 2 TDs. Moniz spread out his targets, with Justin Clapp leading UH in receiving yards (57) and Royce Pollard in receptions (7).
One of the game’s biggest plays occurred near the end of the opening quarter. Leading 7-0, Hawaii’s John Hardy-Tuliau blocked an Aggie punt, and teammate Kamalani Alo caught the ball and rumbled 13 yards for a TD.
Ironically, Hawaii’s special teams coach at the time was none other than Dick Tomey, who returned to assist the program that season. Of that play, Tomey said to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser: “It was huge [at the time] because we were in trouble. That got us jump-started.”
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