By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.
On “Colt Brennan Tribute Night,” the University of Hawaii football team outlasted a resilient New Mexico State squad, 48-34, at the Clarence. T.C. Ching Complex on the UH campus. With the victory, the Rainbow Warriors improved their season record, while the Aggies dropped to 1-7. Hawaii also improved their series record against NMSU to 10-0.
♦ STAT OF THE GAME: 7.4. What’s that number, you ask? The Rainbow Warriors and Aggies combined for 520 rushing yards on 70 carries – an average of 7.4 yards per carry. Clearly, neither team’s defense could stop the run tonight. Hawaii ran the ball 36 times for 263 yards and 4 TDs, while NMSU put up mirror-like numbers, rushing 34 times for 257 yards and 4 TDs.
♦ TURNING POINT: Late in the third quarter, NMSU RB Juwan Price ran 46 yards for a TD, and the extra point knotted the game at 27. On the first play on Hawaii’s ensuing drive, Calvin Turner broke free up the left sideline for a 75-yard score, and Hawaii went ahead, 34-27. Yet, the Aggies came right back, moving the ball down the field to the UH 33. Then came the game’s big turning point: On first and 10 at the 33, Hawaii’s Darius Muasau intercepted NMSU QB Jonah Johnson’s pass and rumbled 75 yards for the pick six. The Aggies couldn’t recover from that backbreaking play.
♦ UH OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: Filling in for injured starter Dae Dae Hunter, Hawaii RB Dedrick Parson erupted for a season-high 161 rushing yards and 3 TDs. Special mention goes to the UH offensive line, whose dominant play allowed Hawaii to average 7.3 yards per carry. The o-line also only allowed one sack all game.
♦ UH DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME: We have co-defensive players of the game for this one. Linebacker Muasau and safety Khoury Bethley combined for 18 total tackles. More importantly, they each scored on pick-six plays (Bethley’s 79-yard score came in the second quarter). Inquiring minds want to know: Has UH ever had two pick-sixes in a game before?
♦ UH SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE GAME: Matthew Shipley went 2 for 2 on field goals tonight, booting FGs of 41 and 27 yards. He is quietly putting together a solid season, as he’s now 10 for 11 for the year. Shipley is also 28-28 on extra points.
♦ GAME GRADE: B. It was by no means a perfect game for Hawaii. The UH offense coughed up the ball five times, although they recovered it on three occasions. Still, a win is a win. It would have been a major downer if Hawaii lost on Colt Brennan’s Tribute Night.
♦ WHAT’S NEXT: The Rainbow Warriors next head to Logan, Utah to take on the Utah State Aggies at Maverik Stadium. Hawaii is 5-6 all time against the Aggies and have lost their last five meetings. In those five losses, Hawaii has been outscored by USU, 211-72. The Aggies are currently 5-2 overall (3-1 in the Mountain West). They beat Colorado State, 26-24, last night (Oct. 22).