UH Ends 2006 With A Big Bang

Bobby Curran
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Friday - December 29, 2006
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You’d be hard pressed to imagine a better close to 2006 for University of Hawaii teams. The incredible offensive display by the Warriors on Christmas Eve in a 41-24 victory over Arizona State gave a national audience a chance to experience what Hawaii fans have long known: The best offense in the country operates in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

It was convincing in every way. No other team this bowl season is likely to approach the 680 yards that the Warriors rung up. QB Colt Brennan’s numbers set the bar so high that no other passer can even envision a bowl day like his - 559 yards on 33 of 42 passing, with five touchdowns and a pick.

Statistics that fit tidily into his season’s count: 5,549 yards, 58 touch-downs against 12 interceptions, 73 percent of his passes completed. Good-bye, David Klingler.

And junior wide receiver Jason Rivers had 14 grabs for a school record 308 yards and two scores.

In the second half, Hawaii was the juggernaut it’s been most of the season. Take the third quarter as an example. The Warriors pile up 257 yards and give up 14. They had ASU QB Rudy Carpenter running for his life. The defense was hyper-aggressive, and why not? You had the feeling that Brennan and company would score every time they got their hands on the football.

This team had wanted a chance to show what it could do in front of the country in prime time. It craved respect, and knew its last outing of the regular season, a tough 35-32 loss to Oregon State, had given fodder to the doubters. It even needed to win for its place in history at home. A loss would have prevented it from being UH’s greatest team.

At game’s end, there was little doubt left. The Warriors had tied the 1992 UH team with 11 wins, and had scored more points than any team in college football history. It is a near certainty that Hawaii will be nationally ranked in the season’s final poll.

What is less assured is whether Brennan, a junior, will be back for his final season or will choose to begin his professional career. If he’s a first- rounder, it’s likely he’s gone. Second round or later, you could make a strong case for him to come back. He’s said he’ll decide in the next several weeks.

The Rainbow Warrior basketball team, meanwhile, turned it up a notch with a terrific week at the 43rd Outrigger Hotels Rainbow Classic.

After a good opening round win over USF and a methodical victory over Nebraska, UH had to come from behind against a good Creighton team to win 76-60. It happened behind one of the great performances in a Rainbow Classic championship game by Hawaii senior guard Matt Lojeski, who poured in 33 points on an array of spectacular shots. UH goes into Thursday’s matchup with Tennessee-Martin at 8-4. Attendance was mediocre during the Classic, surprising, because this is the kind of team that Hawaii fans can get behind. They’re not physically gifted, but they play unselfishly and with tremendous heart.

To sports fans everywhere, a Happy New Year!

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