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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 11, 2001

UH didn't make most of its opportunities

Some games you lose and can walk away from.

Some leave you with the next morning's dawn.

And, then, there are those that linger in the pit of the stomach like a late-night meatball sandwich.

This was one of those Maalox memories for the University of Hawai'i football team.

It wasn't just that the Warriors' five-game winning streak — the longest single-season Western Athletic Conference streak in their history — came to a screeching halt in a 28-21 loss to Boise State last night.

Nor was it that their barely flickering WAC championship and bowl hopes were extinguished with it. Although that surely compounded the pain of the third loss against six victories.

What the Warriors and the hardy faithful in an Aloha Stadium gathering of 40,600 who braved traffic snarls and passing downpours will remember from this one is that UH had the opportunities — several, in fact — to author a better, more memorable ending.

Indeed, having witnessed magic on a weekly basis for the previous month, that was what kept the faithful around until the final 1 minute, 49 seconds when wide receiver Ashley Lelie and the Warriors' last-gasp hopes skidded to an end on an incomplete fourth-and-18 pass in Broncos' territory.

"It was disappointing," UH coach June Jones said afterward. "We had our chances, even on the last throw."

But it wasn't one pass — not even the curious wobbler offered up by running back Mike Bass on third-and-2 on the previous drive — that did the Warriors in on this one.

In a game where the defense held the high-scoring Broncos to three touchdowns (another came on David Mikell's 98-yard kickoff return at the end of the first quarter), it was the UH offense's inability to make the most of what it had.

And, it had quite a bit.

"We had our opportunities. We just couldn't score," Jones said. "We just needed to make a few more plays."

Especially on third down, where the Warriors made good on just three of 13 opportunities (23 percent).

Three times in the first half, the offense had first downs inside the Boise State 30 and failed to come away with a touchdown, each time, settling for Justin Ayat field goals. Most egregious was having the ball on the Boise State 30 in the first quarter and then going backward.

It wasn't until a 12-point third quarter that the offense was able to muster a touchdown.

Even then, both were set up by turnovers — an interception by Kelvin Millhouse and a fumble recover by Hyrum Peters. And another turnover, Mike Iosua's interception, was squandered.

It would be a piece of bitter irony that on a night when the Warriors had extended their string of scoring to 23 consecutive periods (ended in a scoreless fourth quarter) — most in UH Division I history — they still managed to come up short.