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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, November 17, 2002

Mitchell gives Warriors big rush with each carry

By Ferd Lewis
Advertiser Staff Writer

HOUSTON — Being a running back in the University of Hawai'i's run-and-shoot offense means taking a vow of patience.

Warrior running back Thero Mitchell made the most of his five carries against Rice yesterday, gaining 75 yards and scoring two touchdowns.

Associated Press

"You're not gonna get 15-20 carries a game, so you have to be patient and make the most of the ones that you do get," said running back Thero Mitchell Jr., who definitely did in the Warriors' 33-28 victory over Rice yesterday.

Mitchell scored two touchdowns and ran for a season-high 75 yards on just five carries as the Warriors won their fifth game in a row.

He scored on a four-yard run in the first quarter and a three-yard bolt in the fourth quarter. In between, he also had runs of 16 and 41 yards.

"That's the thing about this offense; you know the defense is gonna be spread out and looking for the pass, so those few runs you do get can be real quality carries if you do your job right," Mitchell said. "It makes the (carries) you do get that much more special."

It would be doubly so for the senior from Bothell, Wash., coming as they did yesterday in front of his father, Thero Mitchell, Sr.

"He also saw me in the first game (against Eastern Illinois), when I also got two touchdowns," Mitchell Jr. said.

With Rice at times dropping six men into pass coverage, "you could see from the first series that the opportunities might be there, depending on how they were playing us," Mitchell said. "The offensive line gets a lot of credit for the great job of pass blocking they do, but they are also great run blockers when they have the chance."

Said center Lui Fuata: "We're comfortable with run blocking, it is something we work on every day. When the coaches call (a run), we know we can do the job."

Quarterback Tim Chang said, "you feel good when the running backs get some touches and taste some success with the ball, because they're so important to our passing game. They're almost like another lineman blocking; they save me from taking a lot more whacks."

Said Mitchell: "You'd always enjoy getting the ball more, but, I also enjoy the winning, too."

• Kajioka has bruised sternum: Starting left offensive guard Shayne Kajioka sustained a bruised sternum, apparently the result of being hit with a helmet, UH officials said.

He was taken to a Houston hospital for X-rays, which indicated nothing more severe, they said. He is scheduled to return to Honolulu with the team today and is listed as "day-to-day" for the Cincinnati game Saturday.