Game 10 | UH fizzles in frigid weather
Nov. 15 at Reno, Nev. Nevada 24, UH 14
RENO, Nev. Blame it on the day-long drizzle chilled by the Sierra Nevada wind that eventually dropped the mercury to 29 degrees.
Blame it on an ineffective offense that crumbled against a relentless pass rush, producing a season-worst 358 yards. Or Justin Ayat's two missed field goals, or a drive inside the 15 that netted zip.
Blame it on "all of the above" that left the University of Hawai'i football team feeling low in a party-pooping 24-14 loss to Nevada at Mackay Stadium.
"Anytime you do that on the road, you're going to get your (behind) whupped," UH cornerback Abraham Elimimian said.
The Warriors' sixth and final road game was to be a celebration. A Warrior victory would ensure a winning season and meet the requirement to receive an automatic berth in Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl on Christmas Day. As a bonus, it would set up a winner-take-all game against 24th-ranked Boise State (9-1 overall, 5-0 in Western Athletic Conference) Dec. 6 at Aloha Stadium.
"We were in the driver's seat," Elimimian said, "and now we're in the back seat."
The Warriors (6-4 and 5-2 in the WAC) have three remaining home games to earn their seventh victory, starting against winless Army.
The Warriors scored two touchdowns in a span of 11 seconds to take a 14-6 lead early in the third quarter. Chad Owens, aligned in the left slot, sped past linebacker Ekene Agwuenu on a streak pattern, pulled in a Tim Chang pass and outraced safety Nick Hawthorne to complete the 39-yard scoring play.
On the Wolf Pack's ensuing possession, Andy Heiser, after faking a handoff to Chance Kretschmer, fumbled with no defender within three yards. Defensive end Travis LaBoy picked up the ball and raced the remaining 16 yards for a touchdown.
"I saw the ball on the ground, I picked it up and starting thinking 'end zone,' " LaBoy recalled.
But the 14-6 advantage was created with smoke. The Warriors' best power runner, West Keli'ikipi, was on crutches, having suffered a possible torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee at the end of a 24-yard, catch-run-pound play in the first quarter.
HAWAI'I 0 0 14 0 14
NEVADA 0 6 15 3 24
NevFG Damon Fine 28
NevFG Fine 42
UHChad Owens 39 pass from Tim Chang (Justin Ayat kick)
UHTravis LaBoy 16 return of fumble (Ayat kick)
NevChance Kretschmer 1 run (pass failed)
NevDerek Kennard 11 interception return (pass failed)
NevFG Fine 25
NevFG Fine 23
RUSHING: Hawai'iJohn West 5-44, Mike Bass 5-31, Michael Brewster 6-30, Chang 4-minus 16. NevadaTalib Wise 16-78, C. Kretschmer 23-73, Andy Heiser 7-minus 2, Team: 3-minus 6.
PASSING: Hawai'iChang 25-48-2269. NevadaAndy Heiser 15-30-1169.
RECEIVING: Hawai'iOwens 12-164, Jason Rivers 4-14, Gerald Welch 3-24, West Keli'ikipi 2-30, Jeremiah Cockheran 1-21, Clifton Herbert 1-18, West 1-minus 1, Derek Faavi 1-minus 1. NevadaMaurice Mann 6-71, Willie Johnson 4-50, N. Flowers 3-37, Alex Rosenblum 1-6, Wise 1-5.