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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, December 25, 2004

Hawai'i Bowl game was a hot ticket

By Leila Wai
Advertiser Staff Writer

The announced turnstile attendance of 38,322 at yesterday's Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl was the second largest Aloha Stadium crowd in the last two University of Hawai'i seasons.

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"It has been an outstanding success on all fronts," said Pete Derzis, executive vice president for ESPN Regional Television, which owns and operates the Hawai'i Bowl. "When you couple the finale for Chad (Owens) and Timmy (Chang) with the great crowd and the way it looked on television, I think everybody got their money's worth. We're pleased the way it all came together."

Derzis said earlier in the week that anything "north of 30,000 would be a success."

Jim Donovan, executive director of the Hawai'i Bowl, said, "I'm happy at the number of fans that turned out for the game."

Dynamic duo: While University of Hawai'i quarterback Tim Chang and receiver Chad Owens were busy setting individual records yesterday, they also teamed up to set a record.

Owens' 18 touchdown passes from Chang set a school single-season record for touchdowns from one quarterback to one receiver.

Kicking it up a notch: UH kicker Justin Ayat's 59 PATs broke his own school record he set in 2001 (55) as a freshman. Ayat was 8 of 8 yesterday.

Quick exit: University of Alabama at Birmingham left immediately after the game on an ATA charter flight, and was scheduled to land in Alabama at 10 a.m. Central time.

The school sold 40 seats — for $1,000 apiece — on the flight to parents and boosters.

Deflated feeling: The inflatable UH football helmet, usually in front of Hawai'i's locker room so the team can run out from it during player introductions, was missing from yesterday's game.

Also missing were the taped chanting and songs usually played during key moments in the game.

Because of the Hawai'i Bowl, the Aloha Stadium is considered a neutral site, and all of Hawai'i's usual home game customs were not allowed.

TGIF: UH won its first Friday game of the season, after going 0-2 and being outscored 139-21 in previous Friday games.

Both games were played on the road, against Boise State and Fresno State.

Labor day: UH senior slotback Gerald Welch left immediately after the game because his wife, Domonique, went into labor with their second child.

The couple has a son named Harvey.

Trias idolized: American Idol's Jasmine Trias performed the halftime show, surrounded by hundreds of brightly dressed hula dancers.

Trias sang "These Islands" and "Mele Kalikimaka."

Olena Rubin, Miss Hawai'i 2004, sang the National Anthem and Hawai'i Pono'i.

Advertiser staff writer Ferd Lewis contributed to this report. Reach Leila Wai at lwai@honoluluadvertiser.com or 535-2457.