Brennan's performance once again spoke volumes
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An hour after the game of his 24-year-old life had been brought to a rousing, triumphant conclusion, University of Hawai'i quarterback Colt Brennan stepped back onto the field at Aloha Stadium and requested a microphone to address the remaining fans on Senior Night. "Who am I to deny him (Brennan)?" on-field host and radio personality Billy V. asked out loud.
Indeed, he had that in common with the Washington Huskies, the last among nearly a dozen teams who tried to deny Brennan this year, all without success.
With season's hopes and a state's dreams on the brink in the biggest game in school history, Brennan made his last appearance on the home turf one Halawa performance, rallying the Warriors to a 35-28 victory over the Huskies.
Summoning the Warriors back from a 21-0 first-quarter deficit, Brennan's last — and biggest — pass of a 50-pass night was a 5-yard touchdown flip to Ryan Grice-Mullins with 44 seconds remaining, punctuating UH's first unbeaten (12-0) regular season against an all-college schedule and likely sending the Warriors to a Sugar Bowl date with Louisiana State Jan. 1 in New Orleans.
Even by his beyond-amazing standards — and Brennan has eclipsed the 4,000-yard passing mark for three consecutive seasons — this was one to remember. A game to take its place in UH lore beyond its statistical remarkablity for 42 completions, 442 yards, 5 touchdowns and no interceptions.
Fittingly, Brennan's last act on the home stage would climax with his own script much like he had designed his whole season, walking away from a shot at the NFL draft to try his hand at authoring an undefeated campaign one memorable game at a time.
And just as he had 11 months earlier when Brennan announced plans to return, head coach June Jones knew a wise decision when he heard one and nodded in agreement.
"I had called a run play but Colt said he knew (UW) would be in man and wanted to call a 'go' route, so we went with it," Jones said afterward.
"Coach Jones trusted me on that call," Brennan said. "I told coach, 'We got 'em,' so I changed it to a pass play because I knew they were going to be in man (to man defense). I've got the most talented receiving corps in the nation. People can't play us man-to-man."
The Western Athletic Conference couldn't and, when it came down to it, neither could the only BCS school UH played this year to date, UW.
When the Warriors' imperfections were threatening to sink their season, their quarterback rallied with confidence and perfection, completing a school-record 20 passes as one point — three short of the NCAA record.
After his third second-quarter touchdown, the 13-yard toss to Jason Rivers, one that closed the Warriors to 28-21 and made a comeback seem not only possible but likely, Brennan raised his arms in the air and gave it that look of "game over" he had flashed previously this season.
Later, when the thunderous applause had died down and the interviews had ceased, Brennan made his way out to the field one more time and took the microphone.
Then, he thanked the remaining fans for their support and told him how much he loved them.
Words were largely unnecessary for a young man whose actions — on and off the field — had said as much many times before. But hardly as poignantly or well-timed as last night.
Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 525-8044.
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