Warriors' beliefs power win over Washington
The University of Hawaii Warrior football team has played by the motto “believe” all season. Saturday night the University of Washington Huskies tested Hawaii’s belief in the team when they took an early 21-0 lead (the Warrior’s biggest deficit of the season). Hawaii responded just as they have all season, by staying focused and pulling out a win to finish what has come to be a perfect season at 12-0.
“It was a great game,” said UH wide receiver C.J. Hawthorne. “Coming in I had a feeling that we were going to have to dig deep (for the win), and low and behold we get in a 21-point hole. But, praise God we just kept believing and kept digging, kept clawing and we were able to come out with a win.”
Washington came out strong in the first quarter, scoring three unanswered touchdowns and keeping the Hawaii offense at bay. UH junior linebacker Adam Leonard said that the Warriors took things one play at a time, knowing that the game was still in their reach. With those thoughts in mind, Hawaii responded in the second quarter to narrow the Huskies’ lead and finish the half down 21-28.
“(The team) was committed to getting a win tonight,” said UH head coach June Jones. “They played hard and I can’t be more proud of them, its unbelievable. The (regular season) could not have ended better.”
A scoreless third quarter set up a made-for-national-television fourth quarter finale that witnessed Hawaii nab two touchdowns one to tie the game and the second to steal the win. The game winner was a five-yard touchdown pass from UH quarterback Colt Brennan to UH wide receiver Ryan Grice-Mullins with just 44 seconds left in the game. Hawaii sealed the deal when Warrior Ryan Mouton intercepted a Jake Locker pass in the endzone.
“I’m just happy to be a part of this team,” Leonard said. “To be a part of the only team to go undefeated in the nation feels great. We’re just hoping to make it to a BCS bowl game and once we do that we’re just going to (improve our play) and hopefully finish undefeated for the whole (year). That’s what we want to do for all our seniors and our fans here in Hawaii.”
Now on table for the Warriors is a possible BCS bowl game, something they have said all season would work itself out should they go undefeated. With the win over Washington, Hawaii’s aim has become a reality.
“We’re excited,” Brennan said. “We’re undefeated and we’re just going to take whoever (the BCS) gives us.”
Play of the Game: Colt Brennan found Jason Rivers from 13 yards out with 1:06 left in the second quarter, for a halftime score of 21-28. The play was originally called incomplete but after the play was reviewed, the original call was reversed. After the touchdown the team and the crowd erupted, which set the pace for the second half and the eventual victory.
Player(s) of the Game: UH seniors quarterback Colt Brennan and wide receiver Jason Rivers. Brennan threw for 442 yards and five touchdowns. He was on target in 42-50 passes, and set a new school-record with 20 straight completions. Rivers had four touchdowns, three of which were in the first half, on 14 catches for 167 yards.