Football: Defense, Special Teams spark UH to win

Sometimes, two out of three is plenty enough. On a night when the UH offense went on a roller-coaster ride, defense and special teams proved why the Warriors are a well-rounded squad, indeed.

Clamp Down!


Warriors stifle SMU with
smothering defense,
head's-up special teams


By Paul Honda

Senior Writer

Saturday, Sept. 28, 2002


HONOLULU—Old pop singers—and even former coach Dick Tomey—were often fond of saying, "Two out of three ain't bad."

On a night when the University of Hawaii offense was erratic, defense and special teams came through brilliantly in a 42-10 win over Southern Methodist Saturday.


The victory, before Hawaii's first home crowd in a month, lifted the Warriors to 2-0 in Western Athletic Conference play (3-1 overall). SMU slipped to 0-1 in league play (0-5 overall). A delighted gathering of 36,096 watched at Aloha Stadium.

Chad Owens set personal highs with 11 receptions for 182 yards, including a 51-yarder. The Warrior defense came up with five sacks and limited SMU to 238 total yards—3.3 yards per play—and 4 of 17 third-down conversions. SMU quarterback Tate Wallis managed to complete 6 of 21 attempts for 46 yards and was intercepted twice.


Keylon Kincade, the league's leading rusher, struggled against a swarming Warrior defense. He finished with 61 hard-earned yards on 24 attempts. His backup, Kris Briggs, tallied 132 yards on 12 attempts against UH's reserve defense.


Hawaii, meanwhile, amassed 487 yards, but turned the ball over four times. 


Twice, when SMU threatened deep in Hawaii territory, defense and special teams came up with key plays. SMU, trailing 14-0, recovered a muffed punt return by Hawaii moments before halftime. Tight coverage by the UH secondary led to a field goal by SMU.


Midway through the third quarter, with SMU trailing 21-3 and clinging on to hope, Pisa Tinoisamoa blocked a 33-yard field goal attempt by Trent Stephenson. Kenny Patton scooped up the loose ball in the backfield and galloped 74 yards to the end zone, virtually putting the game out of reach.

For good measure, defensive end Laanui Correa intercepted a pass, returned the ball a few yards, and as he was being tackled, lateraled to Hyrum Peters. The Warrior strong safety returned the ball the rest of the way for a 39-yard touchdown play.


The Mustangs were true to their gameplan from the start. SMU went to Kincade on basic dive plays left and right. Turnovers, however, thwarted their plans.


Hawaii's opening possession stalled at the SMU 12. SMU cornerback Kevin Garrett blocked Justin Ayat's 29-yard field goal attempt—and it turned out to be SMU's lone highlight of the opening quarter.


SMU went on an 11-play drive, consuming 4:59 midway through the quarter. Tate Wallis overthrew his receiver on third-and-5, however, and Sean Butts intercepted easily. The 6-3, 202-pound senior returned the ball 19 yards to set up UH's first scoring drive.


Chang completed an 8-yard pass to Owens before launching a 51-yard strike to Neal Gossett on a post pattern for UH's first touchdown. Ayat's extra-point kick made it 7-0 with 6:47 left in the first.


On the ensuing possession, disaster struck on first down for SMU. Isaac Sopoaga stripped the pigskin from Kincade and Hyrum Peters recovered at the SMU 41.


The Warriors proceeded on a seven-play drive as Chang found his rhythm. He completed 4 of 5 attempts for 40 yards on the drive, with passes to Gossett, Colbert and Owens. Bass finished the march with a 7-yard sprint around left end to paydirt. Ayat's PAT made it 14-0 with 4:01 to play in the first.


Shawn Withy-Allen entered for one snap with 1:32 left in the opening quarter. He pitched out to Chad Kapanui, who sent a 40-yard spiral downfield that was just beyond the reach of Gossett. The drive stalled shortly after, but Withy-Allen returned for UH's next possession in the second quarter. The Warriors drove to the SMU 21, but Withy-Allen's pass for Gossett bounced off a defender's shoulderpad. Free safety Jamey Harper dove and made the interception.


SMU struggled offensively, but Hawaii continued to do little more than move the ball between the 20s. Withy-Allen began the next drive and Chang took over midway. After completing a 13-yard pass to Nate Ilaoa, Chang was intercepted in the end zone by Garrett. The cornerback appeared to have a hold on a UH receiver, but no call was made, and SMU dodged another bullet.


Garrett's presence was everywhere. He recovered a muffed punt return by Bass at the Hawaii 20-yard line. With an opportunity to pull within one touchdown, SMU attacked immediately before the half ended. A pass interference call gave the Mustangs first down at the 5 with 10 seconds remaining. After two incomplete passes, however—including one deflected by Kenny Patton—SMU settled for a 22-yard field goal by Stephenson as time expired for intermission.


By then, Hawaii racked up 266 total yards, but the three turnovers nullified the nice stats. Combined, Chang (9 of 17, 165 yards, one pick) and Withy-Allen (5 of 10, 62 yards, one pick) passed for 227 yards by the break.


SMU ran 28 times in the first half, including 20 carries for 61 yards by Kincade. The Mustangs had a 19:38-10:22 edge on UH in time of possession.

The Warriors rolled up 21 points in the third quarter, sparked by Chang's 19-yard scramble and dive into the end zone. That capped a seven-play, 78-yard march to open the second half. Owens fumbled away the ball on what started as a nice catch and run off a drag route—Hawaii's fourth turnover of the game. That led to SMU's drive to the UH 16, where Tinoisamoa blocked the field goal try and Patton scored on the long return.


John West, who had a strong spring camp only to sustain injuries in the fall, made a strong impression when he stepped on the field midway through the third quarter. The former Leilehua standout took the field on fourth-and-goal from the SMU 8. Chang handed the ball to him and he motored easily into the end zone on his first carry, increasing Hawaii's lead to 35-3 with 3:16 remaining in the quarter.


Correa and Peters put icing on the cake with their touchdown play on Correa's interception. The Warriors led 42-3 with 14:08 left to play.


Reserves flooded the field for the remainder of the game. SMU's only touchdown—the first scored against UH in eight quarters—came on reserve running back Kris Briggs' 6-yard run with 1:37 remaining.  


Hawaii reserve quarterback Jason Whieldon saw action in the second half, completing 1 of 3 tries for six yards.


@ Aloha Stadium






SMU (0-1 WAC, 0-5)






Hawaii (2-0 WAC, 3-1)






First Quarter

UH—Neal Gossett 51 pass from Tim Chang (Justin Ayat kick), UH 7-0, 6:47. Drive: Two plays, 59 yards, :20. 

UH—Mike Bass 7 run (Ayat kick), UH 14-0, 4:01. Drive: Seven plays, 42 yards, 2:20.

Second Quarter

SMU—Trent Stephenson FG 22, UH 14-3, :00. Drive: Two plays, 15 yards.

Third Quarter

UH—Chang 19 run (Ayat kick), UH 21-3, 13:08. Drive: Seven plays, 78 yards, 1:54.

UH—Kenny Patton 74 blocked field goal return (Ayat kick), UH 28-3.  

UH—John West 8 run (Ayat kick), UH 35-3. Drive: 10 plays, 47 yards, 3:29.

Fourth Quarter

UH—Hyrum Peters 39 return on interception and lateral by Laanui Correa (Ayat kick), UH 42-3, 14:08.

SMU—Kris Riggs 6 run (Stephenson kick), UH 42-10, 1:37.  


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