Bouncing back from a rough loss at Boise State, Hawaii took no prisoners with a 42-point first quarter against Nevada.
Warriors zap Nevada early for 59-34 win
Owens sustains knee injury on TD play
By Paul Honda Senior Writer Saturday, Oct. 12, 2002
HONOLULU—For just long enough, the Nevada Wolfpack seemed to have the right gameplan.
Hawaii came into Saturday night's game prepared to use nickel coverage, and the return of cornerback Abraham Eliminian could not have been more timely. But, the Wolfpack used a double tight end set, opening up the perimeter for running back Matt Milton, a 211-pound bruiser. The double tight set could also help heralded wide receiver Nate Burleson get man coverage.
But the visiting ‘Pack's penchant for giving up big plays did it in. Two big pass plays to paydirt and a 64-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Hyrum Peters gave Hawaii a quick two-touchdown lead, and Nevada never recovered as the Warriors rolled to a 59-34 win.
Hawaii's 42-point first quarter set a school record, as well as first-half records in passing (384) and total yardage (468), as fans were treated to an amazing, video-game like juggernaut.
Just about the only real negative about the game was an injury sustained by wide receiver Chad Owens. The sophomore suffered a strained medial lateral ligament in his right knee. Coach June Jones said Owens will undergo an MRI.
Tim Chang and Shawn Withy-Allen shared duties at quarterback, combining for 520 passing yards with just one interception. Chang completed 19 of 31 attempts for 381 yards with two touchdowns, while Withy-Allen kept the Wolfpack defense off-balance with 6 of 9 passing for 139 yards, and 40 rushing yards on seven carries.
Hawaii amassed an additional 154 rushing yards to finish with 674 yards in offense. Britton Komine had, by far, his greatest performance, catching eight passes for 238 yards. Justin Colbert added eight catches for 120 yards.
John West stepped in for injured running backs Mike Bass and Michael Brewster (injured during the game), rushing for 59 yards on nine carries, including three touchdowns. He also caught a pass for 28 yards and returned one kickoff for 18 yards. Overall, Hawaii's pass-to-rush ratio was 59.7 percent passing to 40.3 percent rushing.
Nevada quarterback Zack Threadgill, architect of the most prolific offense in the WAC, completed 19 of 36 attempts for 241 yards and two touchdowns. Burleson had team highs of 11 receptions and 143 yards. Milton rambled for 133 yards on 17 carries, and Nevada rushed for 223 yards (6.4 per attempt). It wasn't enough, however, to keep UH's offense on the sideline.
Once the Nevada offense stalled out after scoring on a 75-yard drive on its second possession, Hawaii simply dominated. The Warriors scored a touchdown in each of their first-quarter possessions—six in all—en route to a resounding 42-10 lead.
It was as good as last week's loss at Boise was bad.
The first quarter finally came to an end at , one hour and 17 minutes after the opening kickoff.For Britt Komine, it may have been the most thrilling 77 minutes of his life. The former Pac-Five receiver caught three long bombs for 172 yards in the first quarter. His 72-yard scoring reception came on Hawaii's first play from scrimmage, and his 55-yard touchdown catch—launched by Withy-Allen—gave his team a 42-10 lead with 39 seconds left in the first quarter.
The scintillating opening stanza was a stat lover's fantasy come true. Chang completed 7 of 8 attempts for 219 yards and two scores, and Withy-Allen was 4 of 5 for 104 yards. That's 323 yards in one quarter alone.
The Warrior defense wasn't bad, either, intercepting Threadgill twice. Nevada had a major edge in time of possession (), but the turnovers and inability to match Hawaii's speed destroyed the Wolfpack.
With 323 first-quarter yards and 42 points, Hawaii theoretically was on pace for 168 points and 1,292 total yards.
Chang's halftime stats: 11 of 17 for 280 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Withy-Allen did not attempt a pass in the second quarter. Komine finished the half with five receptions for 190 yards.
Moments after Komine's game-opening touchdown, Hyrum Peters intercepted an overthrown pass by Threadgill and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown. Justin Ayat's PAT kick gave Hawaii a quick 14-0 lead with remaining in the first quarter.
Nevada responded with a six-play, 75-yard march. Threadgill came out throwing, nailing Burleson with an 11-yard strike and connecting with Maurice Mann for a 29-yard gain. A 15-yard facemask call against UH gave Nevada first down at the Warrior 20-yard line. Threadgill capped the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run on an option keeper to the right. Nevada trailed 14-7 with to go in the opening quarter.
Hawaii answered with a two-play, 59-yard drive. Chang found Justin Colbert open for a 9-yard pickup, then fired over the middle to Owens on a medium post route. The speedster broke to the sideline, leaving a linebacker in his tracks, and dove into the end zone for a 59-yard touchdown play. Owens sustained a strained right knee injury and did not return. Hawaii led 21-7 with left in the first.
The ‘Pack turned to Milton, who raced 13 yards around right end, but they insisted on throwing. That led to a short possession and first down for Hawaii on its own 35 after a Nevada punt. Withy-Allen entered and alternated with Chang, helping lead a five-play, 65-yard scoring march. Chang's 45-yard strike to Komine—all of the receiver's long catches were on the right-side streak routes—triggered the drive. Michael Brewster capped the drive with a 4-yard burst into the end zone, and Hawaii led 28-7 with left in the first.
After the ‘Pack went four and out, Hawaii drove 45 yards in three plays. The key play came on Chang's 30-yard pass—tipped twice before landing in the hands of Omar Bennett. West scored on a 6-yard run, juking past a defender, to give the Warriors a 35-7 lead with remaining in the first.
Hawaii's string of 21 unanswered points ended with a 27-yard field goal by Damon Fine to pull Nevada within 35-10 with to go in the first quarter.
The onslaught continued against the Wolfpack defense. Withy-Allen's 55-yard strike down the right side found Komine to boost Hawaii's lead to 42-10 with 39 seconds to go in the quarter.
Nevada's ensuing possession went kaput on first down when Abraham Eliminian intercepted Threadgill's deep pass down the left sideline. The Warriors drove 66 yards in nine plays with Chang and Withy-Allen at the controls. West scampered in from the 2-yard line to give the Warriors a 49-10 lead with left in the first half.
Nevada showed signs of life offensively, driving 73 yards in eight plays. Threadgill found Tim Fleming open for 20 yards and fired a 33-yard strike over the middle to Buddy Lewis. Milton ended the drive with a 1-yard leap into the end zone. Threadgill's pass to Erick Steelman fell incomplete on the 2-point was short, and Nevada trailed 49-16 with remaining before intermission.
Chang's only miscue in the first half—an underthrown pass picked off by free safety Keone Kauo—led to Nevada's next touchdown. Threadgill tossed a 3-yard pass on a fourth-down, play action to pull Nevada within 49-22 with to play in the half. The 2-point play failed again.
The Warriors tacked on three more points on Ayat's 25-yard field goal with left before intermission.
The pinball scoring frenzy of the first half simmered in the second. Threadgill guided the Wolfpack on a pair of third-quarter touchdown drives. Threadgill, a senior, completed a 20-yard touchdown pass to Nichiren Flowers to bring Nevada within 52-28 with left in the third quarter.
Hawaii followed with a 91-yard march, sparked by a 48-yard pass play from Chang to Colbert. West punched it in from the 2 as Hawaii pushed its lead to 59-28 with left in the third.
Nevada responded with its final scoring drive of the night, covering 75 yards in nine plays. Backup running back B.J. Mitchell's 2-yard burst cut the lead to 59-34 with to go in the third quarter. Threadgill's bootleg on an awkward fake reverse play ended terribly, giving Nevada no 2-point PAT scores in three tries.
Both teams emptied benches and played reserves in the final quarter, which went rather quickly because both teams mostly ran with the ball.