POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Oct 03, 2010
Let it be known that University of Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz, the state's most celebrated former pizza delivery man, still accepts a special order for a friend now and then.
Only this time it wasn't a pepperoni supreme.
It was, instead, the revenge special with all the trimmings and it was served piping hot in a 532-yard, four-touchdown effort that helped the Warriors pummel Louisiana Tech 41-21.
It was ordered up by phone from Moniz's predecessor, Greg Alexander, whose career was ended by an injury suffered in last year's loss to the Bulldogs in Ruston, La.
"He (Alexander) called a couple of the guys this week and (linebacker) Jake Heun said he asked us to get this one for him," Moniz said.
Consider it "gotten" in a game that was also testament to just how far Moniz has come in the past year.
For it was almost a year to the day that Moniz, the walk-on who paid his way delivering pizzas, trotted tentatively onto Joe Aillet Stadium in the third quarter after Alexander had been carried off in a 27-6 loss.
You suspect Moniz didn't mind sharing in last night's payback after getting popped pretty good in two of the seven sacks sustained by the Warriors last year.
"That's where my career started and, unfortunately for Greg, his ended," Moniz said. "So we wanted to get this one for him ... definitely."
Moniz's career, like his statistics, has really taken off. We saw flashes of brilliance last year, the kind that earned Moniz the starting job and, eventually, a scholarship.
But this season has, with few exceptions, been more revealing and impressive each week. Consider that last week Moniz had a personal-best 395 yards and school-record-tying six first-half touchdown passes against Charleston Southern, a Football Championship Subdivision team.
This time his yardage was the sixth-best in school history and the most in regulation since Colt Brennan threw for 559 yards against Arizona State in the 2006 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl. Moniz's completions on a 42-for-58 night, might be a record in regulation, since Brennan's 44 came in an overtime game against San Jose State in '07.
To put Moniz's remarkable growth curve in perspective, consider that the Louisiana Tech quarterback in last year's game was Ross Jenkins. Last night, Jenkins was the third of three quarterbacks for the Bulldogs. Jenkins, buried as deep as No. 4 in the Tech depth chart, came in midway through the second quarter with the Bulldogs already down 24-0 and rallied them to make a game of it in the second half, closing, at one point, to 34-21 before Moniz directed the Warriors on another scoring drive.
"We've struggled at that (quarterback) position," Tech coach Sonny Dykes lamented afterward. "We've been up and down. ... It has just been a train wreck. You've gotta have a quarterback, especially in a spread offense. You've gotta find someone who can do it."
Last night there was no better example of that than the before-your-eyes maturation of Moniz.
Moniz, as has been his trademark since the season opener against Southern California, takes the field with the Hawaiian flag.
Last night's performance, a year after he was thrust into the job, also underlined how much he has become the standard-bearer of the prolific offense, too.
Reach Ferd Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.