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Thursday, October 23, 2014         

FURTHER REVIEW


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Thinking about tomorrow's game? Go ahead, make my day ... longer

By Dave Reardon

POSTED:



It always surprises me how long it takes people to get on board for a hot University of Hawaii team, especially considering how inescapable information about UH sports has become.

Back when AC and Alika did their thing, basketball wasn't a tough ticket until nearly the end. When football started ranked and went unbeaten in 2007 it didn't sell out until November. I blame live TV, but that's for another day.

It's normally not my job to try to get you to go to games. I'm not a promoter; other people do that. Things are actually easier for me if you don't go -- no traffic. But, if there's a potentially great event to see in our island sports world -- to actually BE at -- you should consider attending.

Today's message is simple: Go to the game. As of yesterday, UH officials said 32,000 tickets were distributed.

Yes, many of you consider it a hassle. Yes, it's an investment in time, money and emotion. Yes, you could go to your cousin's pay-per-view party and watch it for free or listen on the radio.

But forget about excuses and get yourself to Halawa -- if just for this game against undefeated and nationally ranked Nevada. Even if you're not a Warriors fan, do you like shootouts between evenly matched teams? Then be there, Aloha!

UH has won three in a row and is 4-2 and 2-0 in conference. This is its most significant regular-season encounter since 2007 when it beat Washington to clinch its Sugar Bowl bid. Other than the Hawaii Bowl against Notre Dame in 2008, it's the biggest game in third-year head coach Greg McMackin's tenure.

At stake? First place in the WAC and status as primo challenger to Boise State.

Subplots? Try these:

» Bryant Moniz vs. Colin Kaepernick. Yes, these QB vs. QB things are often all hype, especially since they aren't on the field against each other. But these two provide interesting contrast in style and both skillfully lead explosive attacks.

» Run-and-Shoot vs. The Pistol: You might never again see a game where each coaching staff has the man who either invented or made its team's offensive scheme famous.

» Team Remaining (at least for now) vs. Team Leaving: Hawaii tries to make it 2-for-2 against WACstabbers.

» Dontay Moch vs. Realities of Time and Space: If this Wolf Pack defensive end really ran the 40 in 4.08, why is he not returning kicks? And with a name pronounced "Moke," why is he not playing for Hawaii?

» Chris vs. Chris: UH assistant Tormey was head coach at Nevada -- before then-athletic director Ault fired him and replaced him with ... himself.

"I would think Chris (Tormey) is highly motivated," McMackin said.

Publicly at least, Tormey's taking the high road: "You always want to do well against your former team. This is a big game for a lot of reasons and that's last on the list."

I SEE IT high-scoring, but coming down to turnovers, and that's why I pick Hawaii to win. UH's plus 15 and minus 11 over the first six games doesn't seem huge against Nevada's plus 11 and minus 9 ... at first glance.

But Hawaii is trending up on takeaways, and Nevada has been sloppy lately, with plus 5 and minus 7 in the last three games and 10 fumbles (four lost) in the last four.

The Warriors have intercepted six passes the last two games. Kaepernick has thrown just three this season -- but one each in his last three games.

UH wouldn't have a winning record right now if Kamalu Umu didn't force a fumble at Army. It was too early to tell if clutch takeaways would be part of this team's makeup, but it's looking like it now, as Jeramy Bryant and Mana Silva choose the right situations to jump pass routes.

And if you've been waiting for the right time to jump on board for UH football and attend a game, that time is now.

Make me deal with traffic tomorrow.

Reach Star-Advertiser sports columnist Dave Reardon at dreardon@staradvertiser.com, his "Quick Reads" blog at staradvertiser.com and twitter.com/davereardon.






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