POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Sep 26, 2010
Hawaii found a simple remedy for its struggles in third-down situations.
Get the job done on first and second down.
By the time the Warriors saw the down marker flip to "3" for the first time in last night's game against Charleston Southern, quarterback Bryant Moniz had thrown four touchdown passes and Hawaii was well on its way to a 66-7 blowout.
Unlike the prior two encounters with FCS opponents — when Hawaii rallied to wins over Weber State and Central Arkansas — the Warriors weren't threatened last night as Moniz tied a school record with six touchdown passes in the first half and Hawaii rolled to its highest point total in the Greg McMackin era.
It was also the first time UH broke the 60-point mark since a 66-10 win over the Buccaneers in 2007 as the Warriors offense worked out some kinks before entering Western Athletic Conference play this week against Louisiana Tech.
"It was something we talked about all week to get a big win and sharpen up the things we haven't done so good as far as the red zone and the third quarter," Moniz said after passing for a career-high 395 yards.
UH largely bypassed the red zone completely on four of its nine touchdowns. The Warriors, who went 3-for-11 on third down in a loss to Colorado, also went 22 plays and led 28-0 before facing a third down last night.
And that play resulted in Moniz's fifth touchdown, when he hit Greg Salas across the middle for a 34-yard score to give UH a 35-7 lead with 8:52 left in the second quarter.
Moniz completed 16 of 21 passes for 347 yards and six scores before being relieved late in the period. His last toss of the half — a shovel pass to Alex Green that turned into a 66-yard touchdown — tied him with offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich and Colt Brennan for the school record for touchdowns in a half.
Rolovich set the mark in a surreal second half in UH's rout of BYU in 2001. Brennan tied the record in the first half of a 2007 win over Northern Colorado.
Moniz returned to start the third quarter, giving him a shot at Rolovich's single-game record of eight. The decision to put the starters back in stemmed from the offense's sputtering second-half starts in the previous three games.
"That's why we came out with the first string in the third quarter," Moniz said. "This season we had started off slow in the third quarter, so they wanted to work on that."
But his first drive ended with his second interception of the game. The second resulted in his second rushing touchdown of his career, giving UH a 56-7 lead.
"I knew, but it wasn't really a big thing to me," Moniz said of the touchdown record. "We were just joking about it.
"I'm more worried about the two interceptions than the touchdowns we had. I know perfect is hard, but it's something to shoot for."
Moniz distributed the ball efficiently in an abbreviated appearance for the starters as UH's first six scoring drives were five plays or fewer and took less than 2 minutes each.
He connected with Salas for seven completions covering 131 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. Salas' first score came on a 40-yard pass off a flea-flicker.
"I'll take it any way I can get it," Salas said. "I was getting kind of anxious about not scoring. I would lie to you if I said I wasn't thinking about it. But if felt good to finally get in the end zone."