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Wednesday, November 26, 2014         

WARRIOR FOOTBALL


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Road-bound Moniz gives thanks early

By Stephen Tsai

POSTED:



One of Hawaii quarterback Bryant Moniz's skills is anticipating openings.

And that is how Moniz's family ended up celebrating Thanksgiving yesterday in Wahiawa.

"I'll be gone on Thanksgiving," Moniz said, referring to the Warriors' upcoming road game against New Mexico State, "so we decided to have the party now."

Asked to recite his blessings, Moniz said, "Health. That's the No. 1 thing. Good health. For everyone."

Moniz has recovered from a turf toe that forced him to grimace whenever he scrambled. The health of the Warriors, after being trounced by Boise State two weeks ago, is good following their 41-7 rout of San Jose State on Saturday night.

"We were over that Boise game a long time ago," Moniz said.

Against the Spartans, Moniz threw for 560 yards, exceeding Colt Brennan's UH single-game record by a yard. Moniz's record was set in the Warriors' first series of the fourth quarter.

After that, Moniz was sacked twice.

Neither offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich nor Moniz was aware of the record at the time. Rolovich said it was the plan to play the first-team players that series. The reserves were used in the ensuing series.

"I had no clue," Moniz said. "I thought the record was 700-something, for some reason."

He added: "It's awesome any time you do something like that. Every player wants to leave (his) mark on (his) school. It's a great honor, really a great honor."

Despite completing 72.7 percent of his passes (32 of 44, with four drops), Moniz was admittedly disappointed with his play.

After speaking with Moniz, Rolovich said, "He doesn't feel great about his performance. He knows he could have played better (and) the record would have happened (earlier) in the game. He has high expectations because everyone knows how good he can be."

Still, Rolovich said, "It's hard to complain about those numbers."

Rolovich said Moniz was partially at fault on the two interceptions. Moniz was hit while throwing, leading to an interception in the end zone. A "miscommunication" resulted in the other pick.

"He's a special player," Rolovich said. "I think he showed himself to have a rightful place in UH history by the way he plays."

On the other side, the Warriors enjoyed their best defensive performance of the season. Of the Spartans' 13 full drives, nine ended with punts, two in interceptions, including linebacker Aaron Brown's 22-yard return for a touchdown, and one on a fourth-down failure.

The Spartans were held to 164 yards, with 65 coming on their lone scoring drive and 54 on the final possession that ended with the expiration of the game clock. That meant the Spartans managed 45 yards in their other 12 possessions, or 3.75 yards per drive.

The root of the Spartans' problems was the Warriors' pass rush and blitzes. The Warriors, who entered with 14 sacks in the first 10 games, had eight against the Spartans.

"They worked hard," said Cal Lee, who coaches the UH defensive ends. "They put extra emphasis on getting to the quarterback."

Most of all, Lee mused, "we pointed them in the direction of the quarterback, and told them to get him."






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