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Saturday, October 25, 2014         

FURTHER REVIEW


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This unacceptable loss really hits home

By Dave Reardon

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You can talk about flukey plays and maybe a bad official’s call here and there that went the other way. Because there were some. To the credit of University of Hawaii football coach Greg McMackin and his players, they didn’t do that. They didn’t make excuses; they accepted accountability.

But let’s boil down to its essence Saturday’s come-from-ahead 35-31 loss (and for the sake of this discussion it doesn’t really matter that much who the opponent was, but for the record it’s game and gutty Utah State). One word keeps coming to mind: unacceptable.

If you have any stake at all in UH football, whether it be emotional or financial, whether you are a casual fan or season-ticket holder, or even just a good old state taxpayer who doesn’t know the difference between a football and a grapefruit but subsidizes this program, you all deserve better.

The fans shouldn’t have had to see a second half that was like watching the Titanic sink — but while moored at its home port. That should never happen at Aloha Stadium.

And those three words are key to the point. At Aloha Stadium.

Many of you disagree, but I think it’s OK for the Warriors to win ugly on the road, like they did at Idaho. Just get out of there with the “W,” any way you can.

Home is a different matter. Good teams don’t blow three-touchdown leads at home, especially against a visiting club that hasn’t been able to finish all season. Home is supposed to be where the heart is. But even though we know the Warriors are banged up, we have to credit the Aggies for rallying behind a backup quarterback after a scary injury to their starter.

But this is about Hawaii. Before this game, I thought I’d finally figured out the 2011 team: They’ll win at home (3-0 coming in Saturday), and anything’s possible on the road.

You can forget about the bad losses at UNLV and San Jose State if you could count on wins at home. Before this, you could imagine a win at Nevada if you thought about the fine effort at LaTech.

But now, after this difficult home loss, it’s hard to count on future success anywhere. A Hawaii Bowl berth? The required two more wins are do-able, but after Saturday’s collapse and a mounting injury list, who can say for sure?

Yes, some breaks went against them. But the Warriors failed to apply the knockout punch, and they had several chances to do so. Missed opportunities early in the game came back to haunt, also, such as coming up empty after linebacker Aaron Brown’s interception gave UH the ball in Utah State territory three plays into the game. That chance was squandered.

The players promise better.

“We definitely don’t feel like this is acceptable,” said quarterback Bryant Moniz.

In earlier losses, the defense performed well. But this time Utah State’s offense gained momentum and took control.

“There’s no reason why we should have lost,” linebacker Corey Paredes said. “It’s all on us. Chips fell their way, but we never made a big play when we needed one.”

A team with leaders like Paredes and Moniz won’t fall apart from inside.

“I’m not going to just let my senior season slip away without swinging,” Moniz said. “Just give me 10 guys who want to play, and we’ll get in there and fight.”

But the question is if that will be enough — especially with the toughest road game of the season looming next week and an increasing number of injuries to starters.

“Basically they made plays and we didn’t make plays,” McMackin said. “There’s no excuse for that. I’m really at a loss for words.”

There is one word. Unacceptable.

———

Reach Dave Reardon at dreardon@staradvertiser.com or 529-4783.






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