Even in the biggest blowout by the University of Hawaii in head football coach Greg McMackin’s three-year tenure, a 66-7 pummeling of Charleston Southern, there was drama.
On a night when the game felt in the bank even before a First Hawaiian Bank vice chairman presided over the ceremonial pregame coin toss, it can be reliably reported there was a compelling story line into the third quarter of what was, then, a 56-7 game.
Not over the outcome of the contest, you understand, one whose winner was pretty much assured when the contract for this one was signed in February 2007 to match the Warriors with a Football Championship Subdivision team with 22 fewer scholarships. Indeed, the "Mission: Impossible" music was appropriate.
No, what passed for drama — not to mention some enduring tongue-in-cheek sideline controversy — in Halawa last night was whether quarterback Bryant Moniz could break one of the signature records of the run-and-shoot passing era — Most "touchdowns (passing) game: 8" — while the man who set it, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Nick Rolovich, was calling the shots.
Hey, you find your drama where you can in turn-out-the-lights blowouts, and this was where a meager gathering of 27,144 found most of theirs last night as the Warriors improved to 2-2.
Ultimately, Moniz "settled" for tying the school record of six in one half and 395 yards overall and Rolovich can, for a few more weeks, at least, hold it over his charges. Six of whom played in the nonconference rout.
Not that Moniz and the UH quarterbacks can go a day unaware of the record’s importance since the game ball from that magical Dec. 8 afternoon in 2001 when Rolovich led the 72-45 demolition of ninth-ranked Brigham Young University sits in a prominent place in their coach’s office.
Rolovich has repeatedly challenged his players with the record’s existence right there by his desk — and on page 91 of UH’s official media guide and record book — telling them how it will not fall. To them, especially. And how, by the power vested in him as offensive maestro, he will get the hook out before they can break it.
"We tell him if we get close, he’d better leave us in," said Shane Austin. "But he tells us, ‘Nah, I’ll take you out before that.’ "
So when Moniz’s TD totals began to mount with three in the first quarter and two more in the first 7 minutes of the second quarter, eyes began to focus on Rolovich, "Somebody — Greg Salas, I think — started yelling out the numbers," Rolovich said.
Whereupon, Moniz said with a wide grin, "He (Rolovich) said he was going to take me out before I could get to (the record)."
Moniz did exit with 5 minutes, 8 seconds left in the second quarter, an earlier hook than even Colt Brennan was used to in his point-a-minute days.
But the tale was told when Moniz exited the locker room after halftime still in pads. Then, by design to work on the second-half hurry-up offense, took the field. Moniz got in the first 10 plays before taking his final bow with a 1-yard touchdown run.
All in all, with 49 points on his watch in just 34 plays, a worthy effort even if he maintained more concern about the two interceptions (19-for-27 passing) than the touchdowns.
"I didn’t worry about the record too much," Moniz said. "We had some fun with it. I was thinking more about the picks."
As for records, "He doesn’t have to worry," Rolovich said. "He’ll probably get the record before he’s done. He’ll have a bunch of them."
Rolovich will make him earn it, of course. And probably not against an FCS opponent.
And, then, he’ll probably help him celebrate it.
Reach Ferd Lewis at email@example.com.