The score was similar, and according to Charleston Southern coach Jay Mills, so too are the teams.
"I felt like (Hawaii) is a team that I think is more sound in all three areas of the game than maybe the team we played in 2007," Mills said. "Of course, they all had all the accolades with Colt Brennan and so forth, but I’ve been impressed with the discipline … and the toughness they have shown (this year)."
Nonconference losses to USC and Colorado will keep UH from equaling what the 2007 team achieved, but for at least one night, the Warriors stood toe-to-toe with the Sugar Bowl squad of ’07.
Brennan didn’t play in Hawaii’s 66-10 win over the Buccaneers in 2007. This time around, the Warriors were a field goal better, defeating Charleston Southern 66-7 at Aloha Stadium.
Three years ago, it was tight at halftime, with Hawaii holding onto a 21-10 lead. That wasn’t the case last night as the Warriors blew it open with seven first-half touchdowns.
The 49 points Hawaii hung on CSU in the opening 24 minutes tied a Buccaneers record for most points allowed in one half. The 59-point game differential was just three shy of the worst loss in CSU history, a 62-0 shutout by East Tennessee in 1992.
"Whether you lose by 59 or one, it’s still a loss," Mills said. "It’s black and white. It counts the same in the record book."
After playing the likes of Mars Hill, Wofford and North Greenville, CSU’s first game against an FBS-level opponent was like going from preschool to Harvard the next day.
Hawaii rolled up 583 total yards to the Buccaneers’ 227 and nearly doubled the number of first downs (25 to 15).
The Warriors needed to score 45 points in the second half against CSU in ’07 to turn a tight game into a blowout, but had it on cruise control midway through the second quarter after quarterback Bryant Moniz threw his sixth touchdown pass of the half.
UH found the end zone on seven of its eight drives. Its only stall came on an interception by sophomore Charles James, one of two he had in the game.
"I thought they executed much better on offense in this game than in 2007 and made plays," Mills said. "I really believe this team has a chance to be very successful going into conference play."
James, a 5-foot-11 defensive back, was one of the lone bright spots for the Buccaneers. He picked off Moniz twice and tipped a third pass away from a receiver, causing three of Moniz’s eight incompletions in the game.
"Our defensive front gave us a lot of help, and I just wanted to go out there and make plays," James said. "I was trying to enjoy myself and have fun, but we’ve got to get a lot of help even though I felt we took a step up after playing this game."