Alex Green broke a 60-year-old rushing record today in leading Hawaii to a 59-24 victory over New Mexico State as the Warriors clinched a share of the Western Athletic Conference football championship.
Green rushed for 327 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries to break Pete Wilson’s team mark of 270 rushing yards set against Brigham Young University in 1950. Green now has 1,032 yards for the season to become the first UH player to break the 1,000-yard mark since Travis Sims managed 1,498 in 1992.
The win gives Hawaii a 7-1 record in conference and 9-3 mark overall. New Mexico State finished 2-10 for the season and 1-7 in league action. Hawaii holds a half-game lead over Nevada and Boise State, both nationally ranked. Nevada plays at Louisiana Tech next Saturday. Boise State hosts Utah State. Hawaii closes its regular season with a home game against Nevada-Las Vegas and will play a Conference USA team on Christmas Eve in the Hawaii Bowl.
After missing a scoring opportunity on the Warriors’ opening series, they put together a nice seven-play, 72-yard drive that culminated with an 11-yard touchdown run by Green, who has 16 for the season. Scott Enos added the PAT to give Hawaii a 7-0 advantage with 7:01 left in the first quarter.
Hawaii extended the lead to 10-0 on a 27-yard field goal by Enos with 3:10 left in the opening quarter. Green set up the score on a 30-yard draw play, the first of many big carries for the afternoon.
The Aggies came back with their first scoring drive of the game on a good mix of run and pass. Running back Marcus Allen scored from 5 yards out off a reverse to draw the Aggies to within three at 10-7 with 12:32 left in the half.
Hawaii answered with a five-play, 91-yard scoring drive where Green displayed his talents once again. He had a 62-yard run off another draw where he broke several tackles along the way.
It set up a 12-yard touchdown pass to fellow running back Chizzy Dimude, the 29th scoring toss of the season by UH quarterback Bryant Moniz to make it 17-7 Hawaii with 10:18 left in the second quarter.
New Mexico State responded with another good drive led by freshman Andrew Manley, who, like Moniz, is a former Leilehua High signal-caller. Hawaii stopped the drive that began at the Aggies’ 41, forcing a 37-yard field goal by Tyler Stampler, his 16th of the season in 19 attempts. It cut the Warriors’ lead to 17-10 with 5:12 left in the half.
Hawaii responded with another score just 55 seconds later thanks to a two-play 54-yard drive that was all Green. After gaining 9 yards on the first carry, Green exploded through a huge hole and went untouched for 45 yards for his second score of the game.
Enos added the extra point as Hawaii extended its lead to 24-10 with 4:17 left in the half. Green was averaging 21.1 yards a carry after that score as the Aggies did their best to hang with their league counterparts.
But after Hawaii held New Mexico State to a three and out, the Warriors went right back at it, marching 72 yards on only four plays. The last one was a 15-yard touchdown toss from Moniz to Kealoha Pilares to give Hawaii a 31-10 advantage with 1:10 left in the half.
It was more of the same in the second half. Hawaii began its opening series after intermission with a 72-yard run by Green that set up a 3-yard scoring pass from Moniz to Greg Salas as Hawaii built an insurmountable 38-10 lead with 13:25 left in the third quarter.
That’s a good thing for the Warriors as New Mexico State came back with a 48-yard interception return for a touchdown by Davon House. It was the third pick-six of his career, two against Hawaii, as the Aggies cut the UH lead to 38-17 with 8:42 left in the third quarter.
Hawaii made House pay for it on the ensuing offensive series as the Warriors drove quickly down the field again. The final play of the drive was a 33-yard touchdown pass from Moniz to Royce Pollard, who beat House on the play, as Hawaii extended its advantage to 45-17 with 6:25 left in the third.
Green added to the fun with a 33-yard touchdown run with 7:52 left in the game to build Hawaii’s lead to 52-17 on Enos’ seventh PAT for the day. Linebacker Aaron Brown also got into the act, returning a tipped Manley pass 34 yards for a score. It was his second interception return for a touchdown this season as Hawaii led 59-17 with 5:06 remaining in the game.
New Mexico State added a touchdown late on a 1-yard run by Seth Smith with 41 seconds left in the game.