comscore Blocked! Hawaii turns back Fresno State with big special-teams play | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Blocked! Hawaii turns back Fresno State with big special-teams play

  • TONY AVELAR / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

    Hawaii linebacker Jahlani Tavai celebrated after UH defeated Fresno State 14-13 today in Fresno, Calif.

The University of Hawaii football team blocked a field goal as time expired for a heart-stopping 14-13 victory over Fresno State today at Bulldog Stadium.

The 43-yard attempt by Kody Kroening was blocked by Viane Moala to keep the Rainbow Warriors’ postseason hopes alive entering next weekend’s game against the University of Massachusetts. With the win, Hawaii is 5-7 this season and 4-4 in Mountain West Conference play. The Bulldogs dropped to 1-10 overall and 0-8 in league play.

Down 1 with 59 seconds left, Fresno State began its final drive at its own 25 after the kickoff went into the end zone. Fresno State quarterback Zach Kline led Fresno State to a first down at its own 39, but used up 25 seconds of clock in the process.

Two big completions later by Kline set up third-and-4 at the UH 38, but only 18 seconds remaining. A missed tackle by Jalen Rogers led to a huge completion by Kline to set up the 43-yard field goal by Kroening with five seconds left.

After the block, UH coach Nick Rolovich tried to console Kroening, who was devastated by the block.

The improbable win began earlier with UH trailing 13-7 with 3:33 remaining. Hawaii needed a touchdown to keep its postseason hopes alive with an offense that had 194 yards at that point in the game.

Starting at the UH 24, quarterback Dru Brown tried to find some magic on a night where the offense struggled against Fresno State’s defense. Once again, penalties forced second-and-long thanks to offensive lineman Dejon Allen, who had two holding penalties and one personal foul, accounting for 35 yards by himself in the game.

Despite that fact, Brown converted a huge fourth-and-4 at the UH 47, hitting Makoa Camanse-Stevens for 14 yards to the Fresno State 39. From there, Brown got a hot hand, completing a 17-yard pass to Marcus Kemp to the Fresno State 22 and then another 5-yarder to Kemp to set up second-and-6 at the 18 with 1:22 left.

Brown threw it away on second down and then Kemp dropped the football in the end zone, but a roughing the passer penalty set up a first-and-goal at the 9. Brown found John Ursua for 7 to the 2 and then Steve Lakalaka went in for the score with 59 seconds left. Sanchez hit the PAT to make it 14-13 Hawaii.

Down 10-7 to start the final quarter, the Hawaii offense tried to shake the doldrums with running back Diocemy Saint Juste seeing playing time for the first time in three weeks because of shoulder problems.

His fresh legs appeared to lift the offense as the Rainbow Warriors moved into Fresno State territory before a holding penalty stalled the drive. It was the 10th flag of the game for the Warriors, and eventually led to Sanchez’s eighth punt as Fresno State started the drive at its own 12 with 9:39 left.

From there, the Red Wave went on a long march thanks to the power running of Josh Hoskit and Dontel James — nothing fancy, just good run-blocking in a critical juncture of the game. Kline also got in the mix as a pair of nice runs put the Bulldogs into Hawaii territory at the 46.

But a false start on second down led to a third-and-6 that the Bulldogs picked up on a nice 18-yard pass play to KeeSean Johnson that led to a 20-yard scamper by Kline on the next play to pick up a first down at the 12.

But the defense held, forcing a 27-yard field goal by Kroening to make it 13-7 Fresno State with 3:41 remaining. The drive was 78 yards and 14 plays, but Hawaii still had a chance.

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  • I don’t care if Hawaii beats Fresno and win their last game against Mass. IT WOULD BE AN EMBARRASSMENT FOR THIS HAWAII TEAM TO GO TO THE TOILET A.K.A. HAWAII BOWL. WHO, IN THEIR RIGHT MIND, IS GOING TO PAY TO SEE HAWAII IN THE HAWAII BOWL IF THEY SHOULD WIN OUT AND BE SELECTED INTO THE HAWAII BOWL….That would be an absolute travesty……..JUST ABSURB!!! All these local sports media and sportscasters trying to validate selecting Hawaii for the Hawaii Bowl…….what a farce!!!! It was bad enough going to the Sugar Bowl and, yes, I was one that cheered them on but that embarrassment left a bitter taste nationwide and certainly to every Hawaii fan that was in attendance there…great experience, though!! ha..ha..ha…

    • eh, U.H. critic you sound like a person who has no respect for what these kids do, all you make is stu__id comments, remember Nebraska went 5and 7 last year an went to a bowl game everyone deserves a bowl if there is a chance. so stop complaining and grow up.

    • Just like the Oahu rail project and tearing down Aloha Stadium so they can build a much smaller stadium with no parking so they can build a lot more townhomes, condos and shopping center on the property, the fix is in to have UH in its homer bowl even if they have to change the rules that UH needs to win only 1/3 of it games instead of greater then 1/2. Hawaii fans like you can avoid the homer bowl just as the way many fans avoided UH play Boise which is close to a top 20 ranked team. Many fans have just given up given up when Fresno State is one of the worst Div 1A teams in the nation and to barely win by 1 point, SA and UH trying so hard overhype the coach and team but no one is really buying it. Many people agree with you but Hawaii style is keep your mouth shut, your head in the sand and drink the kool aid cause the coach has a 4 year contract and by UH going to its homer bowl the coach gets an extra PAID one year extension on his contract.

    • You know it’s really ok to just say congrats to the team. All wins are good wind, especially road wins. Take it easy, relax. Be happy that the home team won.

    • Let us not forget that these are student-athletes, not professional players. The majority of these players have not experienced very much success over the last five years. Do not rain on their parade. These kids are learning how to deal with adversity. Rolo is the right coach for this team, he will see this team through. They will earn what they deserve, period. IMUA Rainbow Warriors!

    • “It was bad enough going to the Sugar Bowl….” Georgia finished the season ranked #2 in the nation. Georgia was led by future NFL Pro Bowl quarterback Matthew Stafford who was the #1 overall pick in the NFL Draft the following year, a QB who holds numerous NFL records along with running back Knowshon Moreno who was also drafted in the first round the following year at the #12 spot. And the thing about Georgia is they were known primarily for their stout defense in the SEC–arguably the best defense in all of college football that season. When Georgia played in the Sugar Bowl, they were basically playing at home as New Orleans was just 425 miles away. Hawaii is nearly ten times the distance at over 4,200 miles away. And then there’s the fallacy that Hawaii didn’t belong in a BCS game. In my opinion they definitely deserved to play in a BCS Bowl–just not against a team that would finish the season ranked #2 in the nation, losing by a score of 41-10. However, the same argument can be said about Illinois who lost to USC in the Rose Bowl by a score of 49-17. Then we have the other three BCS Bowl games which were all upsets that year–#9 ranked West Virginia upset #4 Oklahoma 48-28 in the Fiesta Bowl. #8 Kansas upset #3 Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl. And in the BCS National Championship game, #2 LSU upset #1 Ohio State. So in conclusion, why should anyone feel embarrassed that the Warriors lost to a team that the BCS selection committee decided to pit UH against–which turned out to be one of the best teams in the nation, loaded with future NFL players on both offense and defense? Had UH played a team like Illinois in a BCS Bowl game that year, the Warriors would have had a much better chance of winning and we would all be singing their praises. Go Warriors!

    • Hossane,
      The biggest advantage of going to ANY bowl games is that you can practice an additional 15 times while the other teams stay home. The coaches can give more reps to underclassmen. It is like a 2nd spring practice. So swallow your false pride and hope they get the bowl invit and the additional 15 practices. What an idiot

    • Hossana, The main reason for going to any bowl game is that you are allowed an additional 15 practices. The Coaches have give more reps to the underclassmen. Like a 2nd spring practice. SO get off your high horse, swallow your false pride and support our boys being rewarded with a bowl game.

  • UH barely beats a 1 – 8 Fresno State team and people are all ready crying for them to be in the Hawaii Bowl with a losing record……………….. What?? to 13,000 people with free tickets???

    • One of the SA writers pointed out is if UH attends their homer bowl, Rolo will get a gauranteed one year paid extension on his 4 year contract. It is all about money for Rolo and supposedly to improve recruiting. I don’t see how if only 10K-15K attend the UH homer bowl. Rolo already has completed his first recruiting class and the next one will be his 2nd attempt.

      • Let’s not forget Chow came in with a 5 year contract with tons of bonus clauses and a base salary 25% higher than Rolo. Additionally there is a much more stringent performance clause for Rolo. Don’t blame Rolo for the lack of fans, there’s no way to make up the loss of over 14,000 season ticket holders in a year or so, if ever. Rolo is off to a promising start, he deserve some slack for now.

  • With an defense that can, and should, stop an obvious running game; and going back to the Run n Shoot that was successful early on (instead of run up the middle, 1 yd gain and wasting a down), UH would’ve and should’ve blown this team out. UH didn’t rely on the running game at all in the winning drive, learn from that, please.

  • A successful first season for Rolo no matter how you look at it. Still a long ways to go to be competitive against better teams as most the wins were against terribly bad teams with the exception of AF. Need better talent at almost every position and the upcoming recruiting season will be one of the most crucial one in UH football history. Good to see the seniors go out with some measure of success after suffering through so many “lost” years.

  • CHEEEEEEEE HOOOUUUUU. I was keeping up with this game through the UH website. Things looked grim but the Warriors preservered and hung tough. Granted it was against probably the worst team in the MWC this year but any win at FSU is a good win.

  • Hawaii fans have high expectations so Rollo has his work cut out for him. Even the best coach can only go so far with a smaller, less talented pool of players to choose from. It also doesn’t help that every good player Hawaii high schools produce usually end up choosing a mainland school over UH. Good Luck Rollo, you’re definitely going to need it.

    • And that is why Hawaii taxpayers are required to pay an obscene salary to the football coach who can CHANGE the mindset of these Hawaii and mainland high school blue chip players and their parents to sign up and play for UH. You have to give them good reasons to stay and less reasons to leave. Not that long ago a school named Boise State was a small time, rinky dink, cash poor school in a state known only for potatoes. What changed? The hired a smart and resourceful coach that created a winning tradition that flushed the program with money and made the school very desirable place for blue chip recruits to attend. When the original coach left they hired another smart and resourceful coach that carried on that winning tradition. They had some bumps in the road like not winning as much last year but still their bad years are not nearly as bad as UH or now Fresno State. Many are trying hard to cut the current guy slack but difficult when it is clear he and his assistants are doing on the job training knowing UH will NOT have years and years to get it right. HIgh school blue chip players and their parents are seeing the same thing as well which gives them more reasons NOT to attend UH and the coach cannot get out of this vicious catch-22 situation.

      • Hawaii is at a disadvantage just because of the distance and our cost of living. Comparing Boise to Honolulu is like comparing apples to oranges. UH cannot realistically keep all of the blue chippers at home, but they can at least make UH a viable option. One step at a time, we can build this thing.

  • It was a tough win but a needed win and that’s how the ball bounces. I don’t pay much attention to the know it all negative posters. I like the culture that Rolo is trying to create. You know to win 3 road games is an accomplishment noting most of the players are from Chow’s regime. Win or lose these student/athletes should be supported not thrown under the bus. One more win Rainbow Warriors and a possible bowl game which is great for the program.

  • WOW!! I’M SO IMPRESSED!! Hawaii won and will probably win next week against the Univ. of Mass. Two tough ranked teams that Hawaii will beat and then get invited to the Toilet a.k.a. Bowl. Now all the local, yokel scribes and sportscasters will be praising the tremendous effort of the UH team after getting “lickings” in their last 3 games ….wow, beating two ranked teams in the Top Bottom Teams in NCAA Div. 1 …how impressive..now they get invited to the Toilet Bowl and maybe they’re lucky if they get more than 20,000 fans to attend unless they give out complimentary tickets to 19,000 people….how impressive….Rolo gets his bonus….UH gets more practice sessions….good for recruiting…blah…blah…blah……

  • I just don’t get all the naysayers. Such short memories. Remember the four previous years under Chow? Remember that almost all the coaches are new? Remember that at the start of the year, we were predicted to end up in last place in the conference? Remember that last year, we did not win a single conference game? OK, we beat Fresno State by only 1 point. If we beat them by 100 points, does it count as a bonus win? Do we get two wins for winning by 100? The fact that we went 4-4 in the conference and we can even still be talking about a bowl game, even if it is the Hawaii Bowl, is a HUGE improvement IMO. Of the 4 conference wins, 3 were on the road! For me, this season is already way over expectations, even if we lose to UMAss and end at 5-8. But, I have a feeling we will win, go 6-7 and be in the Hawaii Bowl. So what if it’s a losing record! No one expected Hawaii to be where they are right now, but here they are!

  • The whiner fans on this comments page spew just like Donald Trump. They are probably Trump fans more than they ever will be Hawaii fans.

    The issue is that a lot of these so called fans always whine, waaaaaah, waaaaaah, waaaaah, Hawaii didn’t instantly turnaround the season with the new coach to win 9 games and achieve the greatest turnaround in NCAA history. Waaaaah Waaaah Waaaahhhhhhhh! These whiner whiney fans need to put up and go to the games or clam up the mouth and don’t say anything. Have entitlement minded, unrealistic expectations, so incredibly incapable of having realistic perspective and patience. You watch as these whiny fans going say bad stuff, like Trump, because Hawaii doesn’t got to a New Years Bowl Game next season. You just watch.

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