Tough loss for UH in ‘Vegas

September 21, 2009, 9:22 PM HST · Updated September 21, 9:22 PM
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By Fred Guzman
MauiNow.com

It took a hopeful throw and a sensational catch to deal the University of Hawaii to its first football loss of the season on Saturday in Las Vegas.

The 6-foot-3 Phillip Payne caught a 15-yard pass from Omar Clayton over 5-9 cornerback Tank Hopkins in the right side of the end zone with 36 seconds left, lifting UNLV to a dramatic 34-33 victory.

Clayton’s toss on an up-for-grabs fade route capped a 14-play, 67 yard drive for the hometown Rebels after Hawaii had taken a 33-28 lead with 5:27 left on Alex Green’s 2-yard run.

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UH quarterback Greg Alexander had another productive game, going 33-for-48 for 477 yards and three touchdowns.

His final desperation pass was batted down as time expired. In three games this season, Alexander has thrown for 1,234 yards – an average of more than 411 per game – to rank second nationally behind only Texas Tech’s Taylor Potts.

UH’s receiving corps also game up big statistically. Rodney Bradley had eight catches for 189 yards and two TD. Kealoha Pilares 13 grabs for 146 yards and Greg Salas catches 6 for 104 and two scores.

Salas leads the nation in average receiving yards per game at 159.7 while Pilares is tied for fourth in average catches per game with nine.

UH is off this week before opening its WAC schedule at LaTech on October 3. After playing three road games in four weeks, UH finally returns to Aloha Stadium on October 10 versus Fresno State.

TIGHT RACES IN MIL

Parity has arrived in the MIL. After three weeks of league play, there are no unbeaten or winless teams.

The last of winless teams changed that status on Friday night as Baldwin beat Lahainaluna 27-19 before a loud and enthusiastic crowd of about 5,000 at War Memorial Stadium.

Aaron Ross rushed for 102 yards and two scores on 19 carries, leading the four-time defending MIL Division-I champs to their first win.

The last team with an unbeaten mark fell on Saturday, as King Kekaulike defeated visiting Kamehameha 36-29 in a see-saw type of game that was still in doubt until the final minute.

Leading the way for Na Alii was Charles Spencer, who ran for 258 yards and three scores on 23 carries. Teammate Reyn Yoshiura added 114 yards on 21 carries as Kekaulike rolled up 416 yards on the ground.

Following the weekend results, Kekaulike leads D-I with a 2-1 mark, while Baldwin and Maui High are 1-1. Kamehameha is 1-1, for a slight lead in D-II over the 1-2 Lunas.

This week, Baldwin faces Maui High on Friday in a game that originally scheduled to be played at King Kekaulike because of an Aerosmith concert that has since been cancelled.

Hopefully, the game will be rescheduled for War Memorial Stadium to maximize the gate for a showdown between Central Maui rivals.

On Saturday, the Lunas visit Kamehameha for a key D-II contest.

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