Hawaii Squanders Huge Lead to Aggies
By Fred Guzman
The questions are flying on the message boards and on the radio talk shows.
How could this possibly happen? How could the University of Hawaii blow a 21- point halftime lead – at home, no less – against a team that came into the game with a 2-5 record? Wasn’t this supposed to be a mere tuneup for the upcoming showdown in Reno against conference leader Nevada?
Those are only some of the major lingering questions following Hawaii’s collapse on Saturday night in a 35-31 defeat before a disbelieving crowd of 26,205 at Aloha Stadium.
The loss dealt a serious setback to UH’s WAC football title hopes. Hawaii now trails Nevada by a full game. The Wolfpack, which was idle last week, is 3-0. Louisiana Tech is 4-1 following a 41-21 road rout of Fresno State. Hawaii fell to 3-2.
But it’s been that kind of season for UH and, as a result, head coach Greg McMackin is catching major – and deserved — heat as his team’s overall record dipped to 5-4 after behind outscored 28-3 in the second half of – we repeat – a home game.
That so-so record includes inexplicable losses to the likes of UNLV, San Jose State and now Utah State – teams with a combined record of 8-17.
Hawaii needs to win at least two of its remaining four games in order to qualify for the Hawaii Bowl. Following its visit to Reno, UH closes out the regular season with home games against Fresno State, Tulane and BYU. And based on how this season has gone, there are no sure things for the UH football team.
Robert Turbin scored on a 1-yard run with 14 seconds left to complete a second-half rally that gave Utah State the win over Hawaii.
Utah State totaled 433 yards of offense, with 280 coming in the second half. Turbin finished with 96 yards on 15 carries and two touchdowns.
Hawaii held a 31-14 lead in the third quarter, but Utah State cut the deficit to 10 points with a 37-yard touchdown pass from Adam Kennedy to Chuck Jacobs. Kennedy’s 71-yard scoring strike to Stanley Morrison early in the fourth quarter brought the Aggies within a field goal.