The continuation of our six part series of the 2008 Hawaii Warrior Football season takes us to games five and six. After dropping two straight to Oregon State and lowly San Jose State at home, Hawaii started to gain some momentum beginning at Fresno State.
The Warriors pulled off the improbable with a 32-29 overtime win over No. 22 Fresno State, which saw Hawaii surrender a 17-point second-half lead and survive a last-minute field goal attempt by the Bulldogs to win the game in regulation.
Hawaii was out gained by Fresno State, 522-342 in total yards, but won the turnover battle. A week after turning the ball over six times and losing on a last-minute field goal to San Jose State, Hawaii turned the tables at Fresno. The Warriors took advantage of six Bulldog turnovers to lead for nearly the entire game. They intercepted three Bulldog passes, including two picks by Keao Monteilh, and recovered three fumbles. UH turned four of those turnovers into 20 points.
The Warriors rushed for a season-high 172 yards, led by quarterback Inoke Funaki's 79 yards. He also threw for 170 yards and two scores.
What was even more impressive was this was the first-ever Hawaii road win over a ranked opponent. Fresno State was No. 22 coming into this matchup.
Game six saw the Warriors return back to Aloha Stadium for Homecoming against WAC foe Louisiana Tech. Once again, Hawaii got off to a fast start and created opportunistic turnovers to beat the Bulldogs 24-14.
The Warriors produced four turnovers—two fumbles and two interceptions—sealing its second straight WAC win. Funaki moved the Hawaii offense by passing for two touchdowns and rushing for another. The junior completed 16-of-27 passes and finished with a career-high 224 yards.
The Warriors out gained the Bulldogs 402-358 in yards and allowed just 52 yards of total offense by Louisiana Tech in the second half, until the final drive with the game already decided.
As you can see, Hawaii is starting to gel as a team and protect the football, while creating turnovers. Plus, they are gaining needed leadership on offense from Fuanki.
Tomorrow, we'll dive into the second half of the season with recaps of the Boise State and Nevada games.
For more in depth information on Notre Dame's matchup with Hawaii in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, log onto Irish Band of Brothers: http://www.irishbandofbrothers.blogspot.com