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Warrior mania takes over
by Lanaly Cabalo – The Garden Island
Warrior mania took over the islands in 2007 with many businesses rushing to promote the Warriors’ quest for a perfect season — a fate they will determine today.
Among the 2007 season highlights, the University of Hawai‘i Warrior football team led the nation in scoring offense. Quarterback Colt Brennan set the NCAA career touchdown passing record with 131 and was a Heisman Trophy finalist. The team’s trio of receivers, Davone Bess, Jason Rivers and Ryan Grice-Mullen were among the top in the nation. And Hawai‘i became the only unbeaten team by the end of the season.
To cap a successful year, Hawai‘i moved up the 12th ranking and earned the school’s first-ever Bowl Championship Series berth.
The excitement over Hawai‘i dates back to its 41-24 win over Arizona State last year in the Sheraton Hawai‘i Bowl at Aloha Stadium. By defeating a PAC-10 team on national television, Hawai‘i was able to show everyone that they meant business.
Riding that momentum through to spring training, the Warriors made it their goal to win the Western Athletic Conference and possibly go undefeated.
Hawai‘i started off the season with a 63-6 non-conference win over Northern Colorado. The Warriors followed that up with a 45-44 overtime victory of Louisiana Tech.
Interest in the Warriors locally and nationally grew weekly with each win. The buzz was so widespread that ESPN broadcast four of Hawai‘i’s games.
Hawai‘i won its first outright WAC title on Nov. 23 when it defeated rival Boise State 39-27 at Aloha Stadium, ending the Broncos’ 17-game winning streak.
In a gut-wrenching final game, Hawai‘i beat the Huskies of Washington 35-28 after being down 21-0. With that win, Hawai‘i moved up in the rankings to earn its passage to the Allstate Sugar Bowl.
Brennan was invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony in New York, where he finished third in the voting with 632 points and 54 first-place votes. Brennan was Hawai‘i’s first-ever Heisman finalist and the first WAC player to be invited to New York since Texas Christian University’s LaDanian Tomlinson in 2007. Brennan’s third-place finish was also the highest by a non-BCS conference since Alcorn State’s Steve McNair, and the highest of any WAC player since San Diego State’s Marshall Faulk.
Hawai‘i enjoyed its best season in school history this year, finishing 12-0, a school-record 13-game winning streak, 15-game WAC winning streak and has won 22 of its last 23 games.
Hawai‘i plays No. 4 Georgia in the Allstate Sugar Bowl today in New Orleans.
• Lanaly Cabalo, sports editor, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 237) or email@example.com.
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