HONOLULU (AP) -- Even after three overtimes, Houston and Hawaii
were still fighting each other.
Michael Brewster's 8-yard touchdown run in the third overtime
sent Hawaii to a 54-48 victory over the Cougars in a Hawaii Bowl
that ended with a nasty brawl at midfield Thursday night.
Shortly after Hawaii stopped Houston on fourth down in the third
OT, several scuffles broke out with some players swinging helmets
at each other and throwing punches.
Coaches and police broke up the brawl after several minutes, and
Houston was escorted into its locker room.
It was a wild end to a thrilling game.
"It was everything I thought it was going to be," Hawaii coach
June Jones said.
Houston (7-6) took advantage of a major clock management mistake
by Hawaii (9-5) to tie it at 34 with 22 seconds left in the fourth
After the Warriors blew a chance to run out the clock and missed
a short field-goal attempt, Houston's Vincent Marshall caught an
81-yard touchdown pass from Kevin Kolb to tie it.
"I probably should have gone for 2 right at the end, because we
had momentum and we were an underdog and I made a coaching mistake
in my opinion," first-year Houston coach Art Briles said. "I
should have tried to finish it right there, get on the plane and go
Briles said he would review the postgame fight on film and
determine whether any disciplinary action is necessary.
"We'll look through that and see what got it going and who kept
it going," he said. "It's certainly not something we plan on
happening, it was just one of those things."
In the first overtime, Hawaii's Timmy Chang completed an 11-yard
touchdown pass to Britton Komine, and Houston tied it on Anthony
Evans' 6-yard run.
Houston went up 48-41 in the second overtime on a 4-yard run by
Jackie Battle, but Hawaii answered with an 18-yard pass from Chang
to Jason Rivers.
The Cougars nearly got the victory when they partially blocked
Hawaii's extra point, but the ball still went through the uprights.
It was the fifth straight bowl loss for the Cougars. Houston,
making its first bowl appearance since 1996, hasn't won in the
postseason since defeating Navy in the 1980 Garden State Bowl.
Chang, selected the game's MVP, was 26-of-42 passing for 475
yards and five touchdowns after coming off the bench. The junior
moved into third place on the NCAA career passing list with 12,814
Rivers had seven receptions for 143 yards and three touchdowns
for the Warriors. Jeremiah Cockheran added five catches for 162
The game featured two of the most prolific offenses in the
nation. Each team averaged more than 33 points and 450 yards per
game in the regular season. Hawaii is ranked second in the nation
in passing offense.
Battle led Houston's ground game with 124 yards and three
touchdowns. Marshall had seven catches for 157 yards and a TD.
Hawaii scored 17 straight points and took a 27-20 lead on a
7-yard pass from Chang to Rivers.
Chang entered early in the second quarter when starter Jason
Whieldon was shaken up on a 5-yard run. On his first play, Chang
tossed a 48-yard scoring pass to Clifton Herbert to tie it at 10.
Jones did not name his starting quarterback until gametime, then
opted for Whieldon.
Chang started 11 regular-season games and threw for 3,724 yards
and 24 TDs, but was benched late in the season for ineffectiveness.
"Timmy stepped in and became a great leader tonight,"
Cockheran said. "It was sad Jason got hurt and everything, but Tim
came in and just took off."
Many fans were filing out of Aloha Stadium with Hawaii seemingly
in control late in the fourth, but the Warriors failed to run out
Houston used its last timeout with 1:07 left, but instead of
running the ball and chewing up the rest of the clock the Warriors
passed on third down from the Cougars 12.
Chang's pass fell incomplete and Nolan Miranda missed a 29-yard
field goal, giving the Cougars one last shot.
Marshall caught a short pass in stride and burst up the middle,
racing 81 yards for the touchdown that sent the game into overtime.
After crossing the goal line, he fell to the turf and grabbed his
The Cougars jumped out to a 10-0 lead before Hawaii got a first
down. Kolb found Chad McCullar streaking down the right sideline
for a 34-yard touchdown on Houston's opening drive.
Four plays later, McCullar returned Hawaii's punt 60 yards,
setting up Dustin Bell's 21-yard field goal.
McCullar had five catches for 103 yards and a score.
Chang threw passes of 12 and 64 yards to Cockheran to set up
Brewster's 1-yard scoring run that tied it at 20 on the opening
series of the third quarter.
The Cougars had six sacks. The Warriors didn't allow a sack in
their last three regular-season games.
The game was played on a balmy 80-degree Christmas Day in front
of 25,551 fans, the smallest crowd at Aloha Stadium this season.
It was the third bowl appearance in five years for the Warriors.
Hawaii lost to Tulane 36-28 last year in the inaugural Hawaii Bowl.