11:05 PM ET, December 3, 2005
Aloha Stadium, HONOLULU, HI
HONOLULU (AP) -- Colt Brennan wanted nothing more this season than to send out Hawaii's seniors as winners.
Brennan threw for 326 yards and five touchdowns as Hawaii put on an offensive show and defeated San Diego State 49-38 on Saturday night in the season finale for both teams.
Freshman Ryan Grice-Mullen had 10 catches for 167 yards and three TDs for the Warriors (5-7) who racked up 588 total yards of offense and ended their season on a winning note, but failed to reach the postseason for the first time in four years.
"This was by far the game that meant the most," said Brennan, who was 25-of-37 passing and finished his first season with the Warriors throwing for 4,301 yards and 35 TDs. "Everyone was real nervous before the game because we wanted to win so badly."
Down 21-7, the Warriors scored three touchdowns in the final 2:50 of the first half, including two scores in 13 seconds, to take a 28-21 lead at the break. The last two TDs, catches of 13 and 10 yards by Grice-Mullen, came off of San Diego State turnovers.
"When we started off kind of slow, it was eating up everyone," Brennan said. "But once we got rolling, we got motivation and it just kept rolling."
With San Diego State driving and looking to pad its lead just before the half, Ryan Keomaka intercepted an errant pass by Kevin O'Connell at Hawaii's goal line. He then scrambled 14 yards before pitching it to fellow cornerback Kenny Patton who fought his way to the Aztecs' 49.
The Warriors tied the game at 21 with 28 seconds left in the half on Grice-Mullen's second TD catch of the day, a 13 yarder. He scored again 13 seconds later after Hawaii took possession on SDSU's 10 on a botched handoff from O'Connell to Hamilton.
Grice-Mullen, who finished the season with 85 receptions for 1,228 yards, had five receptions for 114 yards and all three TDs in the first half. His first score was a 63-yard catch, tying the game at 7.
The Aztecs (5-7) not only had a difficult time keeping up with Hawaii's short and speedy receivers, but also Hawaii's running attack.
Nate Ilaoa rushed 15 times for 151 yards and became the first player this season to break 100 yards rushing for Hawaii. He caught an 11-yard touchdown pass and ran 25 yards for another score to give the Warriors a 49-24 lead in the fourth quarter.
The 6-foot, 351-pound Reagan Mauia ran for 56 yards, including a bulldozing 10-yard TD run that put Hawaii up 35-14. He entered the game with just 3 rushing yards.
SDSU scored two TDs in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get any closer.
O'Connell was 33-of-51 passing for 421 yards and three TDs.
Jeff Webb had 13 catches for 142 yards and two touchdowns, giving him 92 receptions for 1,109 yards and 10 TDs for the year. His 16-yard TD catch in the fourth quarter cut Hawaii's lead to 18 points.
On Hawaii's opening possession, Brennan mishandled the snap and San Diego State pounced on the ball on the Warriors' 19. O'Connell then connected on a 19-yard touchdown pass to Chaze Schilens who had eight catches for 119 yards.
Lynell Hamilton led SDSU's running game with 110 yards and a touchdown.
San Diego State took a 21-7 lead on a 14-yard run by O'Connell, who faked a handoff to Hamilton, made a couple nice moves and jogged into the end zone.
Besides the 18 seniors for the Aztecs, the loss may have been the final game for embattled San Diego State coach Tom Craft, who is now 19-29 in four seasons with the Aztecs and has a year left on his contract.
"It's been fun," he said. "It has been a real rebuilding process. I don't discuss my job status with the media."
SDSU athletic director Jeff Schemmel has said he'll wait until the season is completed before making a decision on Craft's future.
O'Connell said he wants to see Craft return next season.
"He's a great coach and he cares about his players," he said. "I always said coach Craft is the reason why I came to this school."
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||12-17||5-7|
|4th Down Conversions||1-2||0-0|
|TD||10:06||CHAZERAY SCHILENS 19 YD PASS FROM KEVIN O'CONNELL (GARRETT PALMER KICK)|
Drive info: 1 plays, 19 yards.
|TD||0:22||RYAN GRICE-MULLEN 63 YD PASS FROM COLT BRENNAN (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 87 yards.
|TD||14:03||JEFF WEBB 2 YD PASS FROM KEVIN O'CONNELL (GARRETT PALMER KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 68 yards.
|TD||5:57||KEVIN O'CONNELL 14 YD RUN (GARRETT PALMER KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 83 yards.
|TD||2:50||ROSS DICKERSON 17 YD PASS FROM COLT BRENNAN (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||0:28||RYAN GRICE-MULLEN 13 YD PASS FROM COLT BRENNAN (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||0:15||RYAN GRICE-MULLEN 10 YD PASS FROM COLT BRENNAN (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 10 yards.
|TD||10:31||REAGAN MAUIA 10 YD RUN (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 87 yards.
|FG||6:46||GARRETT PALMER 28 YD FG|
Drive info: 10 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||3:51||NATE ILAOA 11 YD PASS FROM COLT BRENNAN (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||13:30||NATE ILAOA 25 YD RUN (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 4 plays, 45 yards.
|TD||9:57||JEFF WEBB 16 YD PASS FROM KEVIN O'CONNELL (GARRETT PALMER KICK)|
Drive info: 14 plays, 85 yards.
|TD||7:29||LYNELL HAMILTON 2 YD RUN (GARRETT PALMER KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 32 yards.