It wasn't a very pretty start on Offense or Special Teams (sound familiar?) but both areas improved dramatically as the game went on. Enough to beat the Warriors from Hawaii/Las Vegas 31-13. Even if UH doesn't miss that Field Goal, and we don't score on that lucky play, we still come out on top. That feels pretty good.
See my Quick Hits after the jump.Here's the Game coverage from SBNation.
I'm still unhappy about how we started the game on Offense. More penalties early. The one on McKnight was a fluke, but it was nice to see how upset the players on the field were getting when Mike Iltis jumped offsides in the third quarter.
Speaking of which...penalties?? Again, we won't be able to get away with committing nine or ten penalties against Georgia in two weeks. It was only for 48 yards today, which is better, but still not great. On the bright side, the Defense still is only committing a small portion of those penalties each week.
I'm pretty sure I saw Brian Lockridge make a cut out there today!! As many times as I've criticized him, he looked pretty darn good out there. He was shifty, he ran with some power, exercised some patience, and he absorbed some pretty big hits. That makes me feel a lot better about our running game. Not to mention Justin Torres doing some damage out there. That is a very good sign.
I know it was Hawaii, but we managed to open some pretty big holes in the running game today. Hopefully the Offensive line can build on that today. Also, no sacks of Hansen today. The Offensive line hopefully can take what they did today and figure out how to replicate that.
They finally managed to get Ryan Deehan involved in the passing game. Each of his three receptions went for first downs.
Will Pericak had another pretty good game. He's a pretty good athlete at the Defensive Tackle position. He's one of my favorite players on the team. Today he dealt with getting double teamed quite a bit, and he still managed to hold his gap on running plays. On passing plays, he was able to get some pressure and close quickly. Curtis Cunningham also played well, he just doesn't have the same kind of closing speed that Pericak does.
So Paul Vigo went down early in the game, and will apparently be out 4-6 weeks. So now we're down to our 4th string Nickle Back? Jonathan Hawkins got picked on a bit, but he did grab that interception late (Bryant Moniz's first INT of the season, by the way). I wonder who they get to back him up, and whether we'll have to see whoever it is. I have a feeling it'll be Deji Olatoye. They moved him to Safety in the Fall, but I think it'll be him. Jered Bell could be another option, but he's a true freshman.
Mahnke played a bit more at Linebacker to give the Buffs more speed against Hawaii's 4 receiver sets. He seemed to play pretty well.
Jimmy Smith may not intercept too many passes (he definitely should have had that pick late), but he sure can wrap up when he tackles. Ambrose has definitely been in his ear after his missed sack against CSU.
They should rush Kasa off the edge more. He missed a sack, but he seems to be able to do more damage there than from inside.
Adkins looked pretty good today, which is a very good thing. I didn't see it from where I was sitting, but apparently he pancaked his guy on Stewart's 2 yard TD run. We need improved play from that Left Guard spot, and it looks like we may be getting it. Again, it was against Hawaii, not Georgia, Oklahoma or Nebraska, but that's something.
Did we really come back from a ten point deficit? That's also a good sign. They showed some poise in coming back. I wasn't sure we were capable of that, so that was nice to see.
It was nice that they finally got Toney Clemons involved in the passing game, though I wish the TD to him hadn't been on a broken play. Either way, that long TD will hopefully help Clemons and Tyler Hansen get onto the same page. And that will hopefully show Hansen that he can create big plays without doing silly things and without choosing to run too quickly.
Speaking of TDs on broken plays, how about that tipped pass Touchdown to Scotty McKnight? Again, I wish we'd scored the way we planned, but I'm OK with us getting lucky occasionally. Add the Hawaii missed Field Goal to that.
Overall, I'm pretty happy. We looked good in every area in the second half. Could this mean we've turned the corner? Not likely, but hopefully the team will build off of that success.
And on the bright side, we come out of OOC play with at least a 2-2 record. And if things go very, very right on October 2nd, we could match our win total from last year before we've even hit our Conference sked. We can only hope...