Huskies let another one slip away

Husky RB Louis Rankin

It's been a long season for the fans of the Washington Huskies, but it's been even longer for the players and coaches and the 2007 season came to an end as they fell to the Hawaii Warriors on the road 35-28 in front of a sellout crowd at Aloha Stadium.

With this being the biggest game in the history of the Hawaii football program, it appeared the Warriors came out as tight as Cameron Frye's backside as they extended Washington's first drive by getting a five-yard illegal substitution penalty on 4th-and-5 giving the Huskies a first down on at Hawaii's 45 yard line.

The Huskies then ran the ball right down the Warriors' collective throats, capped when Locker went across the goal line from eight yards out giving Washington an early 7-0 lead.

Hawaii then suffered the first of three fumbles in the first half as Husky S Nate Williams came untouched on a blitz and stripped Hawaii QB Colt Brennan of the ball and LB E.J. Savannah scooped up the ball on Hawaii's 21 giving Washington ideal field position to start their second drive.

FB Luke Kravitz then blasted his way across from one yard out on 4th-and-goal and the Huskies had a 14-0 lead less than five minutes into the game.

After the teams traded possessions Washington then ran the ball on six straight plays with RB Louis Rankin rushing for 39 yards on four carries and QB Jake Locker giving he team 10 more before Kravitz came back in and powered over from two yards out to give Washington a surprising 21-0 lead.

But no lead is safe when it is facing down a June Jones and Brennan led attack.

Brennan, who looked very uncomfortable for the first 15 minutes of the game, began to hit his groove in the second quarter driving the Warriors 83 yards in 10 plays and capping the drive with a seven-yard scoring pass to WR Jason Rivers who had a huge night for the Warriors.

But the Huskies came right back with a seven-play, 83-yard drive capped when FB Paul Homer blasted his way over for a touchdown from the one yard line. The drive got a big boost by Rankin who blew threw the center of the Hawaii defensive line for a 44-yard run to the Hawaii 28.

Brennan and the Warriors then scored touchdowns on their final two drives, hitting Rivers for a three yard touchdown and then for a 13-yard touchdown right before the end of the first half. Rivers was called out on the last touchdown, but after a review it was determined he did get his one foot down with possession to draw the home team within seven points at 28-21.

The second half was a battle of wills between both teams' defenses, but in the end Hawaii had more "bullets" as Brennan hit Rivers with his fourth touchdown of the night, a 40-yard beauty as he got behind S Darin Harris and then to WR Ryan Grice-Mullen from five yards out with :44 seconds left on the clock.

Washington wasn't done though as Locker hit TE Michael Gottlieb with a 25-yard pass and then Marcel Reece with a 49 yard pass to the Hawaii four with 16 seconds left, but on 2nd-and-goal Locker's throw to Reece was knocked away and popped up in the air and it was intercepted by CB Ryan Mouton sealing the win for the Warriors and likely sending them to a BCS bowl game.

Brennan, a likely invitee to the Heisman trophy presentation in New York City, completed 42 of 50 passes for 442 yards and five touchdowns.

Rivers, as mentioned earlier had a huge night, catching 14 passes for 167 yards and four scores while Grice-Mullen added 10 receptions and 121 yards on the game-winning touchdown.

The Huskies got a big night from Rankin as the senior, playing his last game in a Husky uniform, rushed for 145 yards while Locker added 76 yards on the ground as well.

Locker only threw the ball 17 times in the game, completing nine of them for 142 yards and the final interception.

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