for this game

Hawaii rallies late to stay unbeaten

Oct 13, 2007 - 7:44 AM SAN JOSE, California (Ticker) -- For much of the game, Colt Brennan looked like anything but a Heisman Trophy candidate.

Brennan rallied No. 16 Hawaii from a 14-point fourth-quarter deficit with less than four minutes left in regulation to post a wild 42-35 overtime victory over conference rival San Jose State on Friday.

Brennan, who was unable to finish his last start against Utah State due to an injured ankle, dealt with an opportunistic Spartan defense and sloppy field conditions all evening long. Both factors played a large role in the signal-caller's four-interception performance.

"He showed what he's made of," Hawaii coach June Jones said. "He's a very competitive kid and I felt bad for him because the conditions were so terrible. Had he had better conditions, I don't think it would have been a really close game."

"I've had a rough couple of weeks these past couple of weeks and just haven't really been in my groove or in sync lately," Brennan said. "But I knew that if I stepped up when I had to and made the plays when I was supposed to, that we would still be in this game and we could still win this game."

Following a nine-yard touchdown run from Spartans running back James T. Callier that gave San Jose State a 35-21 lead with 12:33 left in the fourth quarter, Brennan and the explosive Warriors offense showed their mettle.

"We had a lot of character (tonight), when we went down 35-21 and Colt throws a pick," Jones said. "I just grabbed everybody and said 'look guys, if we come back and win this game it will do more for us as a team and it will do more for you, Colt Brennan, than anything you can ever do in your life.' And he got it together, put it together, and got us in the end zone and we won."

One drive after Brennan threw his fourth interception of the contest, the senior signal-caller guided his team down the field on an eight-play, 97-yard drive that was capped off by receiver Davone Bess' bobbling one-handed TD grab as he slid out of bounds to cut the lead to 35-28 with 3:54 remaining.

Needing a little bit of help from San Jose State (3-4, 2-1 WAC) to give the Warriors a chance to send the game into overtime, Hawaii (7-0, 4-0) benefited from the Spartans' first lost fumble of the season when Callier fumbled on the second play of the next series. The ball was recovered by linebacker Adam Leonard at the San Jose State 45.

From there, Brennan calmly directed the Warriors down the field, a drive which ended with his sixth rushing TD of the season on a two-yard option run to knot the game at 35-35 with 31 seconds left in regulation.

The Warriors quarterback went 44-of-75 for 545 yards and four touchdowns for the game, setting a new career high for attempts and completions in a single game while registering the fourth 500-yard passing game of his career.

The Spartans were unable to get into field goal range in the remaining time, sending the contest into overtime.

After San Jose State won the coin flip and elected to play defense first, Brennan hit receiver Jason Rivers from nine yards out to give Hawaii a 42-35 advantage.

"This offense is very good no matter what and if you only give us 25 yards to drive, we have a good shot at scoring," Brennan said. "We knew we just had to get to overtime. I didn't have confidence in my reads and where I wanted to go with the ball early on. When the rain died off, it really allowed us to throw the ball a lot better at the end of the third and fourth quarter."

The Spartans' hopes were dashed quickly thereafter, when Adam Tafralis was intercepted by Myron Newberry on the San Jose State's second play of the first overtime.

Tafralis completed 24-of-47 for 302 yards with 302 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions.

The comeback overshadowed what was a spectacular defensive performance through three quarters.

Trailing, 14-0, late in the first half, San Jose State battled back as punt returner Dwight Lowery fielded a punt from Timothy Grasso. Lowery worked his way from the middle of the field down the left sideline and ran untouched 84 yards for the Spartans' first special-teams return TD of the season, cutting the lead in half at 14-7 with 1:21 remaining in the first half.

It did not take long before Lowery struck again.

On the first play of the second half, Brennan tried to hit his receiver on an out pattern to the left side of the field, but Lowery took the ball right out of the hands of the receiver and ran the other way 25 yards to knot the score at 14-14.

"He's a real playmaker and he has been since he's been here," Spartans coach Dick Tomey said. "His two plays got us back in the game when we really weren't doing anything offensively. He got us in the game and he got our team ignited and he's been doing that since he got here. There were a lot of guys who played really well."

"Definitely, Dwight single-handedly brought us back in the game," Tafralis said. "I wasn't doing anything on offense (in the first half). None of us were. There was not a whole lot going on. He brought us into it."

Hawaii, which extended its school record by winning a seventh straight road game, has won its first seven games for the first time since 1981.