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Rolovich says ailing Warriors were simply ‘out-physicaled’

Updated: 
October 31, 2017 - 12:05am

For Hawaii football coach Nick Rolovich, it was an uneasy Sunday mourning.

Rolovich’s video review upheld the original ruling. The Rainbow Warriors were not very good offensively in a 28-7 loss to San Diego State on Saturday night at Aloha Stadium.

The Warriors’ 195 yards were the fewest in Rolovich’s 127 games as a full-time coach. The per-play average of 3.48 was the fourth lowest of his coaching career.

“There were some communication issues,” Rolovich said. “But for the most part, we were ‘out-physicaled’ up front. I thought we were ‘out-physicaled’ in the run game.”

The Warriors entered averaging 219.1 rushing yards per game. Against San Diego State, they gained 35 yards on 23 attempts, although three sacks contributed to 13 negative yards. Diocemy Saint Juste finished with 40 yards on 17 carries, an average of 2.4 yards a pop.

“It got tougher and tougher as we lost offensive linemen,” Rolovich said.

Three starters — center Asotui Eli and guards J.R. Hensley and John Wa’a — exited with injuries. Wa’a, a fifth-year senior, has been an iron man, not missing a practice or game because of an injury since his sophomore season at Kahuku High.

Chris Posa, who opened the game at right tackle, replaced Hensley at right guard. Matt Norman played right tackle the entire second half. Fred Ulu-Perry replaced Wa’a at left guard.

Taaga Tuulima, a second-year freshman from ‘Iolani School, filled in for Eli at center. Tuulima opened training camp as a defensive lineman before moving to offense.

Rolovich said he does not know the status of the offensive line for Saturday’s road game against UNLV. “It’s going to be interesting moving forward,” Rolovich said.

Dru Brown, who made his 18th consecutive start at quarterback, was 19-for-33 for 160 yards, including a 47-yarder to Isaiah Bernard.

“He missed some throws,” Rolovich said of Brown. “It wasn’t great protection, either.”

The Warriors had difficulty on third down, converting twice in 14 situations. The Warriors needed an average of 8 yards to convert on third down. They averaged 1.9 yards per third-down play.

The Aztecs parlayed UH mistakes into points. On third-and-goal from the 2, defensive end David Manoa tackled quarterback Christian Chapman for a loss. But Manoa inadvertently grabbed Chapman’s face mask, giving the Aztecs a new set of downs at the 1. Two plays later, Juwan Washington scored the game’s first touchdown.

In the second quarter, defensive tackle Viane Moala dropped a sure interception. On the ensuing play, Chapman threw a 16-yard scoring pass.

The Warriors also missed a tackle for a safety. Five plays later, Rashaad Penny raced 63 yards for a touchdown.

“Those are the kinds of plays we have to make,” Rolovich said. “A ton of credit goes to (the Aztecs). We had opportunities, and we didn’t take advantage of them.”

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