Hawaii lands three on all-WAC first team
By Fred Guzman
Three UH players – slotback Greg Salas, safety Mana Silva and linebacker Corey Paredes – received first-team honors, and another seven – including defensive tackle Kaniela Tuipulotu of Lahaina – were named to the second team.
Although he ranks first nationally in passing yardage, Hawaii’s Bryant Moniz was a second-team pick behind another pair of exceptional quarterbacks. Boise State’s Kellen Moore and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick shared offensive player of the year honors.
Other UH players named to the second team were: slotback Kealoha Pilares, running back Alex Green, offensive linemen Kupepa Letuli and Adrian Thomas, and kicker Scott Enors.
But the biggest slight came in the Coach of the Year voting. Although guiding his team to unexpected success after being picked to finish seventh in pre-season polls, Greg McMackin was snubbed.
The honor instead was accorded to Nevada’s Chris Ault, although his team was projected to finish second, behind Boise State, in the pre-season polls.
HAWAII BOWL: When Hawaii and Tulsa square off on Christmas Eve at Aloha Stadium, fans should be treated to plenty of fireworks. That’s because this year’s Hawaii Bowl matchup will feature two of the most productive offenses in the NCAA, combining for nearly 78 points per game.
Hawaii has the nation’s top passing offense with an average of nearly 385 yards per game while ranking 10th in total offense at 487.8 and 12th in scoring at 38.3. That explosive unit and a dramatically improved defensive group enabled UH to win nine of its last 10 outings.
The Golden Hurricane, meantime, ranks fifth in total offense with 503.5 yards and ninth in scoring with 39.6 points. Tulsa compiled a 9-3 record, finishing second in Conference-USA’s Western Division.
Hawaii’s prowess was on display in Saturday’s 59-23 rout of over-matched Nevada-Las Vegas as Moniz threw for four touchdowns and ran for two more. Moniz is tied for the national lead in touchdown passes with 36.
His top two targets – Greg Salas and Kealoha Pilares – are among the leading receivers in the country. Salas is first in reception yardage and second in total catches. Pilares is third in TD catches. Green is the national leader in yard per carry with 8.78.