Logan • Saturday morning was a quiet one for Hawaii. For once, the coaching staff let the Rainbow Warriors sleep in.
The rest was necessary for a team that had to endure a 10-hour flight delay, a late-night bus ride and an arrival in Logan at 2:30 a.m. the morning of the game.
The Rainbow Warriors’ travel plans were interrupted by the Friday morning shooting at Los Angeles International Airport, pushing back their chartered flight to Utah. Instead of an early afternoon arrival, Hawaii was stuck in an L.A. hotel, waiting out the LAX lockdown, Hawaii spokesman Derek Inouchi said.
The team made the most of their downtime, conducting an equipment-less walkthrough in the hotel parking lot. But Saturday morning, Inouchi said, the Rainbow Warriors simply ate and went right to Romney Stadium, skipping morning meetings to catch up on rest.
Coach Norm Chow downplayed any effect fatigue played in the game.
"No excuses," he said. "We got beat by a better football team."
Tight end Wyatt Houston will likely never forget Saturday’s game after getting his first touchdown catch.
In the fourth quarter, Houston crept behind the secondary. Fellow freshman Darell Garretson, Houston’s roommate, spotted him and threw a strike. Houston caught the pass and rumbled to the end zone for a 44-yard score.
"I was looking, I was peeking, and you can kind of hear the crowd roaring because you can tell someone’s open," Garretson said. "I was kind of surprised how wide-open he was. It was a little bit of an awkward throw, and he had to wait for it a while."
The Utah State rookie caught the first touchdown by a freshman this year. His family members — including his father, older brother and grandparents — were on hand to watch his highlight-reel moment.
Perfect game for kicking unit
The Aggies’ special teams had come under fire in recent weeks, as the team had a field goal blocked in each of their last three games.
There wasn’t much to pick at Saturday afternoon. Nick Diaz was a perfect 3 for 3 on his field goals and didn’t miss an extra point. Freshman Jake Thompson booted several touchbacks on kickoffs, but his highlight was a 52-yard field goal that was the first of his college career.
"Both Nick and Jake deserve a lot of credit," coach Matt Wells said. "Everybody knows I get upset when we don’t score touchdowns in the red zone. That didn’t happen very often today, but I’m really proud of that unit. They’ve had a lot of scrutiny over the last weeks internally by us as coaches."
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