Hawaii Football Throwbacks: Army West Point

Defensive end Travis LaBoy closed in on Army quarterback Zac Dahman at Aloha Stadium on Nov. 22, 2003. / Star-Advertiser file photo by Richard Walker

There’s a limited selection of games from which to pull in the Hawaii-Army all-time series.

Just four, in fact, and all of them of fairly recent vintage. Last year, we looked at the Greg McMackin-era road win at West Point on a Scott Enos field goal.

But this time the Rainbow Warriors get the Black Knights at home … so we’re looking back at the first date between the teams, at Aloha Stadium, on Nov. 22, 2003.

The significance of that one? The 59-28 win over the winless service academy clinched a berth in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl for the second time in two years since the bowl’s creation.

UH, in improving to 7-4 overall, put aside the previous week’s 24-14 loss at Nevada, which effectively knocked June Jones’ squad out of the WAC title race. An Aloha Stadium crowd of 35,370 was on hand to see it happen.

The Warriors put up a school-record 741 yards of offense (breaking the previous mark of 674 at Nevada), with 543 coming through the air in the run-and-shoot attack keyed by Timmy Chang and his backup Jason Whieldon. Slotback Chad Owens broke his own UH record for catches, snaring 14 for 168 yards and a touchdown. Running back John West scored three second-half touchdowns in relief of an inactive West Keliā€˜ikipi.

The offensive line did not allow a sack and the defense held Army’s option attack to 35 rushing yards. The Knights turned it over four times.

“We just tried to step up and play well so we could play in that extra game,” freshman O-lineman Samson Satele told the Honolulu Star-Bulletin’s Dave Reardon. “The seniors wanted us young men to step up, because they want that one more game.”

That they did. It was 31-0 before the Knights scored, and a 24-point game at the half. Cornerback Kelvin Millhouse ran an errant pass back for a score.

It was an uneven performance by Chang, despite some gaudy numbers (25-for-43, 356 yards, two TDs). He was picked off three times in the first half, including one ran back for a 79-yard pick-six by Army’s Brian Hill. Whieldon went 16-for-17 in relief from the third quarter on, setting the stage for his reserve appearance the next week against Alabama and leading the Warriors to a 37-29 win over the Crimson Tide. He went incomplete on his first ball then completed 16 straight.

As for special teams, Nolan Miranda made his first appearance in place of a benched Justin Ayat, who’d struggled the previous week. Miranda went 8-for-8 on extra points and 1-for-1 on field goals.

Army’s Carlton Jones scored three rushing touchdowns in the second half, like West. But the issue had been long decided and the Knights dropped to 0-12.

An underrated highlight? In the third quarter, a caped fan streaked from one end zone to the other without being caught by security, then leaped over the fence of the lower bowl (he was eventually arrested).

UH concluded the season at 9-5 (5-3 WAC) with a triple-overtime 54-48 victory over Houston in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, a game marred by a brawl between the teams at its conclusion.

Army finished the year at 0-13, setting a new NCAA record for futility. The Knights ended it with a 34-6 loss in the all-important Army/Navy Game. The academy was coached by interim head man John Mumford, who replaced Todd Berry at midseason.

“It’s like going up against a two-minute offense every play,” Mumford said of UH.

Coach June Jones and athletic director Herman Frazier accepted a Christmas Day Hawaii Bowl bid from Jim Donovan and Hugh Yoshida following Hawaii’s win over Army on Nov. 22, 2003. / Star-Advertiser file photo by George F. Lee

From the next day’s newspapers:
Honolulu Advertiser
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Honolulu Star-Bulletin
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