ON THIS DATE IN 1983: Niko Noga helps stop Randall Cunningham

Niko Noga, shown here in 1980, played eight seasons in the NFL.

On this date in 1983, Dick Tomey broke the biggest slump of his career by siccing Niko Noga on Randall Cunningham in a battle of future NFL players.

Noga started at nose tackle after playing previously as a linebacker, and Hawaii beat UNLV 23-0 at the Silver Bowl. Noga was named the WAC Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts, which included six tackles, two assists and two fumble recoveries. Rich Miano forced one of those fumbles with a hit on UNLV quarterback and future NFL gamechanger Randall Cunningham. Cunningham finished 17-39 for 205 yards and an interception. More importantly, Hawaii’s heat limited him to five carries for negative 10 yards.

Cunningham never beat Hawaii in his college career, falling to the Rainbows at Aloha Stadium the next year when Kurt Kafentzis picked him off twice in the fourth quarter of a 16-12 victory. All told, Cunningham was 36-for-76 with a touchdown and five interceptions against Tomey’s defense. He had eight carries for just 13 yards.

Hawaii had lost three straight games before the UNLV beatdown, the first time in Tomey’s seven seasons that had happened.


  1. H-Man October 16, 2020 10:24 am

    I attended this game. UH dominated, not just on the field, but the fan ratio must have been 6 to 1 in Hawaii’s favor. The pregame activities in the parking lot exceeded my expectations. Bentos were delivered to all UH fans. Great time, except I lost in the casino.

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