HONOLULU — Hawaii head coach Nick Rolovich was the program’s quarterback 16 years ago.
In his final game, against an undefeated BYU team on Dec. 8, 2001, the Rainbow Warriors recorded one of their most memorable victories.
Rolovich completed 29 of 53 passes for 543 yards and eight touchdowns as Hawaii crushed the Cougars 72-45.
It was the most points ever scored by the Rainbow Warriors and the most ever surrendered by BYU, which entered the game with a 12-0 record and a No. 9 ranking.
“I remember it being a really enjoyable game to be a part of,” Rolovich recalled this week. “Some things that get lost in that game is how productive the BYU offense was. I think there were nine fumbles and we recovered six of them.”
Rolovich also remembers a goal-line stand when Hawaii stopped Cougar quarterback Brandon Doman near the end zone just before intermission.
“We went into the half without letting them score. That was a big momentum change,” Rolovich said. “The best memory was watching Chad Owens return two early kicks for touchdowns that really got us jumpstarted and energized the crowd.”
Hawaii finished the season with a 9-3 record but was not invited to a bowl game.
PRAISE FOR CAHOON: The main reason why Hawaii wide receiver Dylan Collie transferred from BYU a few of years ago was due to some coaching changes in Provo, including wide receivers coach Ben Cahoon being let go.
Collie admires Cahoon, the former Canadian Football League star, and his knowledge about playing the receiver position. It was among the reasons why Collie originally signed with the Cougars.
“I had the opportunity to be around Coach Cahoon when he would come down for the offseason and I watched how he worked, preparing for the season,” Collie said. “Seeing his success and his understanding of the position, it was a match made in heaven. I still to this day love and appreciate Coach Cahoon and everything he did for me, especially in high school. He’ll always be an example to me.”
A few years after Cahoon was let go, he returned to the staff when Kalani Sitake was hired as head coach.
“I wouldn’t call it a coincidence,” Collie said.
Meanwhile, Collie loves his current wide receivers coach, Kefense Hynson.
“This coaching staff here at Hawaii has brought me a lot of knowledge about the game," Collie said. “Coach Hynson could be the best receivers coach in the nation.”
RETURN TO HAWAII: BYU left tackle Thomas Shoaf served in the Hawaii Honolulu Mission a couple of years ago. This week he returned to the islands for the first time since he finished his mission.
Shoaf spent 18 months on Oahu but he also spent time on the island of Molokai.
“Molokai’s a very unique island, very different from the typical missionary opportunities,” Shoaf said. “We drove a Silverado and we did a lot of service helping out the homestead land. A lot of very low-income families. It was a great opportunity to serve. It’s small community and it was cool to see how they take care of each other.”