Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Flashback: Brigham Young Cougars 26, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 6 (1985)

The Brigham Young Cougars don't normally play games this late in the year (December 8), except for bowl games. Yet, twenty five years and one day ago, BYU was suiting up to play the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors. A contract with ESPN caused this 1985 game to be rescheduled from September 28 to December 7. If you are going to play in December, you can't ask for a better place to play than sunny Hawaii. It also helped that ESPN was televising the game nationwide.

One player that didn't mind the change in dates was running back Vai Sikahema. Sikahema, a native Tongan, thrived in the island setting. He scored BYU's first points on an 80-yard touchdown pass from Robbie Bosco. Later, in the third quarter, Sikahema scampered 29 yards for another score to help the Cougars pull away. On the day, Vai was responsible for nearly 2/3 of BYU's 430 yards total offense (198 receiving yards on 12 receptions and 86 rushing yards on 11 carries).

Even with Sikahema's spectacular play, it was Mark Bellini who made the play of the day. Robbie Bosco threw the ball to Bellini in the back of the end zone. The Hawaii defender grabbed Bellini's facemask and twisted his head around and pulled Bellini to the turf. As he was falling, Bellini blindly reached one hand out, grabbed Bosco's pass, and pulled it into his body. This touchdown grab gave BYU a 13-6 halftime lead.

While his stats for the game weren't very impressive, Bosco did set three NCAA records during the game.

The BYU defense was able to limit Hawaii to six points (zero in the second half) by recovering four Hawaii fumbles.

With a comfortable 20-6 lead late in the fourth quarter, BYU was trying to run the clock out. For no apparent reason, Hawaii called timeout with seven seconds to play. Tom Tuipulotu took advantage of one final carry by scoring a touchdown.

This win was BYU's 43rd win in the last four years (1982-1985), which tied the school record for success over a four year span (1978-1981).

More flashbacks can be found on the Flashbacks page.

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