The night and some breaks eventually go to the Warriors

Nov. 20 — One of the few times this season, Hawaii was the team that was better prepared to compete — on the opening strike, after halftime and at other points in the game when it mattered most.

When the ball fell off the tee before the opening kickoff, announcer Billy V called for a “replay.”

At the time, it seemed like a good idea for the University of Hawaii’s entire football season—or, since UH’s record was 2-9, perhaps a “let’s pretend it never happened” was more appropriate.

But the tables finally turned on Saturday at the Ching Complex and seniors’ night belonged to the Rainbow Warriors.

Yes, there were a few anxious moments towards the end. But for the most part, coach Timmy Chang’s team did the things a college football team needs to do in their freshman year to win their 31-25 win over UNLV.

One of the few times this season, Hawaii was the team better prepared to compete — on the opener, after halftime and at other points in the game when it counted.

The Warriors contained the Rebels’ most ominous offensive threat, limiting stud running back Aidan Robbins to 72 yards on 17 carries.

UH identified and exploited UNLV’s defense vulnerability. The Hawaii receivers were open all night and Brayden Schager passed for three touchdowns.

Hawaii scored TDs while their opponents had to settle for field goals. And as long as seven is more than three, that’s a good winning formula.

UH came up with the big turnover – and used it to convert it into much-needed insurance points. – RELATED: – PHOTOS:

The rebels often looked unmotivated. But at 4-6 with two games remaining, they were playing for possible survival of the bowl.

“Fun read, UNLV babies whining on Twitter about not being bowl eligible,” wrote my old Chicago college roommate Neal Steinken, who over the years became a UH football fan due to insomnia. “No one cares, bruh, that you don’t go to the Belk Squeegee Bowl.”

There will be no bowl game for Hawaii this year. Teams with three or four wins do not have to apply. Not even UH athletic director David Matlin can pull that off — and he used to officiate the Hawaii Bowl and is a magician at sneaking teams with losing records under the ropes.

UH also have W’s against Duquesne and Nevada this season. But if you can only win one game, the last home game is what you want.

Because people remember how you walk.

That’s not meant as a shot at the nearly two dozen players who beamed through the portal to explore strange new worlds last year, but rather as a compliment to the seniors who stayed close by.

“I’m very glad I stayed,” said senior receiver Zion Bowens, who was clutching the Island Showdown Trophy as tightly as Schager’s 55-yard touchdown pass that gave Hawaii the lead it needed late in the third Quarter would keep.

“I wouldn’t want to do it anywhere else.”

Yes, Hawaii took some breaks on Saturday.

There was the holding call on an UNLV touchdown pass.

There was this beautiful carom pass into the hands of UH linebacker Logan Taylor.

There was UNLV’s Daniel Gutierrez’s failed 44-yard field goal attempt – his first miss of the season.

And there was this sudden downpour that only seemed to affect the visitors.

In a season where the Warriors have endured more than their share of bad breaks, you can blame what’s going around…

“That’s how it happens,” Chang said. “You lick it… and then it feels good to be on the other side.”

Now, UH just needs to bottle the magic and get it through the TSA. A season-ending win over their former teammate, quarterback Chevan Cordeiro, and his new teammates at San Jose State would be almost as sweet as a night win for the seniors.