Hawaii 36, Tulsa 15

Sunday, October 21st 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Nick Rolovich may be the most prepared second team quarterback in the nation.

Rolovich threw for 324 yards and three touchdowns in Hawaii's 36-15 win Saturday over Tulsa.

It was the third week in a row he filled in for the injured Timmy Chang. Hawaii (4-2, 3-2 Western Athletic Conference) got its third consecutive victory and its first string of three straight conference wins since 1992.

Even with a backup quarterback, the Warriors ranked second nationally in passing coming in.

``I know I'm the second team quarterback, but I have to be ready,'' Rolovich said matter-of-factly afterward.

Coach June Jones said his entire team played well.

``I think this team is really coming together and starting to gel,'' he said. ``The effort is there in all phases of the game.''

Tulsa (1-5, 0-4 WAC) dropped its fifth in a row and hurt its chances of having the first winning season in a decade. TU must win the remaining five to accomplish that, but No. 2 Oklahoma awaits in two weeks.

``We just can't seem to make a play,'' coach Keith Burns said. ``We just can't seem to get a break. We're not getting it done as a staff and a group of guys.''

Tulsa players are frustrated.

``We're probably at one of the last rungs on the ladder,'' defensive end Drew McLaughlin said. ``I don't know what we can do different, except go out and make big plays.''

Rolovich seemed to spread the ball almost at will as the game got going, occasionally spotting receivers all alone in the Tulsa defensive backfield.

He connected with Ashely Lelie for 85 yards and Craig Stuzmann for 77.

Josh Blankenship was 16-of-32 for 121 yards for Tulsa, hitting All-WAC receiver Donald Shoals for 79 yards.

Hawaii led 26-7 at the half. Rolovich threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Lelie and the Warriors went up 33-7. Justin Ayat kicked a 55-yard field goal to end scoring for Hawaii.

Backup quarterback James Kilian ran it from the 2 for Tulsa and Montiese Culton caught the 2-point conversion to finish scoring.

Rolovich had 212 yards in the first half.

Hawaii's Mark Tate took the opening kickoff 80 yards before Sherman Steptoe shoved him out of bounds on the Tulsa 20. But Hawaii had to settle for a 38-yard Ayat field goal.

Shoals grabbed a Blankenship on a 25-yard score and Tulsa led 7-3 at 7:39 in the first quarter.

Thero Mitchell ran in from the 5 for Hawaii and Abraham Elimimian tackled Tulsa punter Casey Lipscomb in the end zone for a safety and Hawaii took a 12-7 lead.

Rolovich amassed 89 passing yards on the next drive, hitting Lelie from 12 yards out for a score. He later connected with Justin Colbert on a 14-yard pass play.