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Kevin O'Connell Shines in Hula Bowl

Kevin O'Connell
Kevin O'Connell

Jan. 12, 2008

HONOLULU (AP) - With only a few days of preparation for the Hula Bowl, the Aina team had a simple game plan.

Marshall's Bernard Morris threw for 172 yards and a touchdown in the first half to lead the Aina to a 38-7 victory over the Kai in the Hula Bowl on Saturday.

"We just came out here to have fun and throw the ball around a little bit. And that's what we did," said Morris, who finished 11-of-22 and sat out most of the second half.

New Hampshire's Ricky Santos was 10-of-16 for 169 yards, and Tulsa's Paul Smith had 47 yards passing and ran for two short TDs for the Aina (East), which racked up 527 yards of total offense.

Aina's defense also stepped up, setting the tone in the lopsided all-star game. Aina held Kai (West) to 240 yards, including just 35 yards rushing, and forced six turnovers that led to 28 points.

Toledo's Jalen Parmele and Navy's Reggie Campbell each had a 1-yard TD runs in the fourth quarter for Aina. Parmele was the game's leading rusher with 46 yards.

The Aina took control early, forcing three turnovers and recording three sacks in the first half, including two by Cincinnati's Angelo Craig.

"We just tried to come out and show everyone what East Coast football is all about and I think we did that," he said.

Angelo now has his sights on the NFL and vows to return to Aloha Stadium one day.

"I'm coming back but next time it will be in a pro uniform," he said.

Fellow Bearcat Haruki Nakamura intercepted a long pass attempt by Washington State's Alex Brink that led to Morris' 3-yard TD pass to Bruce Hocker that made it 21-0 just before halftime.

Nakamura earlier recovered a fumble by Marcus Thomas near midfield. Six plays later, Smith scored on a 1-yard plunge.

Smith also scored on a 6-yard run to put Aina up 14-0 seconds after Tennessee's J.T. Mapu, who starred at nearby Kahuku High School, stripped Stanford's T.C. Ostrander.

"I thought we would win, but I was surprised that it was by that much," Mapu said. "We just did a good job on both sides of the ball."

Ostrander had a game he wishes the NFL scouts would soon forget. He was 1-of-7 for 6 yards.

San Diego State's Kevin O'Connell was one of the only bright spots for the Kai. He was 11-of-21 for 147 yards. California's Robert Jordan had four catches for 84 yards.

O'Connell was joined on the Kai squad by fellow Aztecs Nick Osborn and Will Robinson.

The Kai avoided a shutout when O'Connell connected with Jordan on a 15-yard TD pass play on fourth-and-long to cut the Aina's lead to 24-7 late in the third quarter.

O'Connell found the Hawaii connection on the 12-play, 79-yard scoring drive. He completed passes of 17 and 10 yards to Jason Rivers and a 15-yarder to C.J. Hawthorne.

Arthur Carmody's 38-yard field goal gave the Aina a 24-0 lead to start the second half. He missed a 32-yarder earlier in the game.

"They just played aggressive and they flew around the ball," said Amir Pinnix, who had four carries for 9 yards for the Kai. "I tip my hat to them because they are all-stars and they got some pretty good players over there."

The Aina was coached by Illinois' Ron Zook and Boston College's Jeff Zagodzinski. The Kai was led by UNLV's Mike Sanford and Oregon State's Mike Riley.

"The players were a joy to work with," Zook said. "They are good guys who wanted to help each other and they absolutely came together."