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Volume 6, Issue 2                                    University of Houston

Chest-thumping leads to post-game brawl, casts negative light on bowl

By Keenan Singleton
Breaking News

Melee Kalikimaka!

Moments after losing to Hawaii 54-48 in the Hawaii Bowl on Thursday, a nasty brawl between the two teams broke out, creating a black cloud over an otherwise clear night.

Beauty fades so easily.

This story should have been about a great game, played by two teams nestled in paradise on a national stage.

But instead, it's about the ugliness of bravado and unsightliness of loss.

You didn't have to be Nostradamus to predict that some kind of altercation was going to occur. It was obvious from the outset that these two teams did not like each other. Hits were late. The talking between the teams featured a lot of "F-words," and those weren't about family, friends or fellowship.

After UH's last-ditch chance at tying the game in the third overtime failed, the Hawaii players rushed the field to the applause of the Warrior fans at Aloha Stadium, pumping fists.

But these fist pumps weren't directed to the sky, but rather at UH players and coaches.

The Cougars weren't innocent though. Whether it was in self-defense or backing up teammates, Cougar players threw just as many blows as Hawaii did.

It should have been a hard fought game, not a hard-fought fight.

"From what I could see, one of our guys got hit and the other guys began to take up for him," Athletics Director Dave Maggard said. "When we went onto the middle, our guys starting backing up, I saw guys on the other side take their helmets off and start swinging. Every time we'd get it broken up, they'd come around the backside. As far as I'm concerned we tried to defend ourselves. It was too bad.

"It was a great game, it doesn't dampen our season. We had a great season and these guys did a great job, it was an unfortunate thing, it was a hard fought game and that's where it should have stayed."

But it didn't. It spilled over from the field to the millions of television sets across the globe, casting a negative pall over the game and these two programs.

"It was a very emotional game. Anytime you have guys playing with their hearts and playing hard, sometimes things will get out of hand," senior center Rex Hadnot said. "We could have handled ourselves a little better, but the way they celebrated the win was a little over the edge. (Hawaii) ran on the field and pumped chests -- anything can happen when emotions run wild."

"We're going to look at what got it going and who kept it going," head coach Art Briles said. "It was a pretty dramatic ending, we're down and the other team was up, things happen. That's why you get off the field and mind your own business."

When asked if any disciplinary action would be levied, Briles said it was just the guys looking out for one another and doubted any players would be punished.
 

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