Hawaii linebacker Benetton Fonua made three tackles in the Rainbow Warriors' 28-20 win over Colorado Thursday night. But it was after a whistle that Fonua made his biggest contribution to the win, and it came by accident.
As Colorado drove deep into Hawaii territory in the closing minute, looking for a touchdown and a game-tying two-point conversion, the Buffaloes completed a pass to the Hawaii 7-yard line with 14 seconds left. Officials were slow in getting the ball spotted, however, and when the umpire tossed the ball to another official to get the ball spotted, Fonua was coming across the line of scrimmage to get set, and inadvertently walked in the path of the pitch. The ball bounced away, which allowed time to expire.
"I'll have to look at it on film before I say anything about it," said Colorado coach Mike MacIntyre, via buffstampede.com. "... (It looked like) the referee grabbed the ball, and then their guy grabbed the ball, so we couldn't ever spike it. That's what it looked like to me, but I'll find out when I watch the film."
Colorado had all sorts of miscues that contributed more to the loss, including three turnovers and a blocked punt that set up Hawaii's first score. It was a tough way to have time expire, but if a team needs perfect execution from officials to have a chance to tie a game on the final play, the real problem is its own execution.