In years when Hawaii plays in the Hawaii Bowl less than a month later, Senior Night is less meaningful than seasons like this one when the last regular-season game is the final chance for the fans at Aloha Stadium to see the Warriors play.
So tonight’s game against South Alabama is more significant in that sense. And that’s also one of the reasons 2001 is top of my list of UH’s best senior sendoffs.
There was no bowl game after UH’s 72-45 domination of BYU. The Warriors finished 9-3, but with no postseason game to go to. It helped spawn the Hawaii Bowl.
You knew it was over at halftime when Pisa Tinoisamoa crushed BYU quarterback Brandon Doman at the goal line and the Warriors went in leading 31-10. Freshman Chad Owens made sure the seniors went out with a win, returning both a punt and a kickoff for touchdowns — in the first quarter.
Nick Rolovich, with eight touchdown passes, turned in the greatest aloha performance by a UH player ever. And who could forget Craig Stutzmann punting the ball into the stands after his touchdown catch; add the ensuing ejection and it was a unique final-game departure.