Brennan hopes to redeem himself as No. 16 Hawaii hosts Utah State

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By JAYMES SONG AP Sports Writer

HONOLULU (AP) -- It's Hawaii 5-0. But even McGarrett and Dano would be hard pressed to find a way for Utah State to upset the 16th-ranked Warriors on Saturday night.

Hawaii (5-0, 2-0 Western Athletic Conference) enters the game as a 39-point favorite and with its highest ranking in school history. The 1981 team, which started 7-0, only made it to No. 18.

The young and hungry Aggies (0-5, 0-1) have lost 11 straight games, the second longest streak in the nation. They haven't tasted victory in a year or a road win since 2005.

Utah State is also 1-42 against ranked teams.

But Hawaii, winner of nine straight WAC games, isn't taking the Aggies lightly as it continues its quest for an undefeated season and a BCS bid.

"Hopefully our guys realize what's at stake. We can't have one slip up," Hawaii coach June Jones said.

Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan, still recovering from an injured right ankle, is looking to redeem himself after tying a school record with five interceptions in last week's 48-20 victory at Idaho.

"Thank God, I have seven or eight games left this year to make everybody forget about that game," he said.

Brennan, one of the most accurate passers in college football history, had only one interception on the season and never in his career threw more than two interceptions in a game, prior to last week.

"I know five interceptions does a lot of negative toward me, but when you look at the bigger picture, I'm glad it happened," he said. "It was a fluke I had that type of day out there but it finally took the spotlight off of me and put it where it belongs, on the team."

With Brennan not at his best, Hawaii's aggressive defense shone, forcing six turnovers and scoring two touchdowns against the Vandals. Brennan said winning handily on the road despite his struggles proves how good the Warriors really are.

"It's funny, because for once, it seems the defense is what's really the stronghold on this team," he said.

Hawaii's defense is ranked 25th in the nation, allowing 18.8 points a game.

Jones earlier this week said this was the best defensive team he's had in his nine seasons at Hawaii.

Utah State coach Brent Guy called Hawaii very athletic and noted that the Warriors average more than 60 points at Aloha Stadium, compared to 47 on the road.

"That's the thing that scares me the most about going and playing this football game, is the potential that their offense has," he said.

Guy said he hopes to force Brennan into committing turnovers like Idaho did.

"It's going to be fun. Hopefully we can put up a lot of points, just like they do," he said. "If not, it will probably won't be in our favor."

The Aggies will have trouble keeping pace with Hawaii, which ranks second in the nation in scoring and passing. Utah State averages just 15 points and 239 total yards a game.

Hawaii has won the last two meetings against Utah State by a combined score of 113-33. Last year in Logan, the Warriors won 63-10 as the Aggies were unable to slow down Brennan, who threw for 413 yards and six touchdowns in three quarters.

"I haven't really given too much thought into what happened last year. I just know last year we lost," Guy said. "I'm going into this year like it's a whole new game and start from there."

Brennan, who was limping slightly in practice this week, said his ankle feels better than last week. He has thrown for 1,631 yards and 15 TDs in four games this season.

"It's just tough because you practice on it every day. You play on it on Saturday, so you don't really give it a chance to heal fully. So it just seems like I'm battling it," he said. "Saturday, with game-day adrenaline, that's when it usually feels the best."

Jason Rivers, one of Hawaii's talented receivers, is expected to start. He's been sidelined for most of the last two games with a sore lower back.

Guy is also starting to feel a little pain -- from all the compiling losses.

"It's starting to get to me a little bit, but I can't focus on that," he said. "I've got to focus on a new game every time ... I've just got to realize that a new game is a new game and hopefully I can do something better this time so that we can get a win."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-10-05-07 1313MDT

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