Garrett Gabriel is Centurians #11

About how he has an old videotape of UH’s historic 56-14 win over BYU, Garrett Gabriel said:
“I couldn’t even guess where it is.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Make no mistake, the quarterback who led UH to that triumphant thrashing of BYU in 1989 and a 59-28 thumping the following year has fond memories of those two huge wins. How could he not? Nearly two decades later, people still stop him to reminisce about two of the biggest victories in the history of the program.”

About how people haven’t forgotten about the BYU win, Gabriel said:
“People will come up and say, ‘Hey, thanks for the memories’ or ‘You’re the one who beat BYU.’ And I’m thinking, jeez, it’s been 15, 20 years and these guys remember it so vividly.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Gabriel agrees that Oct. 28, 1989, the night he led UH to its first win over BYU in 15 years, was “probably the best night of (my) career.””

Crediting his teammates for their snapping of BYU’s 10-game winning streak against UH, Gabriel said:
“It wasn’t just me. It was a great team effort, everybody was pretty much on the same page. The defense was great. My offensive line, those guys played great. I think I barely got touched (by the BYU defense) all night.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Gabriel completed 14 of his first 15 passes as UH scored on eight of nine first-half possessions. He ended up connecting on 22 of his 29 passes for 440 yards with four touchdown passes to four different receivers against the shell-shocked Cougars.”

Then-UH head coach Bob Wagner said that the 1989 win over BYU was:
“the most perfect game, execution-wise, that I’ve ever been involved with.” (HSB)

About how he looked forward to big games, Gabriel said:
“In the bigger games I tended to play a little better. That’s all I looked forward to. I liked it that that’s your moment to shine.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “EVEN IN high school, Gabriel seemed to shine brightest when the lights went on. As a senior playing for Pac-Five, he passed for 2,169 yards and 22 touchdowns as the Wolfpack rolled to the 1985 Prep Bowl title.”

HSB Note: “A first-team all-state pick in football and basketball, Gabriel was the most highly touted local recruit coming out of the prep ranks in 1986. Schools like Washington, Northwestern, Colorado State and Montana recruited Gabriel. San Diego State went after him hard. Gabriel’s older brother Darryl, who played college basketball in California after starring at Punahou, tried to convince him to leave Hawaii. But Gabriel had his heart set on playing for the home team.”

About why his brother Garrett wanted to stay home to play for UH, Darryl Gabriel said:
“(Garrett) told me, ‘I want to be the guy that beats BYU,’ and I couldn’t argue with that.” (HSB)

Crediting Paul Johnson for adapting his offense to capitalize on his strengths (he was recruited by UH as a drop-back passer), Gabriel said:
“In (Johnson’s) offense, it was always run to set up the pass. When I came in, he passed to set up the run.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Wagner and Johnson saw that while Gabriel didn’t have a cannon for an arm, he had good size at 6-foot-2, and “he was very accurate and he could read coverage,” Wagner said. By 1989, Gabriel had matured into a capable triggerman for the spread option attack. The ‘Bows put up 60 points or more three times en route to a 5-2 record entering the BYU game.”

About how Garrett dealt with the sharp criticism from the media and “fans” when the team struggled, Darryl said:
“It was either be successful, or put your head between your legs and get out of town. I really believe he felt that kind of pressure.” (HSB)

HSB note: “The Cougars, ranked 18th in both national polls, came into the game with a 5-1 record and were undefeated in the WAC. Quarterback Ty Detmer led the nation in individual total offense and passing efficiency. Leading up to the game, Gabriel, who had thrown two interceptions and lost two fumbles at Fort Collins, had to block out some sharp criticism from media and fans.”

About the criticism he took after the Colorado State loss in the game right before the BYU game in 1989, Gabriel said:
“When you’re being blamed for a loss, it hurts. I used to take a lot of it personally. When you’re quarterback, you get a lot of the credit, but you also take a lot of the blame.” (HSB)

About the 1989 win over BYU, which he said at the time was “the greatest thing since statehood”, broadcast play-by-play man Jim Leahey said:
“I consider it the greatest win in the history of the program. It was a catharsis.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “And at a time when there was no such thing as a hometown Hawaii Bowl among the 18 bowl games, Wagner maintains that the win was crucial to UH securing an invitation to the Aloha Bowl, the program’s first NCAA-sanctioned bowl berth.”

About how beating BYU help them get to UH’s first NCAA-sanctioned bowl game, Wagner said:
“It was a huge milestone. BYU was the standard in our league, and once we beat them — and the way we beat them — it made a huge difference.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “If anything, the BYU rematch seemed even more daunting for a UH team that had struggled to a 6-5 record. BYU, ranked fourth in the nation, came in at 10-1, including a win over Miami (Fla.). The confident Cougars already had clinched the WAC title and a Holiday Bowl berth. Detmer accepted the Heisman in Waikiki on national TV hours before the game.”

About how he expected BYU to have extra motivation for their 1990 game, Gabriel said:
“I was sitting there thinking, ‘Yeah, but they’re coming in pissed off!’ ” (HSB)

HSB Note: “Gabriel’s fears proved to be unfounded. On UH’s first offensive possession, he led an 80-yard scoring drive, hitting slotback Dane McArthur over the middle — “the most perfect pass I ever threw” according to Gabriel — for a 29-yard touchdown to start the offensive fireworks. Gabriel outplayed Detmer again, and his three-touchdown, 359-yard senior night performance earned him CNN Player of the Week honors.”

About the loss in 1990, then-BYU head coach LaVell Edwards said it was:
“a very bitter pill (to swallow), a very tough loss.” (HSB)

HSB Note: “AFTER GRADUATING in 1990, Gabriel went on to earn a master’s degree in educational counseling and recently joined the DOE as a counselor. He and his wife, Dori, have three sons, Garrison, 12, Dillon, 8, and Roman, 3. Gabriel, who coached boys basketball at Maryknoll and Radford and assisted his brother Darryl at Saint Louis, is content these days to coach his older two boys’ basketball and flag football teams.”

About showing his sons the BYU game tape, Gabriel said:
“At first, (Garrison and Dillon) would look at me like, what are they talking about?” (HSB)

About throwing the ball around with his sons, Gabriel said:
“They get excited, but I have to tell ’em, ‘Guys, I’m a little over the hill now.’ (HSB)

Wondering about the stats he could have had in a run-and-shoot offense, Gabriel said:
“Put me in a June Jones offense, and I’d put up some numbers.” (HSB)

Satisfied with how his athletic career ended up, Gabriel said:
“I’ve had a pretty good life athletically. I got to play in big games and play in front of a lot of people. I had fun, and I rarely lost. I can’t complain.” (HSB)

Picking his top 5 UH QBs, Gabriel said about his #1 Michael Carter:
“A real local mentality for a guy who came from Long Beach.” (HSB)

Picking his top 5 UH QBs, Gabriel said about his #2 Dan Robinson:
“To go from 0-11 to 9-4 … he could’ve just folded up his tent, but he was just waiting to get a coach to show what he could do. Real down to earth.” (HSB)

Picking his top 5 UH QBs, Gabriel said about his #3 Colt Brennan:
“Just for his athletic ability. He had basically everything.” (HSB)

Picking his top 5 QBs, Gabriel said about his #4 Raphael Cherry:
“A damn good player. His scrambling ability … just an exciting player to watch.” (HSB)

Picking his top 5 QBs, Gabriel said about his #5 Alex Kaloi:
“He opened the door for local quarterbacks. Having a local boy (at quarterback) started a trend for us local guys to stay home and play for UH.” (HSB)


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