Brennan Bruised, Battered As Prolific Career Comes To End
Warriors offense grounded by the blitzing Bulldogs
Jan. 2, 2008
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Colt Brennan grimaced in pain near the edge of Hawaii's end zone, staring into the glaring lights of the Louisiana Superdome with his ears ringing from the defeaning roar from the jubilant Georgia fans behind him.
Brennan had taken a jarring hit by Marcus Howard and fumbled for the second time, leading to Georgia's fourth touchdown in the Bulldogs' 41-10 win over the Warriors in the Sugar Bowl on Tuesday night.
"You know what? I took one right in the mouth today," Brennan said. "Luckily, there's always tomorrow and in the days to come, to get some more redemption."
After a three-year storybook run at Hawaii, where he had fully taken advantage of his second chance at football and life, Brennan's record-breaking career came to a merciful and tearful ending.
"Tonight just wasn't our night. It just wasn't meant to be," he said. "I'm just extremely disappointed that I had to end my career this way."
Throughout the game, Brennan shook his head, threw his arms up in dispair and pointed to his receivers where he thought they should be.
Hawaii's high-flying offense, which averaged 529.2 yards and a nation-leading 46.2 points, had been grounded by the blitzing Bulldogs.
"We got here and we tried as hard as we could to keep it as normal as we're used to, but it just seemed like we weren't used to this kind of venue," Brennan said. "We weren't used to the crowd noise. We couldn't get our audibles."
With 131 passing TDs, no one had found the end zone more in college football history than Brennan. It's one of the 29 NCAA records he owns.
However, he failed to throw a single touchdown against the Bulldogs. He was blanked for the first time in his career in a game he played for more than a couple of snaps.
Brennan even had a touchdown pass in his first college game against two-time defending champion Southern California led by Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush.
On the biggest stage on his career, Brennan knew this was his chance to silence all of his critics and prove he can play with the best.
Instead, all he ended up hearing was the echoing chant of "overrated" from Georgia fans.
Brennan said he expects to face more skeptics and critics.
It wasn't all his fault. His usually sure-handed receivers dropped a few passes and his offensive line was dominated.
Brennan was battered and dazed. He was sacked a career-high eight times and knocked down at least a dozen more.
"It was the fastest team I've probably ever seen," he said. "We just couldn't get into our groove and do what we wanted to do."
The Bulldogs turned the Warriors' star into a dink-and-dump passer.
Brennan was 22-of-38 for 169 yards, intercepted three times and lost two fumbles.
Warriors coach June Jones has repeatedly said Brennan is the best player in college football. On this night, Brennan wasn't even the best inside the Superdome.
Brennan put his hands on his hips and slowly walked to the sideline after throwing an errant pass and failing to convert another third-down attempt in the second half. Offensive lineman Keoni Steinoff wrapped his huge left arm around Brennan's waist, consoling the dejected quarterback.
Brennan's career officially came to an end with 14:32 left when he was sacked for the eighth time. Despite telling trainers he was fine after being sacked, he was led off the field and replaced by backup Tyler Graunke.