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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

UNLV lineman Taumua breaks through in upset

Malo Taumua UNLV Defensive Lineman

He pushed past a lineman and with one outstretched arm Malo Taumua blocked a field-goal attempt in overtime and led the UNLV Rebels to an unlikely upset of then-No. 15 Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., this past weekend.

"It was the best feeling I've ever had," the sophomore defensive lineman out of 'Aiea said. "Knowing we came back from 10 points down and beat the No. 15 team in the nation, it was awesome."

But in his life, he's gotten past much larger obstacles than an offensive line.

Taumua, a 2005 'Aiea High graduate, had a mild form of leukemia when he was 4 years old. With the resiliency of a young child, Taumua doesn't even remember what would be one of the most traumatic experiences in his father's life.

"I slept in the hospital so many nights," Malo Sr. said. "And he doesn't remember. I told him you only remember what you want to."

Taumua was named the Mountain West Conference Co-Special Teams Player of the Week after his block of a 35-yard field-goal attempt sealed UNLV's 23-20 overtime win at Arizona State.

"I went to check my e-mail, and when I went on UNLV Rebels, it was my picture right there, and I was like, 'Wow,' " Taumua said.

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