HONOLULU (AP) -- Alabama put the clamps on Hawaii's high-powered
The Crimson Tide (No. 14 AP) forced a fumble and four interceptions
in its 21-16 victory over the Warriors (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today) on Saturday night.
"Defensively, we had an outstanding day,'' Alabama coach Dennis Franchione said.
Shaud Williams ran for 160 yards and a touchdown as Alabama
(10-3) extended its NCAA record of 10-win seasons to 27.
"We've had a great year, we accomplished a lot of the goals we set out to do,'' Franchione said. "Under the circumstances they were placed under, to respond week in and week out like they have is really magnificent and a really special thing.''
Alabama (10-3) grounded the nation's top passing team in Hawaii (9-3), forcing quarterback Timmy Chang into four interceptions. The Tide also held the Warriors to the lowest point total for the season. Hawaii averages 37.9 points a game.
The Crimson Tide also kept the Warriors' offense off the field
with time-consuming drives. Alabama had the ball for 38:55.
The victory snapped the Hawaii Bowl-bound Warriors' six-game
winning streak and improved Franchione to 6-0 against Hawaii. He
beat the Warriors three times at New Mexico and twice at Texas Christian.
"It was really a hard-fought win,'' Franchione said. "Hawaii's
got an outstanding team.''
Hawaii made it close in the final quarter, scoring twice to make
it a five-point game, but a final attempt at an onside kick with
1:55 left drifted out of bounds.
"We just ran out of time,'' said Chang, hampered by injuries to
his knee and thumb.
The Warriors, who came into the game third in the nation in
total offense with 503.6 yards a game, sputtered in the first half,
turning the ball over four times. The first came when Chad Owens
fumbled on the opening kickoff return after a 50-yard return.
"Alabama is a good football team,'' Hawaii coach June Jones said. "I thought our guys hung in there and played their hearts out, but we didn't have enough tonight.''
The first score came after Jones gambled and lost, while Franchione gambled and won.
After the Warriors' failed on a fake punt attempt deep in their own territory, the Crimson Tide successfully executed a fake field goal that led to a 1-yard TD run by Williams that made it 7-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Owens returned it 62 yards to the Alabama 31. But Chang's pass was intercepted on the first play by Waine Bacon, who returned it to 31 yards to set up Alabama's second score.
"They're pretty much a one-dimensional team,'' Bacon said. "If they ran the ball more, they would be tough to stop.''
Hudson broke a tackle at the line and ran 13 yards to give Alabama a 14-0 lead, drawing a roar from the vocal 8,000-plus Crimson-clad Alabama fans. The fans were spread throughout Aloha Stadium, chanting "Roll Tide!'' throughout the game.
Alabama also failed to take advantage of two Hawaii turnovers in
the first quarter. Robinson missed field goals of 37 and 39 yards
on Alabama's first two possessions.
The Tide made it 21-3 early in the fourth quarter, with Tyler
Watts hooking up with Sam Collins on a 26-yard scoring pass.
That's when Hawaii started its comeback effort. Chang, who finished 26-of-54 for 372 yards, hit Jeremiah Cockheran on a 70-yard play to cap a 97-yard march. Two series later, Chang passed 20 yards to Chad Owens to make it 21-16.
Hawaii receivers dropped eight passes during the game.
"I'm proud,'' Jones said. "There's no solace in losing, but we had our chances. I thought we made too many mistakes against a good football team.''
Cockheran caught nine passes for 207 yards for Hawaii, and
Santonio Beard handled most of Alabama's ground game in the first
half, finishing with 86 yards on 16 carries.
The game was the first meeting between the schools. Alabama did play in Honolulu in the 1985 Aloha Bowl, beating Southern California 24-3.
Security was visibly stepped up for the game in the wake of last
week's postgame brawl between Hawaii and Cincinnati players. There
were police SWAT team members as well as state sheriffs at the game.