Saturday, November 27, 1999

R A I N B O W _ F O O T B A L L

UH Rainbow Football

Still some goals
for Rainbows

They want the record
for the greatest ever NCAA
football turnaround

TCU earns a share of WAC title

By Paul Arnett


For only the third time in school history, tonight's Senior Walk won't be the last steps on the Aloha Stadium dance floor.

No matter how Hawaii fares in the regular-season finale with Washington State, in a month, the Rainbows return for an encore performance against Oregon State in the Oahu Bowl.

In 1989, Hawaii closed out the regular season with a 35-35 finish against the Air Force Academy, before losing to Michigan State, 33-13, in the Aloha Bowl, the Rainbows' first postseason appearance.

Hawaii rallied for a 36-23 win over Pittsburgh before beating Illinois, 27-17, in the 1992 Holiday Bowl. Trailing the Panthers going into the fourth quarter, former offensive coordinator Paul Johnson brought out the stack formation where three wideouts line up in an I. It worked to perfection to give that 11-2 senior class a proper senior walk.



Bullet When: 6:05 p.m., today
Bullet Where: Aloha Stadium
Bullet TV: 9 p.m. on KFVE (delay)
Bullet Radio: Live on KCCN (1420-AM)
Bullet RealAudio: Click here



Bullet Who: Hawaii vs. Oregon State
Bullet When: Dec. 25
Bullet Where: Aloha Stadium
Bullet Tickets: $45 sideline-orange end zone, $30 and $20 end zone. Tickets also good for Jeep Aloha Bowl (teams to be announced). Call 947-4141, 486-9300 or at for tickets.
Bullet Parking: Lot opens at 7:30 a.m.

"We want to go out on a high note and make a little history in the process,'' UH quarterback Dan Robinson said.

He is one of 19 seniors - 11 starters counting punter Chad Shrout - who will take their traditional stroll around the stadium, saying goodbye to the fans. "Fortunately for us, we still have one more game after this one.''

The postseason appearance would be made even sweeter for this senior class if the Rainbows can win tonight and complete the greatest turnaround in NCAA history. That alone speaks volumes for this group, particularly for the half-dozen fifth-year seniors.

To be a part of the greatest turnaround, the previous campaign has to be a dismal one. And that pretty much describes what the 1998 season was like. Hawaii lost all 12 games by an average score of 35-14.

The Rainbows scored 149 points last season. In its current three-game winning streak, Hawaii has scored 141.

"You can't believe the difference in our attitude and how much confidence this coaching staff has given us,'' fifth-year senior tackle Adrian Klemm said. "We never knew what we were going to run last year. Option, pass, whatever. In this offense, you do the same thing every week.''

After last year's season-ending loss to Michigan, Klemm walked off the field and said, "They've been running the same offense all five years those guys are in the program. It makes a big difference.''

You won't get any argument from fellow fifth-year seniors and offensive linemen Andy Phillips and Kaulana Noa. They came in to block for the spread option as freshmen and wound up blocking for the run-and-shoot as seniors.

"We've been through a lot together,'' Phillips said. "We've felt the highest highs and the lowest lows. I wouldn't trade any of it because it makes you appreciate what we've done this year even more.''

The turnaround has been equally dramatic on defense. The Rainbows yielded 191 points and 1,913 yards in their last four defeats of 1998 against San Jose State, Fresno State, Northwestern and Michigan.

Granted, this year's schedule has not been as challenging as 1998's or as difficult as the one Hawaii faces in 2000. But where last year's defense gave up a lot of yards in lopsided losses, this year's group has proved more resilient.

Teams have racked up 106 points and 1,249 yards in the last three games, but Hawaii has found a way to win all three by making big plays on defense when needed most.

"We're mentally tougher than we were a year ago,'' senior middle linebacker Jeff Ulbrich said. Ulbrich, Robinson and fellow senior Dwight Carter have set significant records for the Rainbows this season. "We're kind of banged up right now, but guys are hanging in there together.''

That wasn't happening a year ago. And like Jones on offense, coordinator Greg McMackin has produced part of the magic with his zone-blitz concept. As Washington State head coach Mike Price put it, "What they run isn't revolutionary, but they do a good job with it, and the reason for that is Coach McMackin.''

Ulbrich is quick to agree. All he has done this season is break the single-season school mark with 151 tackles and counting. The previous record of 148 stood for 31 years.

Fellow senior linebacker Yaphet Warren is having a stellar season as well. Plagued by leg injuries for two seasons, Warren is finally at full speed and living up to the potential hung on him by the previous regime.

"My career here has been frustrating and all, but to be a part of what has happened this year makes it worth it,'' said Warren, who second on the team in tackles with 96, including five quarterback sacks. "I know I speak for everybody when I say I can't wait to get my WAC championship ring.''

TCU earns a share
of WAC title

LaDainian Tomlinson clinches the
NCAA Division I rushing title in
the Horned Frogs' win

By Arthur Garcia
Fort Worth Star-Telegram


FORT WORTH, Texas -- If anyone can upstage TCU's record-setting running back LaDainian Tomlinson, it's LaDainian Tomlinson.

Less than a week after smashing the major college single-game rushing record with 406 yards, Tomlinson nailed down the Division I rushing title in yesterday's 21-0 shutout of rival SMU at Amon Carter Stadium. The victory also gave the Horned Frogs their first Western Athletic Conference championship -- they're sharing it with Fresno State and Hawaii -- and a 7-4 record heading into the Mobile Alabama Bowl against East Carolina Dec. 22.

Tomlinson gained 125 yards on 32 carries to finish the regular season with a school-record 1,850 yards and become the first Horned Frog running back to win the national rushing crown. Wisconsin's Ron Dayne, the favorite to win the Heisman Trophy, finished second with 1,834 yards.

Tomlinson's heroics had Frogs' fans, for the second consecutive week, staying long after the final gun chanting "L. T., L. T." and basking in another historic day of TCU football.

"The last two weeks have been unbelievable for this whole team," Tomlinson said. "It's brought a lot of attention to TCU and a lot of people around the nation know we're doing something special in Forth Worth. Hopefully there'll be more of these days to come."

Needing 110 yards to win the rushing crown, Tomlinson started slow. SMU held him to 37 yards on 14 first-half carries. He got to 110 yards with a three-yard run early in the fourth quarter.

Tomlinson's two third-quarter touchdowns secured the victory. In the process, he set a school record with 32 career touchdowns.

TCU coach Dennis Franchione, the architect of a turnaround that's produced consecutive bowl teams for the first time in 40 years at TCU, couldn't help but get choked up afterward.

"It's hard to do," Franchione said when asked to put into words his thoughts on yesterday's events. "When we came here two years ago, we inherited a 1-10 team and to be conference co-champions and going to our second consecutive bowl game, that'll take a little time for that to soak in."

Franchione, however, didn't mince words about Tomlinson's place among the elite college football players.

"He deserves to be mentioned with the best backs in the nation," Franchione said. "There's no doubt about that. And he deserves to be considered for any award that is available for a running back."
Ka Leo O Hawaii

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