Alabama's Shaud Williams went over the top for the game's first score, putting Alabama up 7-0 in the second quarter.

Tide happy to win
their ‘bowl’

Warrior notebook
UH's gallant comeback falls short
Defense came through for Warriors
Chang ran out of tricks
Life is sweet as Stabler calls Alabama home

By Cindy Luis

The rumblings started early.

"Roll, Tide, Roll."

Some 8,000 red-clad fans made the trek to support their beloved Alabama football team. They filled the upper decks of a sold-out Aloha Stadium, sending down a collective roar that rolled along with the offense of the Crimson Tide.

No. 14 Alabama (10-3) made its second trip to the islands a repeat success, although it wasn't the rollover many had predicted. The Tide bottled up Hawaii's high-powered offense, holding off the Warriors 21-16 in yesterday's nationally televised game.

The Tide amassed 373 yards on offense, including 280 rushing, to hand the Warriors (9-3) their first loss in seven games. It was also Hawaii's first defeat at Aloha Stadium in nine contests, a streak dating back to last Nov. 10's loss to Boise State.

"It was a hard-fought win," said Tide coach Dennis Franchione, who matched Xen Scott (1920) and Gene Stallings (1991) as the fastest UA coaches to record their first 10-win season. "Hawaii has an outstanding team and we knew it would be like this.

"I am proud of our team, proud of our senior class. I can't say enough about them and what they've gone through."

Ineligible for postseason play due to NCAA sanctions, Alabama made this its bowl game. It was the perfect ending for 25 Tide seniors, 14 of whom played their final game on defense.

UH coach June Jones shook hands with Alabama coach Dennis Franchione after yesterday's game.

"It is a good way to go out, a wonderful way for our seniors," said fifth-year senior defensive end Kindal Moorehead, who made the 40th start of his career. "Hawaii is a great football team and we knew we were going to have a tough time.

"We knew at the half that we had to keep it going, come out and pick it up. You can't keep a good team like that down forever. We knew they'd get their yards."

But Hawaii did not reach its average of 503 yards per game. Alabama held the Warriors to 360 yards, 97 coming on the final drive.

"I thought on defense, we had an outstanding day," said Franchione. "We kept changing it up on them all the time. Hawaii has some pretty good size up front."

"Their offensive line is as good as we've faced," said Tide defensive line coach Stan Eggen. "Our (D-line) guys came off a couple times, looking to see if their chests were still there, they were getting pushed so hard."

Alabama extended its Division I-leading total of 10-win seasons to 27 yesterday, hitting the 10-victory mark for the first time since 1999. The Tide did it with the nation's third-ranked defense, intercepting Hawaii quarterback Tim Chang four times, including three in the first half, in taking a 14-0 lead.

The game didn't start off well for Alabama. The Tide failed to score on its opening possession for the third straight game as junior place-kicker Kyle Robinson missed the first of two field-goal attempts in the opening eight minutes of the first quarter.

It was a faked field goal that led to the first touchdown of the game.

Hawaii's Leonard Peters tried to bring down Alabama's Santonio Beard in the second quarter.

Hawaii faked a punt on fourth-and-15 early in the second quarter that fell short by 5 yards, giving Alabama the ball on UH's 22 with 13:35 before halftime.

It appeared that the Tide would go for another field-goal attempt with a fourth-and-six situation and the ball on the 18. Instead, holder Lane Bearden flipped the ball to Dre Fulgham, who ran for 12 yards. Three plays later, Shaud Williams scored from the 1 to break the shutout.

The Tide's second score came on the next possession, after Waine Bacon nabbed his fourth interception of the season. Bacon returned it 30 yards to the Hawaii 47 and, five plays and 76 seconds later, Ray Hudson's touchdown helped Alabama to a 14-0 lead.

Bacon nearly added another interception late in the fourth. The senior safety tipped the ball away from Hawaii's Jeremiah Cockheran near the end zone with 2:07 to go.

The Warriors scored on the next play, a 12-yard reception by Chad Owens. But it wasn't enough to overcome Alabama's early lead.

"We knew they were a really, really tough team, but they had a lot more talent than I thought," said Bacon. "It was a big game for us, and a big win. Anytime you can end your career with a win over a good team, and to play as well as we did on defense, it feels good.

"We were ahead at half, but we knew we had to keep it going. That team makes big plays. We knew they scored 72 points on BYU last year. You can't stop their potent offense. They just ran out of time."

UH Athletics

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