First-time punter Fitzgerald had a clutch play for Alabama that might be under appreciated for its importance in the game when a play that could have been a disaster turned into a beauty.
With Alabama leading 10-3 in the second quarter Fitzgerald fielded a high and wide snap, leaping to catch the ball, and then boomed a 55 yard punt to pin Hawaii back at their own one yard line. Had the punt soared over Fitzgerald's head Hawaii might have scored, or would have at least had the ball deep in Bama territory.
Instead, Hawaii's punter Kirk Milne muffed a snap on the ensuing series, which eventually went out of the back of the end zone for an Alabama safety.
Another first-timer, linebacker Zach Schreiber, had one of the most spectacular plays of the evening. On third and 17, just before Bama recorded the safety, Schreiber pressured Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan from the left defensive end position he played in nickel situations.
Schreiber eventually nailed Brennan from behind as he tried to scramble, causing him to fumble. Schrebier spun Brennan to the ground, and as Hawaii running back Nate Ilaoa scooped up the fumble and began to run, Schreiber got up off the ground and slammed Ilaoa to the turf.
"I didn't know he fumbled until I looked up and saw the guy running at me," Schreiber said. "I just wrapped him up and pulled him down."
Before the Hawaii players exited the field after their stretch, the players did a fist-pumping, chest-beating island dance routine in the south end zone of the stadium worthy of the nation's ugliest college dance squad. It might have gotten the Warrior squad going, and it certainly fired up the students who had made it into the south end zone.
Saturday's win was a milestone in Bryant-Denny Stadium history, as the 200th Alabama win at the venue.