It's one thing to take risks against a powerhouse like Alabama, but Hawaii's playcalling bordered on ridiculous in the first half. Some calls were timely and unexecuted, while others, like a fake punt call from their own 12, left fans scratching their heads. Alabama leads UH at halftime, 10-0
Questionable calls do Warriors in; trickeration just isn't working
By Paul Honda Senior Writers Saturday, Nov. 30, 2002,
HONOLULU—The Big Bad Crimson Tide of Alabama marched into Aloha Stadium to show Hawaii what SEC football is all about.
Instead, Hawaii is showing a national TV audience how flaky play-calling can mess up a stalwart defensive performance.
The Tide took advantage of two Hawaii mistakes—two that weren't the only Warrior miscues—to score 14 points in less than two minutes, and Alabama leads 10-0 at halftime.
A sellout crowd at Aloha Stadium saw Alabama placekicker Kyle Robinson slice two field-goal attempts in the first quarter from 37 and 39 yards. Hawaii's defense kept ‘Bama quarterback Tyler Watts under control, sacking him three times in the first 13 minutes. However, pinned on their own 12-yard line, the Warriors inexplicably went for a fake punt. Up back Chad Kapanui gained 10 yards on the fourth-and-15 play, and ‘Bama took over at the Hawaii 22-yard line.
The Tide offense sputtered again, but unlike Hawaii, their trick play worked. On another field-goal attempt, holder Brodie Croyle flipped a shovel pass to Dre Fulgham, who blasted up the middle and dragged tacklers across the first down marker. Shaud Williams leaped into the end zone from the 3, giving a posse of Alabama fans plenty to cheer about. Robinson's PAT made it 7-0 with left in the half.
Chad Owens returned the ensuing kickoff 62 yards down the right sideline to give Hawaii great field position at the Alabama 31-yard line. On the next play, however, Tim Chang fired a bullet directly at ‘Bama safety Waine Bacon between the hashmarks. Bacon returned the ball 30 yards to the Hawaii 48.
Watts, who missed receivers and was unable to unload passes throughout the first half, picked up 11 yards on a scramble. Tailback Santonio Beard rambled 13 yards, and on the fifth play of the drive, backup Ray Hudson bolted up the middle on third-and-1, then cut back to the left en route to a 14-yard scoring jaunt.
Robinson's PAT kick gave the Tide a 14-0 lead with to play.
On the next series, Chang was picked off in the end zone by Charley Pephrah, a nickel defensive back. The Warriors did not seriously threaten for the rest of the half. The closest they came was on a fourth-down play from the 11, but Chang's pass to defensive lineman-turned-eligible receiver Albert "Abu" Ma'afala was dropped in the end zone.
Watts, meanwhile, was spelled for part of the first half by backup freshman Croyle, who is the better passer between the two but doesn't have quite the same game experience.
Individual Statistics, First Half Alabama Rushing: Santonio Beard 10-70, Shaud Williams 10-65, Tyler Watts 13-29, Ray Hudson 1-14. Passing: Tyler Watts 2-6-0-10, Brodie Croyle 0-1-0-0. Receiving: Triandos Luke 1-19, Dre Fulgham 1-12.
Hawaii Rushing: Chad Kapanui 1-10, John West 2-5, Mike Bass 1-3. Passing: Tim Chang 7-22-3-84. Receiving: Nate Ilaoa 4-30, Justin Colbert 2-7, Jeremiah Cockheran 1-47.