Running backs kept Alabama offense on a roll
Shaud Williams showed why he should be considered the 1 in Alabama's 1-2 rushing attack yesterday.
Eugene Tanner The Honolulu Advertiser
Alabama's Shaud Williams fights off this tackle by UH's Lance Samuseva and runs for more yardage in the second period. Williams rushed for a season-high 160 yards, including 95 in the second half.
Eugene Tanner The Honolulu Advertiser
"We took the incentive to come out in the second half and run the ball and keep the clock running," Williams said. "It's the same plays we were calling in the first half, we just executed a little better."
Williams and Santonio Beard have alternated at tailback all season for Alabama, and yesterday was no different.
Beard contributed 86 yards on 16 carries, giving them a combined 246 yards for the game. It was their second-best combined effort of the season (behind their 253 against Arkansas on Sept. 28).
They each had 10 rushes in the first half yesterday, but Williams got 13 carries to Beard's six in the second half.
"Our line started to get a little more push," Williams said. "Either one of us could have got the yards, I happened to be the one in there."
His longest run a 41-yard dash through the middle of the Hawai'i defense led to Alabama's only touchdown of the second half. Williams also scored the first touchdown of the game, a 1-yard dive into the end zone.
For the season, Williams finished with 921 yards to Beard's 811.
Sweet Home Alabama: What's an Alabama Crimson Tide tailgate without the state's "staple" song.
Darrell McIntyre, one of the estimated 8,000-12,000 Alabama boosters on the trip, borrowed a guitar from a Hawaiian musical group entertaining an Alabama boosters' tailgate in an area downstairs from the Aloha Stadium stands. Then came the familiar opening rift from Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama." Then a cheer.
"The Alabama people love this song," said McIntyre. "It's like a standard staple."
The Alabama fans even add their own lyrics. Following the line, "Sweet Home Alabama," the fans chant "Roll, Tide, Roll."
McIntyre, a contractor by day and musical group leader by night for Darrell McIntyre and Mojojuce, ad-libbed the second verse of the song. In the original song, Lynyrd Skynyrd takes a jab at singer Neil Young. One line of the song goes, "I hope Neil Young will remember, a southern man don't need him around anyhow."
McIntyre's line goes: "I hope the NCAA will remember, Alabama don't need those (SOBs) around anyhow."
The reference, of course, is to the NCAA sanctions against Alabama.
Smiling faces: Probation?
Some Alabama players saw the trip to Hawai'i as a chance to "stick it" to the NCAA.
"That came to mind," offensive lineman Justin Smiley said, smiling.
The Crimson Tide is on two-year bowl probation and received scholarship cuts for improper booster inducements.
An Alabama newspaper headlined the game as the "in your face bowl" because Alabama added it after going on probation.
"We'd like to be playing in the SEC Championship game (Alabama won the West but is ineligible because it is on probation) but coming over here was a great way to go out," Smiley said.
"These were the cards we were dealt and we have had to live by it, but it was unbelievable coming out here," Smiley said.
Josephine Potuto, a member of the NCAA Infractions Committee, said she was aware of the game but declined to comment.
Injury report: Offensive lineman Lui Fuata and defensive back Hyrum Peters are listed as "very questionable" for Saturday's regular season finale against San Diego State because of injuries, UH officials said.
Fuata, who normally starts at center but was filling in at guard for Shayne Kajioka yesterday, sprained his left knee on UH's first series of the game. Peters sprained his left knee in the second quarter.
Both players are expected to undergo MRI examinations today to determine the extent of their respective injuries.
Punting with pain: Alabama punter Lane Bearden averaged 41.6 yards on eight punts playing with a torn knee ligament that is due to be operated on after the season.
Bearden, who wears a brace on his right (kicking) leg, sustained the injury Sept. 28 when he was tackled on a fake punt play and the ligament snapped.
Bearden had already used his redshirt year and was told there was a risk of further damage but chose to continue playing.
Coaching success: Alabama head coach Dennis Franchione is 6-0 against Hawai'i, although yesterday was his first with the Crimson Tide.
He was 3-0 while with New Mexico, and then 2-0 while at Texas Christian.
"It's one of those things, my teams have played well and we've handled the trip reasonably well most of the time," he said.
Snake sighting: Ken Stabler, former Alabama and NFL All-Pro quarterback, was part of the radio crew for the Crimson Tide Sports Network.