3:00 PM ET, November 1, 2003
Spartan Stadium (CA), San Jose, CA
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) -- San Jose State was a few inches short and a moment too late.
The Spartans' hopes for an upset victory over Hawaii died on the 1, where Courtney Alexander was tackled as he lunged for the goal line in the final seconds. San Jose State was unable to get another play before time expired in the Warriors' 13-10 victory Saturday.
The frantic final moments were confusing to everyone at Spartan Stadium. After Alexander was ruled just short of the end zone, the officials decided Scott Rislov had spiked the ball with no time on the clock -- despite the 0:01 still showing on the scoreboard.
Rislov's momentary attempt to run forward with the snap made the difference in a nail-biting victory for the Warriors (6-3, 5-1 WAC).
"Truthfully, I thought there was 1 second left on the clock," Rislov said. "If this was the NFL, it would be instant replay, but we don't have that luxury. (The final play was) indecision on my part. I didn't think it would take 2 seconds. It was right on the goal line. It was as close as you could get without being in."
Emotions ran high after the final whistle as well. The Spartans confronted the celebrating Warriors at midfield, where many shoves were exchanged but no fights broke out.
West Keliikipi caught a touchdown pass from Timmy Chang and rushed for another score in the fourth straight victory for the Warriors, who were saved by the Spartans' failure to manage the clock in prime position for a tying or winning score.
"You just never know," Hawaii coach June Jones said. "We were lucky. ... From where I was standing, I couldn't tell, but it looked like (Anderson) was in."
After being shut out since the first quarter, San Jose State (2-6, 1-4) drove 84 yards in the final seconds, using up their timeouts along the way. Rislov completed long passes to Leon Pinky and Jamall Broussard while moving inside the 10.
Anderson caught a screen pass, dodged several tacklers and lunged for the goal line, but was brought down as he stretched the ball toward the end zone. Several Spartans signaled for a touchdown, but officials spotted the ball at the 1.
"I knew if we could tackle them inbounds, the clock would run out," said Hawaii cornerback Abraham Elimimian, who made the first hit on Anderson. "I turned the play inside and waited for my friends."
The Spartans rushed to the line -- but in the confusion, quarterback Scott Rislov took one step toward the line before retreating to spike the ball. After a brief conference, the officials ruled time had expired.
"The quarterback tried to run, was stopped, then took a step and spiked the ball," referee Gene Semko said.
In the WAC version of a defensive battle, the teams combined for 39 first downs and 737 yards, but just three touchdowns. Chang threw two early interceptions, but finished 28-of-46 for 332 yards as Hawaii remained in second place in the conference, behind 4-0 Boise State.
"We've got to do a better job of teaching our young men how to finish," said San Jose State coach Fitz Hill, whose team recovered well from a 63-point loss to Boise State last week. "I was very disappointed for these young men and our loyal fans, but I am encouraged our men didn't give up."
Hawaii had its second-lowest scoring game ever under Jones.
"We overcame a lot of things," Jones said. "We didn't play well offensively. Timmy was a little off, but we won the game, and that's all we needed to do."
Playing in a game that began at 10 a.m. Hawaii time, the Warriors shook off a predictably slow start. Chad Owens caught nine passes for 149 yards, and Keliikipi caught a 15-yard TD pass from Chang late in the third quarter, capping the last of several lengthy drives.
Rislov passed for 223 yards, throwing a 28-yard TD pass to Pinky, a backup tight end who leads the Spartans with five scoring catches this season.
The Warriors made several lengthy drives before halftime, but two ended in interceptions by linebacker Mike Liranzo as San Jose State took an early 10-0 lead. Hawaii finally scored 1:10 before halftime on Keliikipi's 1-yard dive.