7:00 PM ET, September 2, 2006
Bryant-Denny Stadium, TUSCALOOSA, AL
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- John Parker Wilson's stock is on the rise with Alabama coach Mike Shula.
The sophomore threw for 253 yards and a touchdown in his first collegiate start Saturday as Alabama got a late defensive stand to hold off Hawaii 25-17.
Leigh Tiffin added three field goals for the Crimson Tide, which had two apparent touchdowns overturned on replay challenges by Hawaii.
Wilson started slowly, completing only four of 10 passes for 80 yards in the first half. Looking more comfortable after halftime, he was 12-of-19 attempts for 173 yards and a 35-yard touchdown pass to Keith Brown.
Shula, himself a former Alabama quarterback, liked what he saw.
"I think the way (Wilson) played today gives us some confidence to throw it more," said Shula.
Things got dicy late, though.
Down by a touchdown and 2-point conversion, Hawaii drove the ball to the Alabama 26 with 13 seconds left. On fourth down with 1 second remaining, Colt Brennan lofted a pass to the goal line, where the Tide's Lionel Mitchell jumped for an interception to preserve the win.
Brown, who caught six passes for 132 yards, said the Tide let up too much after getting the lead.
"To dominate the game you have to pound them, to keep your foot on them," he said. "When we have an opponent down we just have to continue to pound on them."
Hawaii didn't reach the end zone until late in the third quarter, when Reagan Mauia scored on a 16-yard shovel pass from Brennan. Brennan threw a 31-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Grice-Mullen midway through the fourth quarter to bring the Warriors within eight.
Dan Kelly kicked a 42-yard field goal for Hawaii on the game's opening drive, but Alabama didn't trail again.
Wilson is the older brother of prep quarterback Ross Wilson, who is currently featured in the MTV reality show "Two-A-Days" about Hoover High School in suburban Birmingham.
Tiffin, a freshman, kicked field goals of 31, 23, 27 yards.
The Crimson Tide defense held Hawaii to 22 yards on the ground and 350 passing.
A Hawaii challenge killed what was first ruled an Alabama touchdown off a botched punt. Officials determined the Tide's Roy Upchurch recovered a bad punt snap out of bounds instead of in the end zone, and Bama settled for a safety.
Hawaii used another video review to wipe out an apparent TD pass by Wilson to Brown. The drive ended in a field goal by Tiffin, son of former Alabama kicking great Van Tiffin.
The game was played in the newly expanded and sold-out Bryant-Denny Stadium, which seats 92,138 and is now the nation's fifth-largest on-campus stadium. Outside, a new plaza features statues of former national championship coaches including Paul "Bear" Bryant.
Alabama linebacker Juwan Simpson played from the opening drive and had nine tackles despite his offseason arrest on charges of marijuana possession and carrying a handgun without a license. Simpson entered a court-ordered drug program and paid $300 in fines for the weapons charge.
Simpson earned his way to the field, Shula said.
"He's worked hard to prove himself. We're going to need his leadership and all those other guys," he said.
Hawaii found out quickly that the Bama crowd didn't have a taste for island culture.
Before kickoff, the Warriors gathered in front of the Alabama student section and performed a traditional Polynesian dance as "Sweet Home Alabama" played over the loudspeakers. The boos nearly drowned out Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-12||6-15|
|4th Down Conversions||0-3||1-1|
|FG||11:31||DAN KELLY 42 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 26 yards.
|FG||7:18||LEIGH TIFFIN 31 YD FG|
Drive info: 9 plays, 65 yards.
|TD||14:30||TIM CASTILLE 3 YD RUN (LEIGH TIFFIN KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 61 yards.
|FG||1:19||LEIGH TIFFIN 23 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||11:15||KEITH BROWN 35 YD PASS FROM JOHN PARKER WILSON (LEIGH TIFFIN KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||4:59||REAGAN MAUIA 16 YD PASS FROM COLT BRENNAN (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 50 yards.
|FG||14:42||LEIGH TIFFIN 27 YD FG|
Drive info: 12 plays, 68 yards.
|TD||7:04||RYAN GRICE-MULLEN 31 YD PASS FROM COLT BRENNAN (DAN KELLY KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 85 yards.