7:45 PM ET, November 29, 2003
Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
HONOLULU (AP) -- Jason Whieldon knows being a backup quarterback to Hawaii starter Timmy Chang means he'll get very limited game action. So the senior is trying to do his best during his rare playing opportunities.
"I'm just going to be ready to play when he puts me in. I only have two games left in my career, so I'm just trying to make the most of it," he said.
Whieldon threw for four touchdowns and ran for another as Hawaii rallied to defeat Alabama 37-29 Saturday, capping one of the Crimson Tide's worst seasons ever.
The Tide (4-9) recorded their second-most losses in a season in coach Mike Shula's first year at the helm. Alabama lost more than eight games in a season only once before, going 0-10 in 1955.
"We finished up on a sour note," Shula said. "We have a lot of work to do. Any time these guys get tired in the off season workouts, I hope they remember how they feel right now."
Whieldon threw touchdown passes of 47 and 20 yards and scored on an 18-yard run in the decisive fourth quarter. He finished the night 15-for-25 for 237 yards.
"It's a great feeling for our guys. They hung in there after they got down 14-0," Hawaii coach June Jones said. "I was really proud of Jason."
Jones said he gave everyone on the defense a game ball.
"We played awesome," Jones said.
The Hawaii Bowl-bound Warriors (8-4) remained undefeated at home and close out their season next Saturday against Western Athletic Conference champion Boise State.
Shaud Williams led Alabama with 105 yards rushing and five catches for 73 yards. He had only 33 yards on the ground in the second half.
Down 21-16 in the fourth quarter, the Warriors took the lead when Whieldon found Jeremiah Cockheran streaking down the right sideline for a 47-yard touchdown. The 2-point conversion made it 24-16.
After Alabama turned it over twice, Whieldon connected with a diving Herbert for a 20-yard hookup that put the Warriors up 30-21.
Whieldon capped off the 21-point fourth quarter with an 18-yard scramble with 4:03 left to give Hawaii a 37-21 lead.
Chang, who averaged 357.6 yards passing coming into the game, was 7-for-23 for 38 yards. Chang was loudly booed by the crowd several times.
Whieldon first replaced the struggling starter in the second quarter and immediately sparked Hawaii's offense.
On his first series, Whieldon drove the Warriors 71 yards in three plays for their first touchdown. He was 3-of-3 on the drive, including a screen pass to Cockheran that went 48 yards for the score.
Whieldon was 3-of-3 for 51 yards on the next series, tying the game at 14 on a 4-yard toss to a wide-open Se'e Poumele in the back of the end zone.
Whieldon had 22 straight completions, including 16 in last week's game against Army, before he missed on a deep route.
"Jason gave us energy. He was in a zone," said Cockheran, who had five receptions for 124 yards and two TDs. "You know he was in a zone when he stepped in the huddle."
After giving up 173 yards in the first quarter, Hawaii's defense clamped down the rest of the way, pressuring quarterback Brodie Croyle all night. Croyle was sacked six times.
"It was definitely a disappointing season and a disappointing game, but Hawaii has a really good team and they play extremely well especially down here," said Croyle, who went 20-for-38 for 247 yards and two touchdowns.
The Tide opened up a 14-0 lead and looked to be in control of the game early.
Williams scored on a 1-yard dive on the Tide's opening drive. The touchdown capped an eight-play, 79-yard drive that included a 56-yard run by Williams that put the ball on the 4.
Alabama took a 14-0 lead when Clint Johnston caught a 2-yard pass. Croyle completed passes of 54, 15, 15 and 9 yards in the drive.
Hawaii momentarily took a 16-14 lead in the third quarter when Lance Samuseva sacked Croyle in the end zone.
Alabama responded with safety Roman Harper picking up a blocked field goal attempt and returning it 73 yards for a touchdown, putting the Tide up 21-16. The 35-yard attempt was blocked by cornerback Anthony Madison.