Hawaii rallies from 21 down to save perfect season

HONOLULU (AP) -- Hawaii has done all it could in the regular season.

Its message now: Bring on the BCS.

Colt Brennan threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Grice-Mullen with 44 seconds left and Hawaii (No. 12 BCS, No. 11 AP) overcame a 21-point deficit to beat Washington 35-28 on Saturday night to finish the regular season 12-0 and virtually assure a BCS berth.

Brennan was near-perfect with a Heisman Trophy night, throwing two fourth-quarter touchdown passes. He was 42-of-50, including 6-of-6 on the winning 76-yard drive.

"This was something we dreamed about and to be here and see what we've accomplished, and the perfect record, is just mind blowing," said Brennan, who threw for 442 yards and five TDs with no interceptions.

Grice-Mullen caught a slant pass from Brennan for the score that put the sellout crowd in a frenzy, chanting "BCS! BCS!"

"It just showed what kind of team we have and that we never give up, we never stop," Grice-Mullen said.

Washington (4-9) took over with 38 seconds and drove all the way to the Hawaii 4, but Jake Locker's pass was intercepted by Ryan Mouton in the end zone with 3 seconds left, sealing the win and the Warriors' perfect season.

Thousands of fans charged the field and flashes sparkled in Hawaii's biggest win in school history.

"We believed the whole time," Brennan said. "We knew we were going to win if we kept believing ... I feel speechless. It's an awesome feeling."

The senior had a school-record string of 20 straight completions.

Warriors coach June Jones said he wanted to call for a running play on what turned out to be the winning pass, but was vetoed by Brennan, who knew the Huskies were going to play man defense.

"What a win," he said.

Hawaii, the only undefeated Bowl Subdivision team, entered the game 12th in the Bowl Championship Series standings. It will need to finish in the top 12 when the final standings are released Sunday to land in one of the choice bowl games.

The Warriors might play in the Sugar Bowl against LSU. Brennan believes Hawaii is headed for the Rose Bowl. Whichever bowl, it would be their first postseason appearance outside the Aloha State since the 1992 Holiday Bowl.

Hawaii has won a national-best 13 straight games, dating to its victory over Arizona State in the Hawaii Bowl, and 22 of its last 23 games.

The Warriors tied it at 28 with 8:01 left, on Brennan's 40-yard rainbow to Jason Rivers. It was their fourth TD hookup of the game.

Brennan has thrown for 4,174 yards and 38 TDs this season. He has broken 4,000 yards passing in each of his three seasons at Hawaii.

Rivers finished with 14 catches for 167 yards to join Grice-Mullen and Davone Bess as 1,000-yard receivers this season. Grice-Mullen added 10 catches for 121 yards.

Hawaii caught a major break when the Huskies appeared to have converted a third-and-15 near to put the ball on the Hawaii 30. Locker was flagged for crossing the line of scrimmage, even though he appeared to be right on the line.

"A lot of people thought I didn't, but that's what he saw and he made the call and you can't change that," Locker said.

The Warriors took over on their 24 with 4:15 left and marched down the field for the winning score.

"This was real disappointing because our young men played a heck of a football game," Huskies coach Tyrone Willingham said.

Hawaii's high-powered offense, which averages nearly 50 points a game, got going in the second quarter with Brennan completing all 16 of his pass attempts for 179 yards and Rivers catching three TD passes.

With 1:27 left in the half, Brennan drove the Warriors 64 yards in a passing rain storm and tossed a 13-yard TD toss to Rivers to pull Hawaii to 28-21. The catch was initially ruled incomplete, but was reversed after a challenge.

Jones called the score a turning point.

"That's when I knew we were going to win," he said.

Rivers also caught a 7-yard TD pass that got Hawaii on the scoreboard and capped an 83-yard drive with Brennan completing seven straight passes. Brennan was 5-of-5 on Hawaii's next drive, including a 3-yard dart to Rivers for a score.

On a day of upsets, Washington stunned the green-clad crowd of 49,566 by jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the first 9 1/2 minutes. The Huskies forced three fumbles and took advantage of strong field position in the one-sided first quarter.

It was the first time Hawaii had been shutout in the opening quarter this season.

"The only thing I could think about was that there was a lot of time left and if we could slowly tug away at the gap then maybe we can put ourselves in a spot to win this game and that's exactly what we did," Brennan said.

Louis Rankin led the Huskies with 145 yards on 21 carries.

Locker rushed for 76 yards, giving him 986 for the season, just missing becoming the first quarterback in Pac-10 history to rush for 1,000 yards.

The freshman scored on an 8-yard run on the game's opening series, which was kept alive by a Hawaii penalty on fourth down.

On Hawaii's ensuing drive, Nate Williams stripped Brennan to give Washington possession at the Hawaii 21. Four plays later, Luke Kravitz punched it in on fourth down from the 1. Kravitz scored on another 1-yard run to give the Huskies a 21-0 lead.

The Huskies tried to pad their lead late in the quarter, but a 38-yard field goal attempt by Ryan Perkins was blocked by Joshua Leonard.

The last time Hawaii rallied from 21 points to win was in 2004 against Michigan State.