Sunday, February 03, 2002

Hula Bowl: South 45, North 28

Hawaii QB is MVP

Associated Press Writer

        WAILUKU, Hawaii — Nick Rolovich proved himself again.

        Rolovich started the season as Hawaii's third-string quarterback, but finished as one of the school's best passers and capped off his college career with an MVP performance Saturday in the Hula Bowl.

        He threw three touchdown passes in the first half to lead the South to a 45-28 victory over the North in the all-star game.

        “It was great to end my college career at home in front of everyone,” he said. “I dreamed this game would go well for me, and it did.”

        The Hawaii quarterback won the South MVP award while outshining the other all-stars, including Heisman Trophy winner Eric Crouch of Nebraska, who was 4-of-11 for 45 yards and three interceptions.

        The game at War Memorial Stadium on Maui island closed the college football season. It also was the final college game for Steve Spurrier, who resigned at Florida and was hired as coach of the Washington Redskins. Spurrier was an assistant South coach, under Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, a former Florida assistant.

        “I'm just ready to start helping the Redskins,” said Spurrier, wearing a Gators visor and a lei. ”(I'm going) for the challenge of the pro game and because people say I can't do it.”

        Verron Haynes of Georgia led the South's ground attack, rushing for 84 yards and a touchdown.

        The South dominated the entire game, taking a 28-7 lead in the first half, capitalizing on five North turnovers while running up 308 yards on offense. Haynes got the scoring going in the first quarter with a 3-yard plunge.

        The 45 points by the South was the highest output since 1968.

        “I had the opportunity to work with a great group of players,” Stoops said. “It's always fun to win.”

        Rolovich went on to complete 9 of 17 passes for 163 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, including two to Oregon tight end Justin Peelle. He finished with 171 yards on 10-of-18 passing with two interceptions.

        Rolovich sat out most of the second half, even with the sunsplashed crowd chanting, “Rolo! Rolo!”

        Crouch had a dismal passing game, throwing two interceptions in the first two offensive series. The Nebraska star got some action as a kick returner and a receiver in the second half, catching a 33-yard pass from Brandon Doman of BYU late in the game. He also had 29 yards rushing on five carries.

        “I wanted to go out and do as well as I could,” he said. “I wanted to do different things and see how I adjusted ... it was rough getting started.”

        But his performance didn't discourage him.

        “It was a great week for me and I feel good about my chances (in the NFL),” Crouch said.

        Chester Taylor of Toledo won the North MVP award with his 61-yard, two-touchdown performance. Both touchdowns came in the second half from 6 and 3 yards out.

        The North struggled to move the ball in the first half, committing five interceptions and punting twice. The team's only score in the half was a 10-yard fade pass from Doman to Maurice Jackson of Syracuse to pull within a touchdown early in the second quarter.

        “We didn't execute,” said North coach Dennis Erickson of Oregon State. “Both teams played sloppy early, but they took advantage of some of our turnovers.”

        Erickson's squad had little chance of mounting a comeback. After a 2-yard scoring run by Oregon State's Ken Simonton with 12:22 left, three minutes were mysteriously wiped off the clock.

        The clock also remained running through the rest of the game.

        “We tried to come back, but it was too little, too late,” Taylor said.

        Several defensive backs had a pair of interceptions, including Jermaine Chapman of Arizona, Ahmad Brooks of Texas and Rick Sherrod of West Virginia.

        Notes: Iowa's Kahil Hill was presented the Mosi Tatupu Special Teams Award at halftime. ... More than 70 NFL scouts watched the workouts and the game. The Indianapolis Colts had the largest representation, with seven scouts. ... Hawaii receiver Craig Stutzmann played, despite fracturing his left hand in practice. ... Receiver Daryl Jones was the only player from national champion Miami. ... Hawaii had the most players with eight, followed by Oklahoma with seven.


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