Dec 24, 2002
(AP) - Quarterback Timmy Chang leads Hawaii's high-powered offense against Tulane in the inaugural Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Day at Aloha Stadium.
The Warriors (10-3, 7-1 Western Athletic Conference) had 10 wins for the first time since 1992 when the finished first in the WAC and went on to beat Illinois in the Holiday Bowl.
"We've been excited to play in this bowl game ever since we got to seven wins," said Hawaii coach June Jones, whose Warriors finished second in the WAC behind Boise State this season.
"I don't know a whole lot about Tulane, but I'm looking forward to a good game."
Jones took over the Warriors football program in 1999 and immediately turned the program around with a 9-4 season and a 23-17 win over Oregon State the Jeep Oahu Bowl. Hawaii has not been to a bowl game since, despite going 9-4 last year.
Chang passed for 437 yards and led a 93-yard game-winning drive late in the fourth quarter to give Hawaii a 41-40 victory over San Diego State on Dec. 8. Chang finished 33-of-54 with three touchdown passes and four interceptions.
The Warriors have played in several close games this year with their last four games being decided by five points or less.
"What makes me feel good is that we have proven to have the ability to come from behind and win games," said Jones. "That says a lot about (quarterback) Timmy (Chang), a lot about guys stepping up and making plays when you gotta have'em made. That's how championship teams are made."
Chang, a sophomore, has thrown for 25 touchdowns and his 4,350 passing yards ranks second in the country.
If their is a downside to Chang's development, its his tendency to turn the ball over. He has tossed 22 interceptions this year, with eight of them coming in the last two games.
Chang threw four interceptions in a 21-16 loss at home to Alabama on Nov. 30. It was the only loss for Hawaii over its last seven games. The Warriors other two losses were at BYU and at Boise State.
Green Wave head coach Chris Scelfo knows his team is going to have to win the turnover battle to come out on top against Hawaii.
"I know our players and coaches understand how important this game is and what a tremendous challenge it will be for our football team."
Head Coach Chris Scelfo
"The big thing we're going to have to do is take care of the football on offense and create some turnovers on defense, but we're going to have to play extremely hard in all three phases to be successful," said Scelfo.
Tulane (7-5, 4-4 Conference USA) defeated Southern Miss in its season finale Nov. 23rd and earned the ConAgra Foods Hawaii Bowl bid when Cincinnati defeated East Carolina. The Green Wave will have to avoid the distractions that all teams have to face when they travel to Hawaii.
"I know our players and coaches understand how important this game is and what a tremendous challenge it will be for our football team," Scelfo said.
"We're looking forward to being able to see Hawaii, but we also realize the importance of being focused and prepared to play a football game."
The Green Wave would like to establish their running game and control the time of possession to keep the Warriors offense off the field.
Running back Mewelde Moore accounted for 194 yards and scored a touchdown as Tulane defeated Southern Mississippi 31-10 on Nov. 23 to clinch its first bowl appearance since 1998.
Moore ran for 136 yards on 32 carries and caught five passes for 58 yards.
The junior finished Tulane's regular season with 1,022 yards and is the
school's all-time leading rusher with 3,333 yards.