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MONDAY, JANUARY 15, 2007
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Tide’s Robinson returns interception for TD
Late score caps win in Hula Bowl

By Jaymes Song
Associated Press Writer

HONOLULU — Clemson’s Reggie Merriweather scored on a 1-yard run with 44 seconds left, and Tigers teammate Will Proctor completed a 2-point conversion pass to Tennessee’s Bret Smith to help the Aina beat the Kai 18-10 in the Hula Bowl on Sunday night.

Alabama cornerback Ramzee Robinson then intercepted Boise State quarterback Jared Zabransky’s pass and returned it for a touchdown with 10 seconds left, giving the Aina team 15 points in 34 seconds.

The Kai, which had a 10-3 lead heading into the final minute, had one final shot, but Zabransky couldn’t repeat his Fiesta Bowl magic, with his desperation pass falling short.

It was a thrilling finish to a game that was a defensive struggle.

With the game in hand and the Kai trying to drive down the clock, Wisconsin quarterback John Stocco fumbled the ball, giving Aina the ball on the Kai 39 with less than 3 minutes to play. The fumble was recovered by Navy’s David Mahoney.

Proctor then completed a 20-yard pass on third-and-11 to Smith to set up the Aina’s first touchdown.

Proctor finished 9-of-15 for 107 yards. Zabransky was 7-of-12 for 67 yards with a touchdown and the late interception.

Aloha Stadium was barren with bigger crowds outside at the swap meet in the parking lot. But the small crowd was spirited and treated to a good game.

The 61st Hula Bowl was played in Honolulu for the second straight year eight years on Maui, where it struggled with finances, sponsorship and attendance.

The Kai couldn’t get much going after scoring on its opening series of the game.

Zabransky threw a swing pass to Hawaii’s 250-pound running back, Nate Ilaoa, who rumbled 16 yards down the left sideline and dove into the end zone. It was set up by two nice plays by Zabransky on third down, a 15-yard run and an 18-yard pass to Syndric Steptoe. Zabransky was 4-of-6 for 53 yards on the drive.

Texas’ Greg Johnson kicked a 23-yard field goal to put Kai up 10-0 in the second quarter. The field goal was set up by a 28-yard pass from Utah’s Bret Ratliff to BYU’s Curtis Brown and a 14-yard reverse by Steptoe.

The Aina had trouble with Kai’s aggressive defense, racking up just 107 yards in the first half. The Aina did manage a field goal just before halftime.

Auburn’s John Vaughn booted a 24-yard field goal to cut Kai’s lead to a touchdown. Proctor was 5-of-6 for 64 yards on the drive.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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