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The Marshall Plan

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

When the University of Hawaii football team hosts San Diego State tomorrow night at the Clarence T.C. Ching Complex, a lot of eyes will be on Aztecs RB Greg Bell, a 6’0, 200-lb. senior who leads his team in rushing (668 yards, 4.9 yards per carry). Over the years, UH fans have witnessed numerous SDSU running backs have big games against the Rainbow Warriors, including Rashaad Penny and Donnel Pumphrey. But no running back ran over and through UH defenses quite like Marshall Faulk of the San Diego Aztecs.

Take, for example, Nov. 14, 1992: On “Beach Party Night” at San Diego’s Jack Murphy Stadium, Faulk rushed for 300 yards and 4 TDs, leading SDSU to a dominating 52-28 victory over the visiting Warriors.

The loss threw a wrench into Hawaii’s hopes for a Western Athletic Conference championship and a berth in the Holiday Bowl. The Rainbow Warriors fell into a three-way tie with the Aztecs and BYU for the conference lead.

“We’re still 7-2 [overall] and have a shot at a bowl, but this hurts,” UH head coach Bob Wagner said after the game. “We wanted to wrap it up ourselves, right here, tonight. But we didn’t get it done.”

The bulk of the damage to Hawaii was done by Faulk, the future Hall of Famer and Super Bowl champion. On this day, the 5-10, 185-lb. junior carried the ball 43 times for his 300 yards. His 4 TDs included a 68-yard sprint in the first quarter that gave the home team its second score of the day.

And to add insult to injury, Faulk noted after the game that wasn’t feeling 100 percent.

”I’m still injured, but hurt or not I made up my mind that I was going to give whatever I had for as long as we had to have it, said the running back, who had been nursing a strained quadricep. “I wasn’t doing it for the Heisman. I was more concerned about this game and winning the WAC. That’s all I was thinking about.”

Hawaii was led by QB Michael Carter, who had 127 passing yards and 72 rushing yards. RB Travis Sims contributed  55 yards on the ground, and Zac Odom paced the defense with 10 tackles.

Thankfully for Hawaii fans, this story has a happy ending. The Aztecs would lose to Fresno State the following week, and UH would defeat Wyoming to claim a share of the WAC title. Owning the tie-breaker over BYU, the Rainbow Warriors would return to San Diego to play in the Holiday Bowl, where they beat Illinois, 27-17.

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