Blake Ezor turned in a record-breaking performance in his last game for Michigan State, and Hawaii bobbled away any chance it had in the Aloha Bowl.
Ezor, the game's most valuable player, gained a bowl-record 179 yards and scored on three runs to break a school record for touchdowns in a season as the 22nd-ranked Spartans (8-4) won 33-13 Monday.The 25th-ranked Rainbows (9-3-1) committed eight turnovers.
Ezor's three touchdowns gave him 19 for the season, breaking the school's single season record of 18 set by Eric Allen in 1971.
Defensive end Mark Vanderbeek recovered three fumbles for Michigan State. Linebacker Carlos Jenkins recovered a fumble, intercepted a pass and blocked an extra-point kick for the Spartans.
All-American linebacker Percy Snow, winner of the Butkus Trophy and Lombardi Award, had an interception and led the Spartans with nine tackles.
Coach Bob Wagner called the Rainbows' first bowl appearance "very frustrating and very disappointing."
"If you turn the ball over as many times as we did, it's difficult to win," Wagner said. "They took better care of the ball than we did."
The Rainbows fumbled seven times, losing four, breaking the Aloha Bowl fumble record of five set by North Carolina in 1986. Hawaii committed turnovers on its first six drives of the game.
"I'm real upset with myself. I did what I didn't want to do," said Hawaii quarterback Garrett Gabriel, who was in on two muffed option pitches in the first quarter. "The first two were my fault - they were just bad pitches."
Gabriel threw three interceptions, and backup quarterback Ken Niumatalolo had one. Michigan State's Dan Enos was intercepted twice. The total of six interceptions broke the bowl record of three set in 1988 by Washington State and Houston.
Michigan State, of the Big Ten, overpowered its Western Athletic Conference foe on offense in the first half and benefited from good field position provided by Hawaii's turnovers.
Hawaii's defense rallied in the second half, but the Rainbows were unable to recover from a 19-0 halftime deficit.
For the second straight year, the Christmas Day game was marred by a bench-clearing brawl. It came with 8:06 left in the game when Hawaii attempted an on-side kick which failed. Coaches and officials struggled for more than a minute to restore order.