HONOLULU — Arkansas Coach Ken Hatfield said that cautioning his team to stay away from island beaches may have tipped the balance Saturday in the Razorbacks' 38-20 victory over Hawaii.
"The players did what we told them to do about staying off the beaches and preparing their legs for the hot, humid day we had out there," Hatfield said. "It certainly could have been the difference in the game."
Hatfield congratulated his Liberty Bowl-bound team on winning its season finale.
"I know how hard it is for teams to come over here and play that last game," Hatfield said. "I told them I was proud of the way they concentrated."
Hawaii Coach Bob Wagner praised the performance of Arkansas' James Rouse, who ran for three touchdowns.
"Rouse is a great football player," Wagner said. "And he decided he didn't want to get tackled in the fourth quarter."
Rouse gained 96 yards in 24 carries and now has 1,004 yards for the season, making him Arkansas' first 1,000-yard rusher since Ben Cowins ran for 1,006 in 1978.
Rouse had 17 touchdowns for the season, raising his career record to 27.
The Razorbacks (9-3) scored three touchdowns in the span of a little over eight minutes of the fourth quarter to break the game open.
Freshman Barry Foster scored on a 4-yard run early in the quarter; Rouse scored his third touchdown on Arkansas' next possession on a 1-yard dive, and quarterback John Bland gave the Razorbacks' a 38-12 lead on a 54-yard touchdown run.
Hawaii's Heikoti Fakava set a school single-season touchdown record when he scored his 17th of the season on a one-yard dive with 3:42 left.
Arkansas took the opening kickoff and drove 63 yards for a touchdown on Rouse's 3-yard dive.
Hawaii (5-7) got on the scoreboard later in the first quarter when Rod Valverde capped a 52-yard drive with a 42-yard field goal.
After the teams exchanged field goals, Arkansas took a 17-6 halftime lead when Rouse scored his second touchdown on a six-yard run with 46 seconds left. The touchdown was set up by Steve Atwater's second interception off Garrett Gabriel.