HONOLULU — This isn't the way Terry Donahue would have diagrammed it.
Given his choice, the departing coach of the UCLA Bruins would have announced his retirement, won a final, memorable victory in the Aloha Bowl over the Kansas Jayhawks and then been carried off the field on the shoulders of his players, a final image of triumph beamed to the nation.
But the choice, as it turned out, belonged to Glen Mason, who changed his game plan at the last minute, deciding to remain coach at Kansas seven days after announcing that he would be leaving to take the Georgia job. He thereby captured the emotional high ground and fired up his players at the same time.
Or perhaps it was simply a matter of talent.
Either way, the Jayhawks (10-2) had the clear edge Monday, rolling to a 51-30 victory over the Bruins (7-5) in the highest-scoring Aloha Bowl ever, played in front of an announced Aloha Stadium crowd of 41,112.
"I'm obviously disappointed to leave coaching on this note," said Donahue, who announced two weeks ago that he was retiring after 20 years as UCLA's head football coach to accept a job with CBS as a college-football analyst. "I wish I would have quit after the last game [his fifth consecutive victory over USC] and had somebody else take over for me today.
"I did not think that, if I lost today, I would feel as bad as I do. I'll get over it, but probably not as quick as I thought I would. You always focus on your last game, but I'm going to focus on the USC game rather than this. I wouldn't trade that one for this one anyway.
"Life goes on. I'm going to go on to what I'd already decided to do."
It seemed obvious from the start that this was not going to be a perfect ending for Donahue, who began his coaching career as a Kansas assistant 24 years ago after playing for UCLA as a defensive tackle in the mid-1960s.
Kansas took the opening kickoff, put together an 11-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a nine-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mark Williams to tight end Jim Moore, and the Jayhawks kept their offensive machine in high gear for the rest of the long, hot, humid afternoon.
Kansas rolled to a 17-0 first-half lead and increased that to 23-0 in the third quarter before the Bruins made a late run.
But in the end, the UCLA defense could not find a way to stop Williams, voted the Jayhawks' MVP for the game after completing 18 of 27 passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns. Williams set an Aloha Bowl record with a 77-yard touchdown pass to Isaac Byrd, and tied another Aloha record with the three scoring passes.
When Williams wasn't throwing, he was running. The mobile quarterback gained 48 yards on the ground, keeping the Bruin defense guessing all day.
And when Williams didn't keep the ball, he put it in the hands of one of several effective running backs. Led by June Henley's 107 yards on the ground, the Jayhawks rushed for 256 yards.
Impressive? UCLA linebacker Abdul McCullough chose to look inward rather than outward in assessing the game.
"I'd like to apologize to every one who came and saw us play," McCullough said. "Kansas should be [mad] because we didn't give them a game. We were just uninspired."
Not to mention a little beat up.
One of McCullough's fellow linebackers, Tommy Bennett, came to Hawaii thinking he wouldn't even play because of a badly sprained ankle. But the ankle began to loosen in the warm Honolulu weather and Bennett made it into starting lineup.
The other linebacker, Donnie Edwards, was also in the starting lineup, but, by halftime, he was in the trainer's room with an intravenous needle in his arm. Affected by the heat, Edwards became so dehydrated in the first half that his temperature shot up to 103 degrees.
Asked after the game what he thought of the first 30 minutes of the game, Edwards said he couldn't remember much of it. But he recovered enough to play in the second half.
Before the first half had ended, Kansas had added two more scores to their successful opening drive, getting a 49-yard scoring run from Henley and a 27-yard field goal from Jeff McCord.
In the locker room at the half, Donahue reiterated what he had said to his players before the game and in a Christmas Eve gathering.
"He told us how much the team meant to him," Bennett said. "He said that he was not going to a better job, but it was just that everybody had their time and it was his time to move on."
This time, the Bruins seemed to get the message. After the Jayhawks added a two-yard scoring run by Henley, UCLA got on the scoreboard on an eight-yard touchdown pass from Cade McNown to Brad Melsby.
But Williams answered with the long shot to Byrd and a 27-yard touchdown pass to Andre Carter. Before the game was over, Williams would add a six-yard scoring run and Eric Vann would dash 67 yards to the end, the longest touchdown run in the 15-year history of this game.