Football: Hawaii win shootout at Louisiana Tech

Hawaii beats Bulldogs for first road win of the season.

RUSTIN, LA - The battle of high-powered passing offenses came down to the running game as Hawai`i outlasted Louisiana Tech, 44-41, in a Western Athletic Conference game at Joe Aillet Stadium Saturday. The win gave Hawai`i (4-3, 3-1 WAC) its first road victory in four tries this season and handed the Bulldogs its third league loss of the year.

The Warriors overcame five turnovers (4 interceptions and 1 fumble) and a command performance by Bulldog running back Ryan Moats, who gained 267 yards on 34 carries rushing and added 81 receiving yards, in front of 19,128 and a ESPN Regional telecast.

The game looked to be an offensive shootout after the teams combined for 31 points in the first quarter. Hawai`i outscored the Bulldogs, 21-10, on Chang's 10-of-13 for 232 yards and two touchdowns passing in the first quarter.

The second quarter was a different story. The Warrior defense neutralized the Bulldog offense despite three Chang interceptions. After a 28-yard field goal by Justin Ayat, Tech, unable to capitalize on the Warrior miscues, managed a touchdown just before the half to cut the Warrior lead to seven (24-17).

Tech turned to its running attack in the second half. Ryan Moats 2-yard TD run tied the game at the 6:41 mark in the third quarter, after a UH fumble by Chang.

Chang tossed his fourth interception of the game in the third quarter. And this time Tech took advantage of it. McCown hit Erick Franklin for a 16-yard score to give the Bulldogs their first lead of the game, 31-24, heading into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Hawai`i looked for its running game as well, and got it from Michael Brewster who carried three times for 32 yards on a 10-play, 80-yard drive that ended with an 8-yard touchdown pass from Chang to Chad Owens to tie the game at 31.

Tech answered with a 40-yard field goal by Josh Scobee to reclaim the lead, 34-31, with 8:45 to play. Two plays later, Chang hit Britton Komine, his first catch of the game, for a 56-yard touchdown to give Hawai`i the lead back at 37-34 after Justin Ayat's extra point attempt hit the left upright.

A celebration penalty forced UH to kickoff from its own 20-yard line. The La. Tech drive started at its own 37. McCown orchestrated a six-play, 62-yard drive capped by an 11-yard TD run by Moats to make it 41-37 at the 6:45 mark. Chang saved his best for last, completing 6-of-8 for 68 yards, including a 17-yard shovel pass to Brewster for the go-ahead touchdown (44-41) with 3:39 remaining. And the Warrior defense did the rest.

Warrior defensive pressure resulted in a season-high five sacks for the second straight week. Two Hawai`i receivers surpassed the century mark. Led by Owens who finished with eight catches for 162 yards and a TD (Cockheran finished with six receptions for 102 yards and a TD). Chang finished the game with 33-of-46 for a career-high 534 yards and five TDs.

Next week, the Warriors continue WAC play against UTEP in Homecoming Oct. 25 at Aloha Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

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