West Keliikipi caught a touchdown pass from Timmy Chang and rushed for another score in the fourth straight victory for the Warriors (6-3, 5-1 WAC), who were saved by the Spartans' failure to manage the clock in prime position for a tying or winning score.
After being shut out since the first quarter, San Jose State (2-6, 1-4) drove 84 yards in the final seconds, using up their timeouts along the way. Scott Rislov completed long passes to Leon Pinky and Jamall Broussard while moving inside the 10.
But Anderson was tackled at the goal line after a screen pass -- and though the scoreboard clock read 0:01 when Scott Rislov spiked the ball for San Jose State, the officials ruled time had expired.
After the officials sprinted off the field without an explanation, the Spartans confronted the celebrating Warriors at midfield. Many shoves were exchanged, but coaches prevented a fight from breaking out.
In the WAC version of a defensive battle, the teams combined for 39 first downs and 737 yards, but just three touchdowns. Chang threw two early interceptions, but finished 28-of-46 for 332 yards as Hawaii remained in second place in the conference standings behind 4-0 Boise State.
Playing in a game that began at 9 a.m. Hawaii time, the Warriors shook off a predictably slow start. Chad Owens caught nine passes for 149 yards, and Keliikipi caught a 15-yard TD pass from Chang late in the third quarter, capping the last of several lengthy drives.
Rislov passed for 223 yards, throwing a 28-yard TD pass to Pinky, a backup tight end who leads the Spartans with five scoring catches this season. Damarcus Ingram rushed for 92 yards for the Spartans.
Hawaii's defense clamped down after two early scoring drives for San Jose State. The Spartans gained 141 yards in the first quarter -- and just 101 more until their final drive.
Hawaii played its usual high-octane offense, with Chang throwing to nine receivers in the first half alone. The Warriors made several lengthy drives before halftime, but two ended in interceptions by linebacker Mike Liranzo as San Jose State took an early 10-0 lead.
Hawaii finally scored 1:10 before halftime on Keliikipi's 1-yard dive.