Oct. 12, 2008
HONOLULU -- Inoke Funaki threw for 224 yards and two touchdowns and Hawaii benefited from four Louisiana Tech turnovers as the Warriors downed the Bulldogs 24-14 at Aloha Stadium late Saturday night.
The win was the fourth for the Warriors (3-3, 2-1 WAC) in four tries against LA Tech (2-3, 0-2 WAC) on the island.
Despite controlling the football and most of the statistical categories for the majority of the opening two quarters, two costly fumbles and two missed field goals proved detrimental to Tech as the Bulldogs trailed 21-7 at the half.
Two more turnovers -- both interceptions -- in the final half prevented Tech from giving itself an opportunity to win.
"The story of this game was we turned the ball over too many times," said Tech head coach Derek Dooley. "I thought the kids played hard; I thought the effort was there. The execution at times was not. We moved the football, especially in the first half, but you can't give the ball away four times and expect to win."
Tech racked up 252 total yards of offense and 17 first downs in the opening 30 minutes but two scores late in the second quarter gave Hawaii the halftime advantage.
Funaki gave UH a 7-0 lead at the 5:56 mark of the first quarter on six-yard touchdown run, capping a five-play, 80-yard drive that was highlighted by a 53-yard pass play to Malcolm Lane. The drive came after Bulldog kicker Brad Oestriecher missed a 33-yard field goal attempt that would have given Tech the early lead.
The Bulldog offense then went on a 13-play, 76-yard drive following the Hawaii score but came up empty. Tech appeared to tie the game when Taylor Bennett hit R.P. Stuart for a 2-yard touchdown pass but an illegal block was called against the Bulldog nullifying the score.
After a pass interference penalty by the Warriors gave Tech a first and goal on the Hawaii 2-yard line, senior running back Patrick Jackson took a third-down handoff and was headed to the end zone when he was stripped of the football inside the one-yard line and UH recovered, ending another Bulldog threat.
The Bulldogs finally got on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter when Jackson scored on a 5-yard run, which capped an 11-play, 76-yard drive. Oestriecher's extra point knotted the game at 7-7.
On the ensuing Hawaii possession, the Bulldogs had Funaki hemmed in on a third-down and seven play before the mobile signal caller pulled away from the grasp of a Tech defensive lineman and scrambled 19-yards for a first down. Three plays later, Funaki connected for a 25-yard touchdown pass giving UH a 14-7 lead.
The Warriors special teams unit came up big on the ensuing kickoff as Phillip Livas fumbled and UH recovered at the Tech 46-yard line. It took only three plays for Hawaii to make it 21-7 as Funaki tossed a 20-yard touchdown giving the Warriors the halftime advantage.
Daniel Porter rushed for 70 yards in the opening half while Bennett threw for 118 yards as Tech totaled 252 yards on 46 plays. The Bulldogs took five straight offensive possessions inside Hawaii territory in the opening half but could only muster seven points.
Both defenses stiffened in the final two quarters of play.
Hawaii's lone score came on a Dan Kelly 30-yard field goal with 9:01 to play in the third quarter while the Bulldogs added a late touchdown when Myke Compton scooped up a fumbled snap and scampered 8-yards with 0:19 to play in the game.
"Defensively, we gave up some big plays but overall I thought we played well enough to give ourselves an opportunity," Dooley said. "We have to be able to score points and finish drives. We're still not doing that."
Tech totaled only 106 total yards in the second half and Bennett was pulled from the game after throwing his second interception of the third quarter. The interception came on the first play after Allen Gilbert blocked a UH punt, giving Tech the football on the Hawaii 34 with five minutes to play in the quarter.
Bennett ended the night 11-of-29 for 152 yards and two interceptions while Ross Jenkins completed 4-of-9 passes for 15 yards.
Porter led the Tech ground game with 82 yards while Jackson totaled 49 yards. Livas led all Bulldog receivers with 80 yards on six catches.
Tech returns to action Saturday when it hosts Idaho at 6 p.m. at Joe Aillet Stadium.