HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Saturday night's match-up was expected to be the battle of two high powered offenses. But for Hawaii the big plays began with the defense.
On UMass's first drive of the game, Solomon Matautia's interception would get the Minutemen off the field in less than 60 seconds. Bring back out the Hawaii offense. The 'Bows capitalized on that opportunity. That's when for the first time in 2017 Hawaii found the end zone on a 29-yard run from Dru Brown.
"I kind of just went through my read," said Brown. "I actually got pushed off of my first read too quick and one of my guys came off to the sideline and told me he's open and I trust that he was. I slid up into the pocket because I felt a little pressure and then there was just no one there. I was like if I cant make it there I must be slow."
After UMass tied things up at seven, John Ursua once again gave U.H. the edge, showing his first flash of what was to come on an 85-yard touchdown reception.
"We ran a monkey route, so I have an option to fade or to bend it in," said Ursua. "As soon as I seen Drew pull it that first option is me or collie on the outside. But, as soon as I saw him pull it I knew I'd be able to split the seam. So it was just amazing to be able to catch that and turn up."
With things all tied up at half, the Minutemen came out of the break ready for battle. With UMass's dynamic offensive duo of quarterback Andrew Ford and Adam Breneman finally heating up, Hawaii found themselves in a 14 point hole late in the 3rd quarter...
But there was still fight left in the Warriors.
Up by four with just one-minute and 51-seconds left, the Minutemen were confident they had done enough to hold on for a win..
But, with Hawaii's offense in a critical third and long situation, Ursua not only picked-up a first down that would keep U.H.'s offense on the field - he added another 47 yards on the reception, putting his total for the day at 272 receiving yards. That's the fourth best single game performance in U.H. history.
"We made Ursua look like Jerry Rice," said UMass head coach Mark Whipple. "And Brown hung in there, and they did a good job at the end."
With 48 seconds left on the game clock Brown found Tui Unga in the end zone to give Hawaii a three-point lead. With that Brown tossed for a career high 391 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Now up 38-35, it was up to Hawaii's defense to hold on. The Rainbow Warriors were able to battled through the final seconds as the Minutemen ran out of time, earning Hawaii it's first win of the season.