Losing streak no more.
The Rainbow Warrior football team overcame an early 10-0 deficit against the San Jose State Spartans Saturday night at Aloha Stadium, 37-26.
Hawaii (3-4, 1-3 MWC) leaned heavily on running back Diocemy Saint Juste and the running game to shrug off the Spartans (1-7, 0-4 MWC) and snap the team’s four-game skid.
With a program record 39 carries, Saint Juste cemented himself in the record books on a few occasions tonight.
Not only did he set a record in carries, he also rushed for more than 200 yards in consecutive games, recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons and moved past Michael Carter for second all-time in career rushing yards in program history.
Warriors quarterback Dru Brown passed for 173 yards on 12-of-23 passing and a touchdown, while Keelan Ewaliko led the team in receiving yards with 82 yards on three receptions.
The scoring started early for San Jose State in the first with a Bryce Crawford field goal, followed by a 15-yard touchdown from quarterback Aaron Montel to Rahshead Johnson. Saint Juste brought the Warriors back into the game in the second quarter with a one-yard plunge into the end zone to trail 10-7.
Monetel finished with 322 yards on 17-of-27 passing and two touchdowns with one interception.
In the closing minutes of the first half, Brown checked out of the game for backup Cole McDonald who threw his first touchdown pass of his career to Dakota Torres in the red zone to go ahead 14-10.
With seconds left, Crawford nailed a 52-yard field goal to make it a one-point deficit at the half.
An acrobatic Dylan Collie reception gave the Warriors a 21-13 lead 10 minutes before Aaron and Johnson connected once again on a 59-yard score.
Another Saint Juste touchdown in the fourth put the Warriors ahead 28-20, but not for long.
Johnson was at it again on the ensuing kickoff return for a 96-yard score. Unfortunately for the Spartans, an excessive celebration penalty backed their special teams up for the point-after, allowing Warriors defensive lineman Viane Moala to block the PAT, which was returned for a two-point defensive conversion.
Two minutes later, Hawaii running back Ryan Tuiasoa shut the door on any chance of a comeback with a three-yard touchdown run to go ahead 37-26.
Johnson, despite the loss, finished with three total touchdowns on the day for San Jose State in addition to his 93 receiving yards.
Even though the victory was huge for the Warriors going into their bye week, No. 1 receiver John Ursua went down with a knee injury and did not return. He was spotted on the sidelines on crutches and with a brace around his right knee.
The Warriors will have to rely on the play of Saint Juste moving forward until Ursua’s status is known.
Hawaii will have its bye week next Saturday before taking on the San Diego State Aztecs at home.
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