HONOLULU (AP) — J’Mar Smith threw one touchdown pass and ran for another in a big third quarter to lead Louisiana Tech to a 31-14 win over Hawaii in the Hawaii Bowl on Saturday night.
The Bulldogs (8-5) rallied from a 7-3 halftime deficit to secure their fifth bowl victory in as many seasons, a program first.
Smith threw for 285 yards on 19-of-31 passing with an interception. He tossed a 58-yard touchdown pass to Jaqwis Dancy and scored on a 4-yard run that was part of a 21-point third quarter.
Louisiana Tech took the lead for good on Israel Tucker’s 5-yard TD run with 10:27 left in the third.
Bulldogs defensive end Jaylon Ferguson became the NCAA’s career sacks leader when he dropped Hawaii quarterback Chevan Cordeiro for a 2-yard loss late in the third. Ferguson’s 45 sacks broke the previous mark set by Arizona State’s Terrell Suggs.
Hawaii played without wide receiver John Ursua, who leads the nation with 16 touchdown catches. Ursua, sidelined with an undisclosed injury, was ruled out just minutes before the start of the game.
The Bulldogs had a Hawaii Bowl-record nine sacks, four by Willie Baker. Amik Robertson had two of their three interceptions.
The Rainbow Warriors (8-6) were just 2 of 14 on third down and got penalized 12 times for 140 yards.
Louisiana Tech: The Bulldogs entered with the 28th-best pass defense in the country, allowing just 193.6 yards per game. They held Hawaii’s ninth-ranked passing offense to 168 yards, well below its average of 321.2 yards. Three of four starters in the secondary will be back for Louisiana Tech next season.
Hawaii: While the Rainbow Warriors were denied their second Hawaii Bowl victory in three seasons, they still improved by five wins from last year’s 3-9 record and finished with the program’s first winning season since 2010. All but three of 22 starters are expected to return next year.
Louisiana Tech, which will have to replace three of its four starting defensive linemen and five of its 11 defensive starters next year, will kick off at Texas on Aug. 31.
Hawaii opens against Arizona on Aug. 24, its first of three consecutive Pac-12 opponents to begin the 2019 season. It will host Oregon State the following week before visiting Washington.
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