RUSTON, La. >> Louisiana Tech sophomore running back Ryan Moats joined some pretty good company yesterday, climbing into the Hawaii record book right behind Ron Dayne, Marshall Faulk, LaDainian Tomlinson, Deonce Whitaker and Terry Metcalf.
The 267 yards Moats gained rushing put him right behind Metcalf on the list of runners who have bulled, darted and slashed their way through UH defenses.
"Moats was just gaining the fans, and good things were happening," Bulldogs coach Jack Bicknell said. "He was hurt early in the year, and he's young. We're just now finding out how good he is."
But Bicknell and Moats would trade the 267 for 1 -- as in a victory yesterday instead of a 44-41 homecoming loss to the Warriors.
"I think at the beginning, when I had that long one, I started feeling it. That's when I realized I could get through the line," said Moats, who had a 16-yard run to set up LaTech's first touchdown.
"It's all about winning though."
That's how Hawaii defensive coordinator George Lumpkin and his players feel.
Lumpkin, in his 31st year of coaching, was asked if he'd ever been involved in a game where a running back went this wild only to be on the losing end.
"I don't know. I can't remember. All I know is we won, and that's the important thing," Lumpkin said. "We knew they had a good running back, and we felt like he was going to get a few yards. Not as much as he did though."
The Warriors were willing to give up yards on the ground as long as they could get to quarterback Luke McCown while at the same time not allowing the Bulldogs to make big gains with their most effective play -- the screen pass.
It worked for the most part, helping UH get some early stops on the way to a 24-10 lead.
"We wanted to get upfield and we wanted to defend against the screen. We felt they'd really want to throw the ball," Lumpkin said. "And we have good athletes, good pass rushers, who don't give up."
Using quick players like Mel Purcell and Abu Ma'afala extensively up front was almost as much by necessity as design, since the defensive coaches weren't sure how much they could get out of big tackles Isaac Sopoaga and Lui Fuga (both are battling knee injuries).
And rush end Travis LaBoy was asked to perform a special task.
"Travis spying for the screen. That worked pretty good," Lumpkin said.
Also, strong safety Hyrum Peters moved up to a linebacker spot, allowing another safety, David Gilmore, in the game to help stop the pass.
Peters had 10 tackles, including a sack, while Gilmore was in on 11 stops. He also intercepted a pass.
"It worked," Peters said. "The main thing was we didn't give up. We learned how to win on the road and now we can be a good football team.
"They found the weakness in the defense we were playing. They found some holes. But then we finally found a way to stop it."
Eventually, Moats took over the game -- and almost won it for LaTech.
"He's a heckuva player. I never realized he's that good. I hope he's a senior," Hawaii coach June Jones said of Moats.
And when told he's a sophomore: "Oh my gosh."