After watching the Hawaii offense roll up some outrageous numbers, Mouse Davis broke down the performance to the simplest terms.
"Seventeen, 21 and 1 were outstanding," the run-and-shoot architect said. "No question about it."
Warriors quarterback Bryant Moniz (No. 17) posted career-best numbers for the second straight week, but the most remarkable stats belonged to slot receivers Kealoha Pilares (21) and Greg Salas (1) in the Warriors’ 41-21 win over Louisiana Tech last night at Aloha Stadium.
Pilares broke the school’s single-game record for receptions with 18 catches covering a career-high 217 yards and two touchdowns. He passed the record of 16 receptions set by Salas last season and became the first Hawaii receiver to break the 200-yard mark since Jason Rivers went for 306 against Arizona State in the 2006 Sheraton Hawaii Bowl.
"All those hours of watching film, lifting weights and stuff like that, it’s great to know you put in all that hard work and something comes out of it," Pilares said. "But there’s a lot more to go and I think our offense is moving well."
And, oh by the way, Salas enjoyed quite a night as well with 10 catches for 197 and two tackle-busting scores.
The slotbacks accounted for 67 percent of Moniz’s career-best 42 completions and 78 percent of his 532 yards.
"They were huge," Moniz said. "I would throw them 5-yard routes and they would turn it into 60-yard touchdowns."
Hawaii’s season-best 647 yards of total offense actually started with a loss when Moniz was sacked on the game’s first play. On the next snap, Salas made a one-handed stab at a throw that appeared destined to sail out of bounds. But the ball stuck in his right hand and he reeled in the throw for a 20-yard reception that settled the Warriors.
"I’m a real emotional player and it gets me just zoned in to another level," Salas said. "I hope it gave the team confidence, too, and we were able to go out there and execute."
Salas had five catches for 107 yards by early in the second quarter. Pilares took over from there with six receptions for 117 yards and two touchdowns over the remainder of the period.
His second touchdown came when he caught a short pass along the right side, juked a defender and sprinted down the sideline for a 66-yard score.
"This guy just makes people miss," Salas said. "I know every time he touches the ball someone’s going to miss, someone’s going to be on his highlight reel."
Salas caught six passes for 122 yards against LaTech last year, but came away unfulfilled as the Warriors were kept out of the end zone in a 27-6 loss in Ruston, La.
Although LaTech came to town with a new head coach — Sonny Dykes — defensive coordinator Tommy Spangler was among the holdovers. The Warriors spent much of the week revisiting the painful memories of last year’s loss to prepare for last night’s outburst.
"We watched film of what they did against us last year and we knew they would try to do the same thing," Salas said. "We came to the sideline and told (offensive coordinator Nick Rolovich) we don’t really need to go (outside), we need plays that are coming to the inside because they’re overloading. … We knew we had a lot of open field toward the middle of the field and I think we exploited that and Rolo started calling great plays."