HONOLULU (Ticker) -- Chad Owens may have made the play of the year, but it was the Hawaii defense that made big plays in the end to keep Northwestern from bowl contention.
Owens caught four touchdowns to go along with an amazing punt return TD to lead the Warriors to a 49-41 win over the Wildcats.
Northwestern (6-6) would have become bowl eligible with a victory.
Early in the third quarter, Owens fielded a punt at the Hawaii 24 and seemed to be tackled at midfield. However, Owens broke free from two tacklers and raced down the left side of the field to give the Warriors a 35-20 lead.
Owens also grabbed TD's of 11, 40, 35 and 16 yards from Timmy Chang, who threw for 405 yards, to erase a 20-7 second quarter deficit. Owens finished with nine receptions for 155 yards.
With the Warriors leading, 48-33, Wildcats' running back Noah Herron tried to power in for a touchdown on 4th-and-goal from the one, but he was stuffed at the line of scrimmage.
T.J. Jones trimmed the deficit when he blocked the ensuing Hawaii punt and returned it three yards for a touchdown. Brett Basanez hit Brandon Horn for the two-point conversion to cut the lead to eight.
But as the Wildcats were driving for the game-tying score, linebacker Leonard Peters intercepted Basanez' pass at the Warriors 30 with just over a minute remaining to seal the victory.
If Hawaii (6-5) can beat Michigan State at Aloha Stadium next week, it will become eligible to play in a bowl game.