Fresno State vs. Hawaii: Keys For A Bulldogs Win
Will the Bulldogs struggle or dominate?
Offense, offense and some defense
Another week of college football has come and gone, and the Bulldogs once again allowed single-digit points. Wyoming scored three points a week ago and New Mexico scored one touchdown this past week. Not only have the Dogs allowed an average 4.3 PPG in MWC play, but Kirk Herbstreit gave Tedford’s team a shoutout on College Gameday.
The Bulldogs are playing stout defense and will need to keep that up with a tough Homecoming matchup against Hawaii. The Rainbow Warriors have had a great season as well, starting 6-1 before dropping their last two games coming into this one. Here’s how the Pride of the Valley can get another W and inch even closer to that AP Top 25.
Stop the Hawaii Pass Game
Hawaii seems to thrive passing the ball, but what else is new? Quarterback Cole McDonald is second in the nation in pass touchdowns and fifth in the country in passing yards this season. The Warriors are 30th in pass yards per game, and wide receiver John Ursua is having a terrific season and is tied for first in receiving yards. Ursua has five 100+-yard games this season and is already over 1000 yards receiving with 14 touchdowns to date. If they can stop the Hawaii passing attack, they will be in great shape.
Don’t underestimate Hawaii
The spread as of Thursday morning is -24.5 in Fresno State’s favor. To be quite honest that seems a bit surprising, but after taking a closer look it makes sense. The Bulldogs are so tough to beat at home, and it’s homecoming week, and this defense has allowed two touchdowns and a field goal in Mountain West play through three games.
Hawaii is a different team than anyone in the conference because of their potent offense, and the Bulldogs need to not let this become a trap game for them. Huge favorites, huge crowd, huge game. Don’t look past this team for one second.
Run, run, and run some more
Anytime you play a high-octane offense like Hawaii’s, clock management is huge. The longer the Dogs offense is on the field, the more the Rainbow Warriors lose the flow and momentum of the offense. We imagine the Bulldogs get an early lead like they have basically all season, and run the ball a lot after that.
Furthermore, the Bulldogs defense is first in the entire nation in three defensive categories- red zone, team passing efficiency, and scoring defense- so stopping Hawaii shouldn’t be a big problem for that unit. Get the lead, run the ball, let the defense do what its best at.
Prediction and Analysis
Fresno State was left out of the top 25 again, and Appalachian State was the last team in the poll (yes, you read that right, but will fall out after its loss on Thursday night). That Minnesota loss is the only reason they aren’t ranked right now, and a big win against a bowl-eligible Hawaii team would pad their resume a little bit.
This defense is probably the best unit in school history, and Tedford has played it safe a ton this year and gone into conservative mode after jumping ahead. Hawaii scores a touchdown, maybe two, but the Bulldogs defense forces turnovers and limits big plays. The Bulldogs get a victory on Homecoming night and jump into that beloved AP Top 25 come Sunday morning.
Fresno State Bulldogs 41, Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 10