Hawaii vs. Fresno State Recap: Bulldogs Roll Over Warriors, 50-20
The Bulldogs strengthen their hold on first place in the Mountain West’s West division with a surprisingly easy blowout win over Hawaii.
The Bulldogs improve to 4-0 in Mountain West play.
FRESNO, Calif — The Fresno State Bulldogs did not waste much time in dispatching the Hawaii Warriors on Saturday night, buckling down after allowing a couple of big plays early to secure a 50-20 win.
Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald managed five passing plays of more than 15 yards but was mostly held in check by a game Bulldogs secondary, finishing just 17-of-28 for 226 yards, with one touchdown and one interception, before giving way to Jeremy Moussa once the game was well out of reach. He also had a fumble which was recovered by Fresno State defensive end Mykal Walker.
Marcus McMaryion, on the other hand, maintained his hot hand by going 21-of-31 for 284 yards and four passing touchdowns, completing his fourth straight game without a turnover. He got the running backs and tight ends in the mix early, as Jared Rice contributed 70 receiving yards and the duo of Dejonte O’Neal and Jordan Mims combined for 90 yards on six catches, but KeeSean Johnson led the way with a record-breaking performance.
Johnson, who has seen the highs and lows of the Bulldogs program over the last four years, finished with eight catches for 102 yards, surpassing Davante Adams as the program’s all-time leader in receptions.
Big plays were the name of the game for quite a while before Fresno State pulled away, however. Jamire Jordan pulled in a 49-yard touchdown after running wide open, but Hawaii answered with a 50-yard connection from McDonald to JoJo Ward. The Bulldogs were able to answer again on their next drive, though, thanks to a resurgent Ronnie Rivers. He ended the night with 125 yards on 11 carries, but his 76-yard run in the second quarter gave Fresno State a 21-10 lead that Hawaii would never really threaten again.
The biggest play of all, however, came courtesy of Jordan on special teams just before halftime. He took a Ryan Meskell field goal attempt from 53 yards and returned it for a “kick six”:
It was clear that Hawaii missed star linebacker Jahlani Tavai, who missed the game with injury, as the Warriors mustered just one tackle for loss and rarely threatened McMaryion with a pass rush, enabling Fresno State to average 8.4 yards per play in the first three quarters. The Bulldogs, on the other hand, collected five TFLs thanks mostly to Walker, who had 3.5 TFLs by himself.
The Warriors (6-4) will return home to host Utah State next Saturday, while Fresno State (7-1) will hope to earn a measure of revenge on the road next Saturday at UNLV.