Hawaii Pulls Off Big Upset Over Fresno State

Hawaii Pulls Off Big Upset Over Fresno State

Fresno State

Hawaii Pulls Off Big Upset Over Fresno State


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Hawaii Pulls Off Big Upset Over Fresno State

West Division is gonna be tough

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Warriors with the upset

When I woke up this morning I had to check my phone to make sure that I wasn’t dreaming last night.

The Warriors defended the home turf and beat the 18th ranked Fresno State Bulldogs 27-24 in a game that will surely be embedded in the minds of Hawaii fans for the rest of time. From the opening kickoff that saw Cameron Lockridge, a key piece of the Warriors defense being carted off the field, to the final snap where Calvin Turner Jr fumbled the ball yards from the Fresno State endzone, this team stayed together and battled all night. Adversity struck even before kick-off when it was announced that starting Quarterback Chevan Cordeiro was out with an injury and Freshman Brayden Schager would get his first career start against a ranked opponent. The most impressive part of this homecoming victory is that the team did it on their own.

Thanks to Governor Ige’s decision to not let fans in again, the Warriors got no emotional boost from a home crowd after any of the six turnovers they forced or that key defensive stop in the 4th quarter. They certainly got no hometown calls from the referees who gave Fresno State numerous questionable calls throughout the night. They brought their own juice and played inspired football in a rivalry game the way it is supposed to be done.

The Warriors forced a Jalen Cropper fumble on the game’s opening possession and Brayden Schager led the offense down the field and capitalized on the turnover with a touchdown. Contrary to what you would think a back-up freshman quarterback would look like on his first career drive, the Schager led offense looked efficient and displayed great tempo.

The same could not be said about the second and third quarters where the offensive play calling reverted back to its bland and predictable ways. At one point even the commentators could not believe that Hawaii was just throwing go routes and praying that a receiver would make a play. Just when things looked doomed, Bo Graham flipped the switch and we saw the Warriors march up and down the field in the 4th quarter. We saw crossing routes, short quick passes and Dae Dae Hunter exploding out of the backfield en route to a 127 yard night.

Schager finished the game a modest 11-27, 116 yards and 2 touchdowns but besides a fumble on a sack where he should’ve been more aware, he did a good job taking care of the ball. Yes he missed on some deep balls, but for an unexpected first start, you can’t ask for much more. It will be interesting to see if this win will create a quarterback controversy going forward when Cordiero is healthy.

The Warriors defense played their best game of the season. In fact, this is the best I’ve seen a Warriors defense play in years. Jake Haener came into the game with a 15-2 touchdown to interception ratio. Last night, the Warriors picked him off four times and also forced a fumble that led to the go ahead field goal. Khoury Bethley might have had the best single game defensive performance in program history.

He had 9 tackles, one sack, one forced fumble, and 2 interceptions. Quentin Frazier also came up big for the Bows with 9 tackles. His versatility was on full display last night as he flashed all over the field. He had a couple bad calls go against him including the roughing the passer on Haener where he was tackled into the QBs legs but it did not deter him from being aggressive all night.

When the Warriors brought pressure, they created chaos and Haener never looked comfortable. It was a great gameplan by the defensive coaching staff and great execution by the players. One of my keys to victory was to be opportunistic and this defense definitely checked off that box last night. Hard to not be impressed by this defensive performance.

Although we couldn’t celebrate the victory the way we should have, it was nice to see twitter going off and the effort being recognized by the fan base. Governor Ige’s sad excuse as to why it is safer to watch the game inside a bar or restaurant than the open aired stadium makes no sense and there is no science behind it. It is sad because this team deserved to celebrate with the fans.

This team deserved to bask in the glory of 9000 students, family members and fans rushing the TC Ching Field and embracing the home team after a hard fought rivalry victory. This team has clearly kept working regardless of the early struggles, what people have been saying about them and never gave up or threw in the towel on the season. They deserve to be recognized and appreciated and our Governor’s stubborn stance has prevented all of that.

The win moves the Warriors to 3-3 entering the bye week. The next game is in Reno against the Nevada Wolfpack on October 16th and it will be a good test to see if this team has turned the corner. As always, let’s go Bows!


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