FACTS & STATS: Site: Bulldog Stadium (41,031) — Fresno, California.
Television: Mountain West Network. Home Record: Hawaii 3-4, Fresno State 3-2.
Away Record: Hawaii 1-4, Fresno State 2-4. Neutral Record: Hawaii 0-0, Fresno
State 0-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 3-4, Fresno State 4-3. Series Record:
Fresno State leads, 24-21-1.
GAME NOTES: The Fresno State Bulldogs vie for the top spot in the West
Division of the Mountain West Conference when they close out the regular
season against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors on Saturday.
The Bulldogs, who have up and down during the 2014 campaign after being the
team to beat in the MWC in 2013, can take the title in the division with a win
in this contest, which would then push them into the conference title game for
the second straight year.
The definition of streaky, FSU has had a pair of three-game losing streaks
and, should they win this weekend, would also have a couple of three-game win
streaks in the same season. The team is coming off a much-needed 40-20 win
against Nevada on the road last week, keeping the dream of postseason play
Strangely enough, the Rainbow Warriors also have an outside shot at capturing
the division title as well, but in addition to a win against Fresno State the
islanders need everything to align perfectly in order to come out of nowhere
and win the division, even with a losing record overall. The team defeated
UNLV last week at home, 37-35, marking their first win streak of the season.
Prior to defeating San Jose State on the mainland back on Nov. 15 (13-0), the
Warriors owned one of the longest road losing streaks in the nation and now
they actually have a slim chance at winning the division of they can win this
contest and also have both Nevada and San Diego State both come up empty in
their final games of the regular season.
Thanks to a 42-37 win in last year’s encounter with Hawaii, the lead in the
series for the Bulldogs now stands at 24-21-1.
The Warriors built a double-digit lead against UNLV in the fourth quarter last
week, but then fell behind later in the period before Ikaika Woolsey threw a
20-yard TD pass to Marcus Kemp as time expired. Woolsey completed 13-of-21
passes for 229 yards and the lone score, while Joey Iosefa erupted for a game-
high 219 yards and two TDs on 35 rushing attempts.
Providing the Hawaii defense with some punch was Ne’Quan Phillips who not only
led the way with 10 tackles, he also delivered three stops behind the line of
scrimmage, including a pair of sacks. The team held UNLV to a mere 51 yards on
the ground, the second time this season the unit limited an opponent to less
than 100 yards this season.
The run defense has been mediocre for the Warriors this season, allowing 172.4
ypg which ranks them 74th in the country, but at least it has performed better
than the secondary which is 96th nationally with 252.8 ypg and is ranked 101st
in terms of efficiency with a rating of 140.04.
After being a program that passed the ball almost exclusively, the Warriors
not find themselves with a legitimate rushing attack thanks to Iosefa who
became the ninth player in team history to gain 2,000 yards in his career.
The Bulldogs kicked their offense into gear last week, running 95 plays and
generating 518 yards as they beat up on Nevada at Mackey Stadium. Quarterback
Brian Burrell connected on 24-of-45 passes for 308 yards and four touchdowns,
countering his one interception and three sacks. Aaron Peck caught four balls
for 71 yards, two of those being stretched into the end zone.
The defense for Fresno State came up with three sacks, one of those being
produced by Tyeler Davison who tallied eight stops altogether, 2.5 TFL, one
forced fumble and one recovery for the visitors. Karl Mickelsen also had one
of those sacks, to go along with his interception.
Interceptions have been hard to come by this season, as the team has just
seven in 11 games, compared to 14 for the competition. Two of those picks can
be attributed to Kyrie Wilson who is also tops on the team with 79 tackles.
On the offensive side, while the team has juggled quarterbacks a bit this
season, the always-reliable Josh Harper has been down the field waiting for
passes from anyone who is willing to throw his way. He has 68 catches, 43 more
than his closest teammate, for 858 yards and seven touchdowns.
Off to an 0-3 start for the first time since 1998, the Bulldogs have never
finished a season with a winning record after starting out so poorly. The
squad won’t make it happen here with a victory either, but at least they
control their own destiny when it comes to playing in the postseason and for
now that’s the ultimate goal.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 38, Hawaii 17