Tuesday, October 25, 2005


After three straight weeks of games against Sun Belt defects, Fresno State has a game with some meaning. Granted 3-4 (3-2) Hawaii is not having its best year, but the Warriors and Bulldogs absolutely hate each other. This game has become a great rivalry.

Fresno State has only won once on the at Hawaii since moving to Division I-A in 1969, and that was 11 years ago. Fresno State and Hawaii have had some memorable games, but the Warriors have usually come away with the upper hand. The Warriors spoiled Fresno State's perfect season in 1985 with a 24-24 tie at Bulldog Stadium and denied the Bulldogs chances at outright Western Athletic Conference titles with wins in on the Island in 1992 and 1999.

Fresno State's lone win at Hawaii, as a WAC member, back in 1994 was a mild upset. Hawaii was 2-1 with big wins over eventual Pac 10 champ Oregon and at Cal. Their only loss was a 13-12 loss to BYU. Fresno State was suffering A.D., after [Trent] Dilfer. The Bulldogs were 2-2. They were blown out by Ohio State and Washington State and had wins over two terrible teams, San Jose State and Oregon State.

Somehow, behind the arm of quarterback Richie Donati, Fresno State won 31-16. Donati did what Dilfer nor Kevin Sweeney could accomplish, win at Aloha Stadium. Since, Bulldog quarterbacks Billy Volek (twice), David Carr, and Paul Pinegar have all fallen short of a win at Hawaii.

Pinegar gets another shot against Hawaii on the road this weekend. Sweeney and Volek each failed in their second games at Hawaii. Fresno State enters this Saturday's game with a lot on the line. Like Pinegar, Sweeney and Volek's second game on the Island was huge and had bowl implications.

Sweeney lost his first game at Hawaii in 1984, but marched into Aloha Stadium on November 15, 1986 within striking distance of Doug Flutie's NCAA career passing record. The Bulldogs were 8-1 and were in consideration for an at-large berth into the Freedom Bowl if they finished the season 10-1. Hawaii was 5-3, but were an underdog at home. The Bulldogs lost the game 24-13, and their shot at a bowl game.

Volek lost his first game on the Island, as well, in 1997, but the second loss in 1999 cost Fresno State an outright WAC title. The 7-3 Bulldogs were on a 3 game winning streak, but Jeff Hanna missed a 57 yard field goal at the end of regulation and the game went into overtime. Fresno State could not pull out the win and lost in double overtime, 31-24.

Hopefully, Pinegar can erased the memories of past failures this Saturday. His first game at Aloha Stadium was a forgettable 55-28 beating.

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