Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Hawaii Challenge

Anyone who knows me knows the hatred I have for the University of Hawaii. I think all true Fresno State fans hold a hated for the Warriors that cannot be rivaled by any other team. Hawaii has been a rival to the Bulldogs in every sport for as long as I can remember. If it isn't football then it's basketball. If it isn't basketball then it's baseball. If it isn't baseball then it's women's softball and so on. There is absolutely no love lost on the field of play when it comes to Fresno State and Hawaii. Pat Hill is known for taking his foot off of the gas pedal when Fresno State jumps out to a big lead, that is of course unless the Dogs are playing Hawaii. Hawaii on the other hand tends to score uncontrollably regardless of who is on the opposite side of the field. Saturday Fresno State faces one of the toughest challenges of the season when they travel to Hawaii to take on the Warriors. Fresno State has not fared well on the island the last twenty years. However the Dogs did win their last game in Hawaii during the 2005 season. In that game the Bulldogs used a strong defensive performance to hold a rather inexperienced Colt Brennan and his offense to 13 points. This year the story will be much different. Fresno State will be at an decided disadvantage if for no other reason than the list below:

2007 Bulldog Injuries

LB Ahijah Lane - starter - completely out
OG Cole Popovich - starter - playing hurt
DT Jason Roberts - starter - completely out
DE Ikenna Ike - starter - completely out
OG Adam McDowell - starter - completely out
RB Lonyae Miller - starter - may return
RB Ryan Mathews - starter - status conditional
C Joe Bernardi - starter - completely out
WR Chastin West - starter - completely out
WR Marlin Moore - starter - playing back in
LB Ryan Machado - backup - completely out
LB Ryan McKinley - backup - playing back in
TE/HB Isaac Kinter - backup - playing well now
LB Nico Herron - backup - may be called in
LB Robert Schenck - backup - completely out
RB Jamal Rashad - backup - completely out
DE Taylor Smith - backup - completely out
CB Will Harding - backup - status unknown
WR Shannon Dorsey - backup - completely out
S Terrence Dennis - true frosh - completely out
LB Austin Raphael - true frosh - completely out
OT Eric Sproal - true frosh - completely out
(Thanks to BarkBoard Poster ARX for the list provided above)

The Bulldogs will head into the game against Hawaii missing numerous contributors who would have had the opportunity to make a difference in a game of this magnitude. With all of these injuries the Dogs will count on many second and third team players to come in and do their very best to stop the Warriors potent passing attack. This game could end many different ways but below is how I feel it will end given the state of the Bulldogs at the present time.

Fresno State will continue to try and control the clock against Hawaii. However, if Matthews, Miller, and Pascoe are not on the field I have no idea how the Dogs will be able to do so. Clifton Smith has done a great job filling in at RB but lacks the strength to take a pounding for the entire game. Anthony Harding will spell Smith when Smith needs a breather. While Harding can take a pounding he seems to lack the vision that both Smith and Matthews have. Fresno State is not going to be able to sustain a drive if Tom Brandstater cannot complete third down passes. We will continually be facing third and long in this game due to the state of our running game so once again we will be relying on our QB to get us over the hump. Hopefully J-Mac will come up with various creative plays to keep Hawaii's defense on it's heels because if he doesn't the Dogs will have very little chance to be successful on offense.

Hawaii's offense will score and will score often. Fresno State's corners tend to give far too much of a cushion and Hawaii takes advantage of quick short routes. The Dogs will allow Hawaii the five yard route because they always seem to. I expect Hawaii to score at least fifty this weekend on the island because our offense is missing too much to be successful and our defense will be on the field too long to stop the Warriors consistently. I do believe our special teams returners such as A.J. Jefferson will give us great field position. He will have a chance to return plenty of kickoffs as Hawaii will get in the end zone often. I don't believe Smith will be much of an advantage on punt returns because he won't be fielding many punts in the first place. With all of this being said I see a game where Fresno State comes out and fights hard. Unfortunately I do not think the Dogs will be able to recover from their massive injury list and will lose this game convincingly. This is not a knock to the Bulldogs. They have played their hearts out this season and I believe they will fight hard once again come Saturday night. Sometimes injuries catch up to you and there is literally nothing you can do about it. That is where the Bulldogs currently stand. If the Dogs were healthy I believe this would be one of the better games in the 2007 season. Unfortunately that is not the case and it is going to take the Dogs best game of the season to keep this one close.

Hawaii - 51
Fresno State - 24

3 comments:

SF State Gators said...

I still don't know about Hawai'i. They let Utah State put up 37 points on them at home, they have looked awful any time they played away from Aloha, and Brennan just has not been the baller he was last year. I am really not convinced that this team in completely invincible at home, even with a team as banged up as the Bulldogs. This team is by far the best football team that the Rainbows will have faced all year up to this point, and I don't know if they are going to roll over this team, injured as it may be, so easily.

Anonymous said...

I heard that their QB was playing injured for about three games including the Utah State game. I’m pretty sure he didn’t even play the whole game against Utah. The backup QB did a lot of the scoring. If colt brenan is completely healed after their two bye weeks we might be in huge trouble with their pass attack. Hopefully our running game should screw up their defense up since I assume their RBs do not give their defense much to practice with. What worries me is that 0-9 Utah State scored 20 points on us in the second half and the Warriors are not the Aggies.

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