Hawaii (1-6) at Fresno State (6-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bulldog Stadium (41,031) -- Fresno, California. Television: CSN+. Home Record: Hawaii 1-2, FSU 4-0. Away Record: Hawaii 0-4, FSU 2-3. Neutral Record: Hawaii 0-0, FSU 0-0. Conference Record: Hawaii 0-4, FSU 4-1. Series Record: Fresno State leads, 22-21-1.
GAME NOTES: Coming off one of their most impressive road games of the season, the Fresno State Bulldogs try to keep up the energy this weekend as they entertain the Hawaii Warriors in Mountain West Conference action in the Golden State.
It was a bit slow going early on for the Bulldogs during their stop in Albuquerque, trailing 21-0 early in the second quarter, but the team then busted out in a big way and cruised to a 49-32 victory in order to move three games over .500 and an impressive 4-1 in league play which has them in the hunt for the top spot in the standings.
With their second straight win and the fourth in the last five games, the Bulldogs have not only strengthened their resume for a bid in the postseason, they've also recorded two more wins than they had all of last year.
As for the Warriors, their transition to the MWC from the Western Athletic Conference hasn't been anywhere near as smooth as it has for FSU. While it isn't entirely due to a new set of adversaries, Hawaii hasn't defeated a single opponent from the Football Bowl Subdivision as of yet in 2012. The squad has just one win overall, that being a 54-2 thrashing of Lamar back in the middle of September, which means the program has dropped five games in a row after bowing to Colorado State in Fort Collins over the weekend, 42-27.
The last win for the Warriors against an FBS school was a 35-23 triumph over Tulane in late November, while the most recent conference victory was a month early on Oct. 29, 2011, a narrow 16-14 final over Idaho on the road.
Fresno State claimed a 24-21 win in the most recent meeting last season, which means the Bulldogs cling to a 22-21-1 advantage in the all-time series.
Hawaii, which had scored a combined 10 points in the first quarter in the six previous games heading into the meeting with Colorado State, hit up the Rams for 14 points, but still the visitors were no closer to snapping what is now a seven-game conference losing streak (bridging both the WAC and the MWC).
Quarterback Sean Schroeder was under constant pressure, completing just 19- of-46 passes for 200 yards and one touchdown. Unfortunately for him and the rest of the offense, CSU not only sacked the signal-caller four times, it also picked off three passes, two of which were returned for touchdowns late in order to secure the win for the Rams.
Despite missing the previous four games, Joey Iosefa made a contribution with a team-best and career-high 106 yards on 22 attempts, but he was held out of the end zone.
As has been the case for a number of years now, the Hawaii run game is limited in what it is able to accomplish and currently ranks ninth in the conference and 103rd in the nation with just 119.0 ypg. That used to be acceptable, given how explosive the Hawaii passing attack had become, but that is no longer the story as the squad generates just 183.4 ypg through the air which is also 103rd in the nation. Put it all together and this group is floundering with barely 300 ypg and 21.7 ppg.
It wouldn't be nearly as bad if the Hawaii defense were taking up some of the slack, but given that the unit has allowed FBS competition no less than 35 points in any one game, it should come as no surprise that the group is 117th in the nation with 42.3 ppg allowed. Just imagine if the game against Lamar, the one in which the Cardinals scored just two points, were not factored into that stat.
It wasn't pretty early on for the Bulldogs, but they pulled it together on both sides of the ball midway through the second quarter as they took out the Lobos on the road. Quarterback Derek Carr showed his resilience when, after throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown in the first frame, he responded by tossing four TD strikes and finishing 31-of-44 for 416 yards. Davante Adams was his favorite target as the receiver reeled in nine balls for 198 yards and two TDs, while Robbie Rouse ran for 120 yards and a score as well.
Rouse, who had a stretch of three straight games without a TD and failed to reach 100 yards in three of the last four outings, is now just one yards away from recording his third 1,000-yard campaign for the Bulldogs. Already the school's all-time leading rusher, the fact that Rouse is such a weapon makes Carr that much more dangerous as well.
The signal-caller is closing in on 3,000 passing yards for the second straight year and has already tied his single-season high for passing TDs with 26 which means he has plenty of more damage to inflict on the school's record books as long as he can remain healthy.
With a one-two punch like Rouse and Carr it will be tough for the Warriors to come close to keeping Fresno State from exploding on the scoreboard.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 45, Hawaii 17
10/31 10:37:52 ET