FRESNO STATE VS. HAWAII, 4 p.m. Saturday at Bulldog Stadium
KEYS TO SUCCESS
FOR FRESNO STATE
Hawaii obviously is struggling through some growing pains and personnel issues switching to a pro-style offense from the spread. Take away the run in this game, and the Warriors won't have much. The Bulldogs want Hawaii to have to put the ball in the air and deal with Fresno State's pressure and blitzes.
The Warriors need to find ways to pressure Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr -- and that's not something he's had to deal with much at Bulldog Stadium, where Fresno State is averaging 555 yards and 50 points per game. Do that, and Hawaii might have a chance to get the Bulldogs off the field on third downs.
Quarterback: Derek Carr
Backfield: Robbie Rouse, RB
Wide receivers: Victor Dean or Josh Harper, Isaiah Burse, Rashad Evans, Davante Adams
Tight end: Marcel Jensen
Offensive line: Austin Wentworth, LT; Matt Hunt, LG; Richard Helepiko, C; Cody Wichmann, RG; Alex Fifita, RT
Defensive line: Nikko Motta, DE; Tyeler Davison, NG; Andy Jennings, DE
Linebackers: Tristan Okpalaugo or Shawn Plummer, OLB; Travis Brown, MLB; Jeremiah Toma, MLB; Donavon Lewis, OLB
Secondary: L.J. Jones, CB; Phillip Thomas, SS; Derron Smith, FS; Sean Alston, CB
Special teams: Quentin Breshears, PK; Garrett Swanson, KO; Andrew Shapiro, P; Chad Preacher, LS; Andrew Shapiro, PH; Isaiah Burse, KR or Milton Knox, KR; Rashad Evans, PR
Quarterback: Sean Schroeder
Backfield: Joey Iosefa or Will Gregory or John Lister, RB; Scott Harding or Ryan Hall, FB
Wide receivers: Chris Gant, Billy Ray Stutzmann
Tight end: Harold Moleni
Offensive line: Blake Muir, LT; Kody Afusia, LG; Ben Clarke, C; Dave Lefotu, RG; Mike Milovale, RT
Defensive line: Paipai Falemalu, DE; Siasau Matagiese, DT; Haku Correa, NT; Beau Yap, DE
Linebackers: Art Laurel, LB; Benetton Fonua, MLB; Jerrol Garcia-Williams, WLB
Secondary: Tony Grimes, CB; John Hardy-Tuliau, SS; Marrell Jackson, FS; Mike Edwards, CB
Special teams: Alex Dunnachie, P; Tyler Hadden, PK; Luke Ingram, LS; Cayman Shutter, H; Mike Edwards, KR; Scott Harding, PR
Chow's Carr memories: Years ago, Hawaii coach Norm Chow probably watched and maybe chuckled a bit. He probably will see no humor in the situation when he sees Derek Carr on a football field again, though.
It has been awhile, but their paths have crossed before.
"My son worked for the Houston Texans back when his brother (David Carr) was quarterback and I went down there and saw this little kid running around," Chow said this week. "I reminded Derek about that. He was a little kid running around the practice field watching the older brother play."
The Carr that Chow will see tonight has completed 68.4% of his passes for 2,766 yards and 26 touchdowns to rank second in yardage and tied for second in touchdowns in the bowl subdivision.
"They have such good talent; they're not necessarily an over-the-top team," Chow said. "They'll throw some intermediate balls and then break tackles. They're so talented. They make good plays and they present a real problem."
Takeaway game: Fresno State has forced 23 turnovers and figures to have a few chances against a Warriors offense that has a few ball-security issues.
Hawaii has played the fewest number of games of any team in the Mountain West, but still ranks last in the conference in turnovers lost. The Warriors in seven games have given up the football 20 times (12 on fumbles and eight on interceptions) and are minus-10 in turnover margin.
Kickoff forces colliding: Ranking last in the Mountain West in scoring defense, Hawaii has had a lot of chances to return kickoffs this season -- the Warriors have a league-high 39 returns. But they also are doing a lot with those opportunities, with Mike Edwards averaging 30.5 yards and scoring twice on his 29 returns.
A year ago that might have been a big problem for the Bulldogs, who gave up 24.5 yards per return and ranked 112th of 120 bowl subdivision teams in kickoff return yardage defense.
But, as with many things, Fresno State has turned around that number this season, allowing only 18.8 yards per return to rank 22nd.
All-time series: Fresno State leads the series with Hawaii 22-21-1 and is 12-7-1 at Bulldog Stadium. But the Bulldogs have lost three games in a row at home to the Warriors, their last win coming in 2004.
Adams pulling away: Davante Adams, the Fresno State redshirt freshman receiver, is leading the Mountain West with 65 receptions, 814 receiving yards and nine touchdown receptions.
The 65 receptions are 14 more than any other receiver in the Mountain West, the 814 receiving yards 139 more than anyone else in the conference and the nine touchdown catches are three more.
The 65 receptions also are more than the Warriors' top three receivers combined -- Jeremiah Ostrowski is leading Hawaii with 25 catches, Billy Ray Stutzmann has 20 and Trevor Davis has 15.
200th game and more milestones? Fresno State will be playing its 200th game at Bulldog Stadium tonight -- the home venue opening on Nov. 25, 1980, with a 21-14 victory over Montana State.
And it could hold more history tonight:
Running back Robbie Rouse is just one yard shy of becoming the first Fresno State player to rush for 1,000 yards in three seasons, needs just four receptions to reach 100 for his career and 155 all-purpose yards to join Bernard Berrian as the only Bulldog to top 5,000.
Junior receiver Isaiah Burse needs three receptions to reach 100 for his career.
Carr needs 234 passing yards to hit 3,000 and join Trent Dilfer as the only quarterbacks in school history to pass that mark in back-to-back seasons. Dilfer passed for 3,000 yards in 1992 and 3,799 in 1993.
This date in Bulldogs history -- Nov. 3, 1961: Motivated by a potential bowl berth, Fresno State improved to 7-0 with a victory at Long Beach.
Bruce Farris reported on the game for The Bee: "It's on to the Mercy Bowl for Fresno State College's unbeaten Bulldogs, who clinched the bid and their fourth straight California Collegiate Athletic Association title last night by steam rolling the Long Beach State Forty Niners, 37 to 14. There never was much doubt in the outcome as coach Cecil Coleman's crew deviated from their usual script by going to work early and squashing the upset hopes of nearly 5,000 Veterans Stadium fans with a pair of touchdowns in the first period."
The Bulldogs finished the 1961 season 10-0 after beating Bowling Green in the Mercy Bowl. To learn how the Bulldogs built their big lead against Long Beach, listen to Paul Loeffler on "Bulldog Live" starting at 2 p.m. today on KMJ (AM 580).