Fresno State redshirt sophomore quarterback Zack Greenlee threw for a career-high 285 yards and six touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ 42-14 road victory at Hawaii Saturday night. (Darlene Wendels/The Collegian)
The Fresno State football team captured its first road win of the season, defeating the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors 42-14 Saturday night in Aloha Stadium.
“Our kids have grit. We challenged them to practice hard, and they did that,” head coach Tim DeRuyter said. “We took care of the ball on offense. We played with grit, and that’s what we have to do.”
The ‘Dogs (3-7, 2-5 MW) continued their dominance over the Warriors en route to their seventh-straight victory in the series.
This week, the ‘Dogs turned to redshirt sophomore quarterback Zack Greenlee to be at the helm of the offensive unit, and in his first start since Oct. 3, he answered the call. Things got off to a slow start as it took Greenlee four drives before he was able to finally complete his first pass of the game, just less than eight minutes in.
Greenlee’s first completion to sophomore tight end Chad Olsen did, however, spark the Fresno State passing unit. Thanks in large part to three Hawaii roughing-the-passer penalties on the drive, Greenlee was able to find junior Josiah Blandin on a 2-yard strike for the touchdown to cap the drive.
On the very next drive – following a quick Hawaii answer – Greenlee connected for his second touchdown pass, this time finding Olsen for a 22-yard score.
Following a great defensive stop by the ‘Dogs, Greenlee and the offense went back to work. On the 11th play of the drive, Greenlee found an open Da’Mari Scott for a 28-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 21-7.
“I think we just executed,” Greenlee said. “That was the main thing. We went out there, and [the wide receivers] made some great plays.”
Right before the half ended, following a 23-yard pass to Marteze Waller to set it up, Greenlee again found Scott, this time from 25 yards out to go into halftime with a 28-7 lead.
Fresno State was aided in the first half by 10 Hawaii penalties for 117 yards. Four of those were roughing-the-passer penalties that kept Bulldog drives alive and provided more opportunities for the offense to get in sync. Those penalties also came in handy for the ‘Dogs following a rough first quarter where they only managed 71 yards of total offense.
Things picked up in the second half right where they left off. After the defense’s second interception, it took the ‘Dogs only five plays for Greenlee to throw his fifth touchdown of the game to Waller, who came out of the backfield for the 6-yard score.
After the Warriors scored on a rushing touchdown late in the third, the ‘Dogs’ offense quickly responded to start off the fourth quarter. On the first play from scrimmage in the fourth, Greenlee connected with Jamire Jordan for a 64-yard bomb as Jordan tight-roped the sideline on his way to the end zone.
Greenlee’s sixth touchdown pass capped the scoring for the night as the ‘Dogs ran off the majority of the remaining 14 minutes on their final drive – a drive that accumulated 82 yards on 18 consecutive running plays totaling just over 10 minutes.
Greenlee finished the night setting new career highs in passing yards and touchdowns. He connected on 20-of-35 passing attempts, totaling 285 yards and six touchdowns. The redshirt sophomore’s breakout performance led the ‘Dogs to their season high in points, passing yards and total yards (455). His six touchdown passes were just one shy of the Fresno State record held by Derek Carr.
“For me to just sit in the pocket and get it to them and watch them go to work is awesome,” Greenlee said. “It’s a great game, and when it goes like this, it’s just beautiful.”
To add on to the offense’s breakout night, the defensive unit for Fresno State set a season high of its own. The ‘Dogs had four take-aways, setting the new season high, including three interceptions. The three picks in the game nearly matched their season total coming into the game as they had a total of just five picks in the first nine games combined.
“Any time you go on the road in conference, it’s difficult, especially coming out here,” DeRuyter said. “All these things for our young guys are huge to learn and prepare and do the right things and, most importantly, come out and execute.”