Aug 10, 2020

Bulldog Game Day: Hawaii

Fresno State’s defense slowed down Louisiana Tech’s rushing
attack on this play and will need to duplicate that on the
Island against Hawaii on Saturday.
Dalton Runberg / The Collegian

Breakdown: Bulldogs

Fresno State was mathamatically eliminated from receiving a bowl bid last week when it lost to New Mexico State. The loss was the first against the Aggies in 18 meetings. Now that the ‘Dogs are not participating in the postseason, they will need to prepare for next season with a lot of players returning for next year. The preparation starts this weekend against Hawaii.Trips to the Island have always been tough for Fresno State during the history of Bulldog football. During the last trip to Hawaii, Fresno State came out fast and won the game, 42-17. The ‘Dogs will have to duplicate that this weekend.

It will all start with starting quarterback Derek Carr, who established the passing game against New Mexico State. Carr passed for 391 yards and three touchdowns.Carr will have running back Robbie Rouse at his disposal as he has been consistent all season long.

The main area to watch will be the defense that gave up 500 total yards of offense to the Aggies. Defensive coordinator Randy Stewart stepped down and now interim defensive coordinator Tim Skipper will need to adjust fast as the ‘Dogs face a passing squad in Hawaii.

Breakdown: Warriors

The series between Fresno State and Hawaii has dated back to early stages of the Western Athletic Conference. The current series is even at 21-21-1 and the last two meetings have ended in blowouts with Fresno State winning 42-17 in 2009 and Hawaii winning 49-27 last season. Hawaii will be without starting quarterback Bryant Moniz , who broke his ankle against Nevada last weekend. Moniz torched Fresno State for 376 yards last season.

When Moniz went down, senior Shane Austin stepped in at quarterback and passed for 232 yards and a touchdown. With an extra week to prepare, Austin could be ready for Fresno State, especially with the Warriors being able to replace passers and be successful.

Losing Moniz will also hurt in the running game as he is one of the top rushers on the team. Without much of a running back situation, Moniz was a threat not only through the air but on the ground.

On defense, Hawaii has the third-ranked rush defense and the fourth-ranked pass defense in the WAC. The Warriors have the second-ranked defense in the WAC and will challenge Fresno State all night.

Keys to Victory

1. Contain Air Assault

Fresno State will face the top passing offense in the Western Athletic Conference this weekend. Starting quarterback Bryant Moniz injured his ankle against Nevada last week, but regardless of who starts at quarterback the ‘Dogs will need to make stops.

2. Limit the ‘Big Play’

Limiting the big play goes a long way with slowing down the air assault. Fresno State has been rotaiting safties all season, and have put former wide receiver J.J. Stallworth at the position to make up for depth issues.

3. Continue making plays

In the recent loss against New Mexico State, the Fresno State offense wasn’t the problem as it put up almost 500 yards of total offense up. The ‘Dogs will need to challenge Hawaii’s defense all game long.

Position Matchups

When Fresno State runs:

Advantage – Fresno State

The Fresno State running game has been a team strength all season long, especially with Robbie Rouse behind starting quarterback Derek Carr.


When Hawaii runs:

Advantage – Fresno State

Fresno State’s run defense hasn’t been able to stop the top rushing attacks in the WAC, but will face the worst rushing team in the conference Saturday.


When Fresno State passes:

Advantage – Fresno State

Last Saturday, Fresno State unleashed quarterback Derek Carr and let him utilize his arm by hitting all of his weapons. The ‘Dogs severely need his contributions.


When Hawaii passes:

Advantage – Hawaii

Fresno State has to try and stop the Hawaii’s offense, which is like a machine as new quarterbacks just step up and throw touchdown passes.


Special teams:

Advantage – Even

Senior Kevin Goessling has given Fresno State a consistent scoring option in the kicking game, making eight of 12 field goals so far this season.

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