This year I'm going to try out a weekly look at the major news concerning Fresno State, Hawaii, and Nevada each week in order to keep us up to date on whats happening with those schools. With this feature I'm hoping to improve a bit on the coverage we get around here of Fresno State and Hawaii, while also keeping it brief since they're not in the MWC yet. I'd also like a catchier title, but my lack of creativity is getting in the way. With that, let's dive in.
The biggest news this week from these schools was Hawaii's win over new PAC-12 member Colorado in Honolulu on Saturday. While the nation's leading passing attack from a year ago sputtered some only going 20-33 with 178 yds and 1 touchdown, Hawaii QB Bryant Moniz found another way to generate offense running for 121 yds and three scores. Most surprising about this was he only ran for 102 yds all season last year, so it will be something to watch and see if he adds this aspect to his game this year, especially after the losses the team suffered in their receiving corp. This was a good statement game for the program, and they let the other WAC contenders know that they are ready to compete for the WAC title this season.
On the strength of his performance in this game, Moniz was named the WAC offensive player of the week. Teammate DE Paipai Falemalu took the defensive player of the week honors recording 6 tackles, 3 for a loss, and 2 sacks (he also takes my weekly award for fun names to say out loud).
This week: Hawaii @ Washington - Saturday 12:30 pm PT
Follow after the jump for looks at Nevada and Fresno State.
Nevada had an open date for the first week, and the waiting is the hardest part while this team gears up for it's tilt with Oregon in Eugene to open their season. Already linked by Jeremy in his Making the Rounds post was the suspension of two Nevada players for the Oregon game: safety Marlon Johnson, a starter last year, and WR L.J. Washington, a projected back-up. The loss of Johnson might sound bad at first, but he had already lost the starting job to redshirt freshman Charles Garrett, so the Pack will technically not be losing any starters with the suspensions. The reasons for the suspensions were not given.
In other news, Nick Hale seems to have emerged as the starter at running back, beating out the favorites for the starting job in Mike Ball and Lampford Mark. The latter two will still almost certainly recieve a good amount of carries, as the Pack will likely feature all three in some capacity during the year. Hale is seen as more of a bruiser type, and that fits well with the pistol. Ball is the more shifty of the three and Mark has the most break-away speed, but is coming off a torn ACL and might still be working to get himself all the way back. The "starter" could easily change in the coming weeks.
This week: Nevada @ Oregon - Saturday 12:30 pm PT
Fresno took a tough loss to Cal at home this past Saturday, watching new QB Derek Carr struggle in his first game with a line of 21-33 for 142 yds 1 TD 1 INT. An ankle injury to starting center Richard Helepiko in the first quarter was in part to blame, as it forced the Bulldogs to have to jumble their line for the rest of the game. The team said Tuesday that Helepiko would be out for "weeks", which will mean the already inexperienced line will need to find a way to cope without him. They'll be hoping for him to return by the start of divisional play in a few weeks.
This week: Fresno St @ Nebraska - Saturday 4:00 pm PT