Who: Fresno State (3-4, 1-2 MWC)v.Hawaii (5-3, 2-2 MWC)
Where: Aloha Stadium, Honolulu, HI
How to Watch: Game will be broadcast on Facebook
Welp, last week sucked. After looking like they had completely righted the ship against UNLV, the Bulldogs laid a defensive egg against a reeling Colorado State team and fell, 41-31. Now they must go on the road to the islands to face a Hawaii team that is again using their “Fun and Shoot” offense to overpower opposing teams. If Fresno State wants any chance at staying alive in the West Division again, they must win this game. They also still need 3 wins to make a bowl game for the 3rd straight year, with Utah State and San Diego State to come in the next two weeks. Let’s take a look and see how the Dogs can keep their heads above water and win this one.
The biggest problem for the Dogs last week has to be missed tackling. So many plays that should have been short gains or even tackles for loss, only for the Colorado State player to bounce off and rip off a huge run. 27 missed tackles is a bad day for any team, but for one built on defensive dominance for the last two years, that’s a disaster. Yes, the back 7 for Fresno State is young this year, and injured, but the defensive regression is really concerning. That will need to improve against a team that is all about speed and spreading the defense out. Not to mention that Cole McDonald has added his legs into the offense in the last couple of weeks. All of the defensive players need to maintain their assignments completely, and actually wrap up. I know that it sounds incredibly simple, but that’s the difference between a dominant defense, and one that gets blown off the ball every time.
On the offensive side, they are looking a lot better over the last couple of weeks. Yes, they haven’t been playing very good defenses, but they’re facing the same with Hawaii this week. GET CROPPER THE BALL, YOU FOOLS. Even Reyna limited the turnovers, but still too many drops and overthrown balls to be truly successful. Maybe Marcus McMaryion spoiled us, but after three years under Tedford’s tutelage, you’d expect better things. There is an argument to going fully into the youth movement, but Reyna is still working for right now. The young receivers are getting better as we go, and the offensive line may finally be settled barring injuries, and Rivers and Hokit are still good at what they do. Just needs to put all the pieces together for the rest of the year.
I’m not even gonna try, after my last prediction was not even in the same universe as correct, I expect this one to get weird. This is close enough of a rivalry game that the games can get really interesting, and it’s on the islands. It just becomes a question of which Fresno State and Hawaii team shows up? I think it will be close either way. The Vegas spread has Hawaii as 2 point favorites, SP+ has Fresno State as 2 point favorites. Either way, stay up really late on Saturday and watch a Fresno State/Hawaii game for the Golden Screwdriver!