The game between Hawaii and Fresno State at Aloha Stadium sported two of the bottom 25 teams in NCAA football. You might have thought that this game was going to be an even match but you would have been wrong. The spread saw Hawaii giving 4.5 and even when looking at their overall stats it seemed as though this would be an even-ish match.
(Update: Spread was said to be +7.5 Hawaii but was actually -4.5 Hawaii)
The game started off as a back and forth snooze-fest that only saw its first score with 57 seconds left in the 1st quarter. That scoring drive was fueled by three roughing the passer penalties by the Rainbow Warriors; two of those were on third downs. Zack Greenlee did his part on this drive, factoring in for 42 passing yards and finished it off with a 2 yard pass to Josiah Blandin.
You could say that Greenlee was responsible for 87 of the 91 yards of that drive (45 from roughing the passer penalties). While most in attendance had a quarrel with the calls, you just can’t have three personal fouls on a drive. To add to that Nick Nelson, a leader for the Hawaii defense, was ejected for targeting.
This spell of heavily penalized defensive play became a theme for the rest of the night for the home team. In the end, the first quarter ended with Fresno up 7-0.
With the crowd riled up, Hawaii went on a scoring drive of their own. Ikaika Woolsey led the Warriors 75 yards for their first score. He factored in 9 yards on the ground and 32 through the air, which included a 14 yard pass to Makoa Camanse-Stevens for the TD.
With the score now tied up at seven, Greenlee and Dustin Garrison led 75 yard drive to take the lead once more. This drive was once again filled with penalties that gave the Bulldogs 25 yards. One was especially controversial as an unnecessary roughness penalty was called on Ka’au Gifford for hitting Greenlee.
The flag was thrown on a play that the officials said was called dead due to a false start. However, no flags were thrown or whistles heard up till the hit was made. Nevertheless Greenlee took advantage of opportunities given to him and hit Chad Olsen for a 22 yard pass to re-take the lead; the score now 21-7.
The ensuing Hawaii possession led to a three and out and the visitors were off again. Greenlee led another scoring drive which saw Da’Mari Scott make his first catch of the night count for six.
Three possessions later he would add to his tally with another touchdown grab. At the end of the first half, FSU led 28-7.
Not much was going on to start the second half until fans noticed that Max Wittek took over at QB for Hawaii. That didn’t help much as his first pass was intercepted and setup the visitors for another touchdown. This time it was Marteze Waller with the grab to put Fresno State up 35-7.
Wittek immediately made amends by leading a 53 yard drive that took the Rainbow Warriors into the red zone. However, a fumble by Devan Stubblefield ended the drive prematurely.
Two fruitless drives sandwiched another red zone turnover by the home team. This time a 59 yard drive that Max Wittek propelled with 42 passing yards ended by his hands. He made a terrible decision and threw the ball straight to Fresno State’s Tyquwan Glass in the end zone.
The next Hawaii drive was a clear response to the poor decision making Wittek had displayed this quarter. Six out of the eight plays in the 67 yard drive were runs; this included the 1 yard touchdown hammered in by Melvin Davis.
Paul Harris led the drive with 27 yards rushing. This would put the home team within two possessions and the score at the end of the 3rd would be 35-14.
Zach Greenlee and the Bulldog offense would not let this score go unanswered. They would take the next drive 75 yards to increase the lead to three possessions once again. This drive was capped off by a huge 64 yard pass play to Jamire Jordan; the new score was 42-14.
FSU would force UH to punt after 5 plays and would effectively kill the game by possessing the ball for 10:19. Dustin Garrison and Dejonte O’Neal would combine for 63 yards on the ground.
However even with the running back tandem dominating the Hawaii defense, they would turn the ball over on downs.
The Rainbow Warrior offense would then get a final chance to score but the drive would once again end without points. The final score would be 42-14 Fresno State.
Zach Greenlee should be given the game ball as he ended up factoring in all six scores for Fresno State. He led their offense throughout the whole game and was a big help in preventing any turnovers.
With this win Fresno State solidifies Hawaii’s last place position in the West Division Standings. They will also more than likely leap over Hawaii in the bottom 25 ranks. Neither team will end up going to a bowl game but it appears the Bulldogs are heading in a more positive direction than the Rainbow Warriors.
Both programs have been powers in the past and will defiantly look to turn things around in 2016. Their final two games of 2015 will be key to setting the tone for next year.