Hawaii vs. Fresno State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday night’s matchup between the Rainbow Warriors and Bulldogs.
When: Saturday, Nov. 19 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Where: Bulldog Stadium, Fresno, California
Nick Rolovich’s Rainbow Warriors (4-7) have fallen on hard times as of late. In its last three games, Hawaii has lost to New Mexico, San Diego State and Boise State. The Rainbow Warriors’ last win came on Oct. 22 on the road at Air Force in double overtime, 34-27. After the most recent, 52-16, loss to the Broncos, Hawaii sits in third place in the Mountain West’s West division.
As for Fresno State (1-9), it’s simply trying to get to the offseason and begin its era under new head coach Jeff Tedford. The Bulldogs hired the former Cal head coach after firing Tim DeRuyter earlier this season. Fresno State hasn’t won since Week 2 when it took down Sacramento State, 31-3. Since then it’s fallen in eight straight games. The Bulldogs’ most recent loss came two weeks ago at Colorado State, 37-0.
Fresno State has controlled the all-time series with Hawaii, 26-21-1, and the Bulldogs have also taken the last five meetings with the Rainbow Warriors. Last season, Fresno State topped Hawaii in Honolulu, 42-14.
What To Know About Hawaii
Against Boise State, Hawaii quarterback Dru Brown was virtually nonexistent in the air. He threw a touchdown but completed only 16-of-31 passes for 125 yards. Keelan Ewaliko threw one pass, and it was picked off. But the one touchdown Brown threw was reeled in by John Ursua, who finished with two catches for 11 yards. Dakota Torres led the team with three receptions for 35 yards.
Paul Harris certainly took it upon himself to try and add a spark in the running game, but the Rainbow Warriors were never able to fully capitalize off his production. Harris ran for 145 yards on 14 carries but never broke into the end zone. Brown added 61 rushing yards on 11 carries, and Steven Lakalaka tacked on 19 yards on six attempts.
What to Know About Fresno State
The quarterback play for the Bulldogs wasn’t much better in their loss to Colorado State. Zach Kline connected on 11-of-24 throws for 147 yards and an interception. Chason Virgil threw only one pass, and that went for eight yards. Jamire Jordan led the team with three catches for 64 yards, and Michael Martens added 36 yards from two receptions.
Fresno State couldn’t generate anything on the ground either. Bryson Oglesby ran nine times for 39 yards, and Kline took off 17 times for 26 yards. Jordan picked up 15 yards on four carries, and as a team, the Bulldogs managed only 77 yards on 34 attempts.
Offense: Hawaii – Brown wasn’t great last time out, but Harris and Lakalaka can pack a punch in that backfield.
Defense: Fresno State – The Bulldogs allow 438.3 yards per game, and the Rainbow Warriors give up 467.2 yards per game. That isn’t a huge difference, but it’s something. Both defenses are subpar, though.
Special Teams: Hawaii – Rigoberto Sanchez has hit all 35 of his extra points and nailed all 11 field goal attempts. He’s accounted for 68 points.
Coaching: Hawaii – The Rainbow Warriors are the only team in this matchup that hasn’t had a coaching change this season, so that’s fairly simple.
Matchup To Watch
Hawaii running game vs. Fresno State defense
The quarterbacks on both teams are anything but miraculous. So, this matchup will come down to Hawaii’s tailbacks and Fresno State’s defense. Harris is coming off of a big game and can explode for 100-plus yards on any given Saturday. But if the Bulldogs try to stack the box against him, they can be hurt by Brown’s ability to run. Lakalaka will serve as an important change-of-pace option to keep Fresno State on its heels. If the Bulldogs can find a way to bottle them up, they’ll have a shot.
Spread: Hawaii -2.5
Hawaii vs. Fresno State Prediction
Whether it’s Virgil or Kline under center, Fresno State is going to have a hard time moving the ball through the air. Oglesby will get the majority of the touches in the running game, but he’ll be held to fewer than 75 rushing yards and will be kept out of the end zone. On the opposite side, Lakalaka and Harris will both cross the goal line for Hawaii. Brown will run one in, too, but he’ll also throw a touchdown. This game will be ugly, and the Rainbow Warriors will come out on top.
Hawaii vs. Fresno State Score Prediction: Hawaii 31, Fresno State 24