Who: Fresno State (2-7, 1-5 MW) at Hawai'i (2-8, 0-6 MW)
When: Saturday, Nov. 14, 2015
Time: 6:00 p.m.
Where: Hawaiian Airlines Field at Aloha Stadium (50,000)
Television: Televised live locally in O'ahu and statewide on Oceanic Pay-Per-View (Digital Ch. 255 and HD Ch. 1255) and Hawaiian Telcom Pay-Per-View (Ch. 969), with Robert Kekaula (play-by-play) and Rich Miano (analyst).
Radio: ESPN 1420 AM will carry the game live with Bobby Curran (play-by-play) and John Veneri (analyst). Chris Hart and Gary Dickman host the "Countdown To Kickoff" beginning at 4:00 p.m., and also the halftime show. Neighbor islands can listen live on KNUI on Maui, KHLO in Hilo, KKON in Kona, KTOH on Kaua'i, and KNWJ in Pago Pago, American Samoa. In addition, the game is available on satellite radio on XM 203 and Sirius 93.
Steaming Video: Live video for those outside of the Hawaiian Islands at www.theMW.com
Audio Webcast: Live audio streaming on www.espn1420am.com
Live Stats: Live in-game stats provided by HawaiiAthletics.com
Series Information: 48th meeting, FS leads 25-21-1 and UH leads 14-12 in Honolulu
Notes from Naeole:
One of the notable changes since Naeole has been captain of the ship was his decision to start quarterback Ikaika Woolsey in place of Max Wittek. In the loss at UNLV, Woolsey passed for 187 yards, completed 16 out of 33 attempts and was picked off once. Despite not having a great day statistically, “He’s still the guy.” Naeole said. “He didn’t do anything to disrupt himself from not being the guy.” Hawaii’s receiving corps has been plagued with drops throughout the year, and the same problem continued on Saturday night.
One positive takeaway from Saturday’s contest was the career performance by junior running back Paul Harris, who scampered for 190 yards on 20 attempts, an average of 9.5 yards per carry. Harris ran for one TD along with a 72 yard outburst to put Hawaii in UNLV territory, but lost two fumbles. Harris’ success via the ground can be attributed to Coach Naeole’s offensive line unit. “Those guys have been doing a good job, my graduate assistant coaching them right now, he’s doing a great job.” said Naeole.
The Rainbow Warriors have not been able to finish games so far in 2015, and every Saturday it appears that the defense runs out of steam in the last quarter. Although the defensive unit has been hit with a string of injuries diminishing their depth, “You can’t have excuses, it’s a next man up mentality.” says Naeole. “You just have to play. Fresno always plays tough, it’s a 2 chin strap game, bring your lunch pail and get ready to go to war.”
With just one game under his belt as the head man, Naeole has embraced every opportunity to take in advice on his new role. “I got a chance to talk to Dick Thome and he gave me good advice.” said Naeole. He also received counsel from longtime referee George Gusman on how to talk to officials, and managing game time situations between the Head Coach and the officiating crew.
Coach Naeole is enjoying the opportunity to lead the Rainbow Warriors, and is focused on this Saturday’s matchup versus the Bulldogs. “I can actually sleep now.” Naeole said. “I feel pretty confident this week knowing what to expect and try to manage the game.”
Woolsey Remains Starter:
In a 28-21 defeat last year in Fresno, Woolsey finished the night with three touchdowns and two interceptions, passing for 247 yards on 22 of 39 attempts. After getting down 28-0 in the first half, the Rainbow Warriors scored 21 points in the 4th quarter but still fell short of the comeback. The Bulldogs defense sacked Woolsey six times in last year’s contest. “They definitely have a pretty good defense, pretty similar to last year.” Woolsey said. “They like to bring a lot of pressure and they have a lot of veterans on the squad so it will be a hard fought battle.”
Woolsey understands that he must avoid being sacked whether it be getting rid of the ball quicker or simply throwing it away. His preparation during this week of practice is crucial.
“We try to continue to get better when we come out here.” said Woolsey. He added, “Every day is a work day and we have to get ready for Saturday.”
Mason Faces Familiar Foe:
Defensive Coordinator Tom Mason will be on opposite sidelines in this heated rivalry that he was accustomed to in the early to mid 2000s. Mason served as Pat Hill’s linebacker coach from 2001-07. Both teams come in with the same record, but the players and coaches still know what’s at stake.
“It’s like a rivalry game to both teams, take out all the records and throw em out and let’s play.” said Mason.
Currently the Rainbow Warriors defense has surrendered 449.8 yards per game along with 35.3 points. Mason hopes his defense can rebound against a team who is still trying to find their identity on offense.
“That’s a football team that’s in a little bit of transition right now” Mason said. “They’ve had some injuries to their 3rd quarterback, they are trying to find a few things, what they’re doing personality wise.” With a minus-17 turnover margin, UH ranks last in the nation in this department. Mason insists, “It’s going to come down to whose gonna make the least amount of mistakes, that team is gonna win this football game.”
Ederaine Has MW Record In Sight:
It will be critical that Woolsey and company identifies at all times were Bulldog linebacker Ejiro Ederaine lines up on the other side of the ball. Ederaine currently ranks third in the entire nation for career tackles for with (41.5), only behind Ohio State’s Joey Bosa (46.5) and Baylor’s Shawn Oakman (43.0). Ederaine is 5.5 TFLs away from tying San Diego State’s Miles Burris (2008-11) for most tackles for loss in Mountain West conference history. He currently is tied for fourth on the all time Mountain West leaderboard.
Waller Closing in on 3,000:
Senior Bulldog running back Marteze Waller needs 78 yards to eclipse the 3,000 career yard mark, which would make him the 5th running back in Bulldog’s history to accomplish this feat. Last year versus Hawaii, Waller ran wild in the first half scoring two touchdowns on 19 carries and 106 yards. In 625 total career touches, Waller has only lost two fumbles in this span. Waller will be going for his third 100-yard game of 2015 on Saturday.