Despite a couple hiccups, Fresno State fans have had much to cheer for in recent years and have come to expect victory at Bulldog Stadium – especially against teams that can’t run, pass, defend the run, defend the pass, kick, block, punt, or return kicks – namely Hawai’i. The Bulldogs were a lock to win as soon as they took the field coming out of a big inflatable likeness of their mascot. Fresno State fans comfortably settled themselves in ready to witness the carnage that would force Hawaii fans to question whether or not the frequent flyer miles are worth it.
Favored by 33, the Bulldogs were determined to get off to a fast start and cover the spread by halftime. Nearly every play seemed to work against the hapless Hawaiians. From trick plays to long bombs, the offensive pyrotechnics vaulted Fresno State to a 42-3 halftime advantage. As both teams exited at the half through the same tunnel, Bulldog fans showered the Warriors with boos and few heckles including one fan who suggested that they shouldn’t have bothered to make the trip. Perhaps harsh, but this Hawaii team is led by a legendary play caller in Norm Chow who is native to the islands, and coached the offenses at BYU and USC to national championships. This is his first year and most certainly his last job before retirement – ending a career on a sour note is not on his list of goals. For now, the woeful Warriors will have to weather the storm and take a few beatings before bouncing back. The second half really was a wash – perhaps one of the more dull halves of football I have ever seen. The Bulldogs, assured of victory, yanked their entire first team while Hawaii used the half to gain practice reps. 45-10 was the final. Hey, the Warriors beat them in the second half 7-3! Does that mean their record improves to 1.5-7.5?
Fans were welcomed on the field after the game to get a sense of a football player’s perspective. Bulldog fans tossed the football, got pictures at the center logo, attempted to touch the bottom of the goalpost. It was a fun way to end the day and a great way to further the connection of these great fans to their team. Dreams of a conference title are not out of reach as the Bulldogs, Boise State, and San Diego State lock arms in first place atop the Mountain West standings. It may take a little time, but Hawaii will find themselves surfing near the top spot someday soon as well. If there is one certainty in this sport, it’s that success comes in waves.