Game 6 | Warriors work black magic in beating Fresno State
Oct. 11 at Aloha Stadium UH 55, Fresno State 28
Wearing its special all-black uniforms, the University of Hawai'i football team was dressed to thrill in a 55-28 victory over Fresno State at Aloha Stadium.
As the Warriors walked into their locker room before the game, they noticed the uniforms hanging in their cubicles.
"That got us pumped up," defensive tackle Lui Fuga said. "That's like the super hero putting on the cape. We knew we were going to fly around and make plays."
Indeed, the Warriors made big plays in a big way to defeat the Bulldogs for the 11th time in the last 12 meetings in Hawai'i. In the last three meetings here, all won by UH, the total margin was 23 points.
"A lot of people thought Fresno was going to come in here and push us around," UH cornerback Abraham Elimimian said. "It's not like that anymore. It's a new era."
The Warriors improved to 3-3 overall and 2-1 in the Western Athletic Conference. The Bulldogs fell to 3-4 and 1-1, with all of their losses coming on the road.
With quarterback Tim Chang at the controls, UH rolled up 549 yards in total offense, including 404 yards and six touchdowns through the air.
The Warriors contained the Bulldogs' power running game and then smothered the desperate passing attack. And on special teams, 6-foot-8 Tony Akpan, a converted basketball player, blocked an FSU field-goal attempt and, with the Warriors apparently out of reach in the fourth quarter, UH converted a fake punt into 43-yard scoring pass from upback Chad Kapanui to David Gilmore.
FSU coach Pat Hill, who professes to having a close friendship with UH coach June Jones, downplayed the in-your-face significance of the fake punt, which came with his team down, 48-28.
"It's football," Hill said, adding, "(Jones) didn't try to run it up."
Jones reasoned that the Bulldogs, who have blocked six kicks this season, would "block it and run it in, (then) get an onside kick and score again."
Fuga said: "They would do the same thing. We're rivals. If they were leading, they would keep pounding and pounding."
"We knew they wanted to pound the ball, play smash-mouth football," UH defensive tackle Lance Samuseva said. "We knew if they got through the D-tackles, it would be a long game for us. We did our job, the 'backers did their job and everything fell into place."
FRESNO STATE 7 7 7 7 28
HAWAI'I 10 28 7 10 55
UHGerald Welch 22 pass from Tim Chang (Justin Ayat kick)
UHFG Ayat 31
FSUMark Wood 28 pass from Paul Pinegar (Brett Visintainer kick)
FSUBernard Berrian 19 pass from Pinegar (Visintainer kick)
UHChad Owens 9 pass from Chang (Ayat kick)
UHWes Keliikipi 9 run (Ayat kick)
UHBritton Komine 3 pass from Chang (Ayat kick)
UHMichael Brewster 1 pass from Chang (Ayat kick)
UHOwens 5 pass from Chang (Ayat kick)
FSUBryson Sumlin 5 run (Visintainer kick)
UHFG Ayat 27
FSUAl Greco 1 pass from Pinegar (Visintainer kick)
UHDavid Gilmore 43 pass from Chad Kapanui (Ayat kick)
RUSHING: FSUJennings 3-67, Sumlin 15-58, Wright 5-19, Pinegar 8-(minus 2), R. Davis 3-(minus-2). Hawai'iKeliikipi 7-67, West 5-58, Brewster 3-35, Ross Dickerson 1-2, Team 1-(minus 1), Poumele 2-(minus 5), Chang 1-(minus 11).
PASSING: FSU Pinegar 25-58-0242. Hawai'i Chang 40-60-0353, Whieldon 1-3-08, Kapanui 1-1-043.
RECEIVING: FSU Rivera 5-59, Berrian 4-38, Jamison 4-24, Wright 3-26, Greco 2-25, R. Davis 2-23, M. Davis 2-3, Wood 1-28, Reid 1-10, Spach 1-6. Hawai'i Welch 9-115, Owens 7-62, Rivers 5-36, Keliikipi 5-34, Komine 4-25, Herbert 3-55, Inferrera 3-19, Brewster 3-(minus 5), Gilmore 1-43, West 1-11, Bass 1-9.