11:00 PM ET, November 10, 2007
Aloha Stadium, HONOLULU, HI
HONOLULU (AP) -- Bear Pascoe can't forget playing Hawaii last year.
The Fresno State tight end caught his only two touchdowns of the season in the game, including a career-best 75-yarder. But that's not the reason.
"You never forget butt whippings," Pascoe said about the Bulldogs' 68-37 loss in front of their home crowd. "No doubt, that loss stung for a long time."
The Bulldogs have their shot at payback when they face the 14th-ranked Warriors in a key Western Athletic Conference matchup Saturday night.
Hawaii (8-0, 5-0), one of three unbeaten teams along with Ohio State and Kansas, is vying for a perfect season to keep alive its Bowl Championship Series hopes. Hawaii is 16th in the BCS standings and needs to finish 12th or higher to secure a spot in a BCS bowl.
Fresno State (6-3, 5-1) wants to stay in the hunt for the WAC title and spoil the Warriors' year.
"Personally, I would love to knock them out of the BCS standings," said Pascoe, who leads the Bulldogs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
The Warriors are trying to start 9-0 for the first time since 1925, when they were a club team and beat up teams from nearby military bases. Hawaii finished 10-0 that year with two victories coming on the same day.
Warriors quarterback Colt Brennan is also trying to make history. He is two touchdown passes shy of tying former BYU standout Ty Detmer's NCAA career mark of 121. Brennan also needs three touchdowns to match Detmer's record for most touchdowns responsible for, 135.
Brennan already owns 22 NCAA records, so a win means more to him than another individual mark. The Warriors, winners of 18 of their last 19 games, are riding a nine-game winning streak and have won a school-record 12 straight WAC games.
"Winning is fun. I learned that a long time ago," said Brennan, who has thrown for 2,820 yards and 26 TDs with 11 interceptions this season. "As long as we keep winning, we'll keep having fun."
Brennan finally seems fully healed from the right ankle he sprained early this year. He had an extra week to rest with a bye and looked sharp the last time out, throwing for 425 yards and six TDs in a 50-13 rout of New Mexico State.
The Bulldogs, who became bowl eligible with their 38-27 victory over Utah State last week, will be challenged by the island aerial attack. Hawaii is the nation's top-scoring team with an average of 51.9 points and ranks second in passing with 459.5 yards per game.
Brennan picked apart the Bulldogs last year, throwing for 409 yards and five TDs.
The Warriors, though, are known to give up big plays against the run and on special teams -- good news for Fresno State freshman Ryan Mathews.
He's run for 784 yards, an average of 6.3 per carry, and his 12 TDs are the most of any freshman running back in the nation.
Mathews left last week's game with a sprained ankle and is questionable for Saturday. If he can't go, several capable backups include Clifton Smith, who had a career-high 126 yards rushing against Utah State.
Hawaii coach June Jones said the Bulldogs won't change their defensive game plan, no matter who Fresno State has running the ball.
"They're going to come in and try to do what they do -- run it," he said. "They're great downhill slashers. They're all fast."
The Warriors and Bulldogs aren't shy about sharing their feelings about each other. Brennan called it a "bitter old rivalry," and Pascoe said it ends at a mutual respect.
"You respect the players for the talent and the way they play," Pascoe said, "but you hate the team."
Said Warriors linebacker Timo Paepule: "They come like they want to fight. I love playing teams like that."
Hawaii is 5-1 against Fresno State at Aloha Stadium since 1995, the only loss coming in their last meeting there in 2005.
Hawaii receiver Davone Bess said his team is well-prepared this time.
"It's going to be a dogfight to the end," he said.
Top 25 Overview
Hawaii starts its most difficult part of the schedule as the Warriors host Fresno State. The beefier foes should help Hawaii rise in the computer portion of the BCS standings. The Bulldogs will be looking for revenge after losing 68-37 last season.
|Avg Points Allowed||27.1||23.2|