Sometimes the bully wins.
Fresno State showed why it is the Mountain West’s, well, um, top ‘Dog with its dominant victory over Hawaii last night. The Warriors practiced hard, prepared diligently, fought the good fight, and sometimes that’s just not good enough. Especially against the well-balanced Bulldogs.
But here’s what we learned:
> The road can be rough, especially for a team that does not use charter flights. Without a charter, the options are to fly to NorCal or SoCal, then drive to Fresno. North or South? It doesn’t matter. Fresno is about 3 hours, 30 minutes from either the Bay Area or Los Angeles. After last night’s game, the Warriors made the long drive to San Jose, from where they departed for today’s scheduled flight back to Honolulu.
> It was a very, very small sample size against a defense that muzzled its pass rush, but Jeremy Moussa showed his arm strength in his two series. The Warriors did not want Chevan Cordeiro, who is on the redshirt track, to burn a game that had long been decided. So, it was agreed if the score were one-sided, in either direction, Moussa would get a shot. It’s still Cole McDonald‘s offense — based on his leadership and production — but UH has nice depth at position that was uncertain following Dru Brown‘s departure. McDonald will be a junior in 2019, and Cordeiro and Moussa still will be freshmen.
> If you were a defensive player on the travel roster, you played in last night’s game. That’s what happens with a team playing its 10th game without a bye. The defense is struggling, but it’s youthful struggles. Of the 22 players with double-digit tackles, only three are seniors — Jahlani Tavai, Manu Hudson-Rasmussen and Zeno Choi. And Tavai did not even play last night.
> Ryan Meskell might be the most improved Warrior. Last year, the Warriors combined to convert only four field goals.This season, Meskell is 11 for 14.
> Fresno — and every other Mountain West member not named Boise State — probably wishes it had UH’s TV contract with Spectrum. UH gets double the money the non-Boise teams receive without the mandated late kickoff times.