’Dogs look for a little aloha on this trip
Fresno State hasn't had much success in Hawaii
They're the tourists who get mugged. The conventioneer who loses his wallet at Femme Nu. The aging couple that spends a lifetime of savings on a Hawaii vacation of endless rain.
Fresno State at Hawaii
Where: Aloha Stadium
When: Saturday, Oct. 29
Time: 1:05 p.m.
TV: Live on ABC, Hawaii (no blackout) and West Coast.
Radio: KKEA-1420 AM
Web audio: sportsradio1420.com
Parking: Lot gates open at 9:30 a.m. Parking is $5. Alternate parking at Leeward Community College (free, $2 shuttle), Kam Drive-In ($5, free shuttle). Shuttles are from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and approximately one hour after game ends. Parking also at Radford High School ($3 no shuttle). No tailgating at alternate parking sites.
Stadium gates: Open at 10 a.m.
Stadium security: No weapons, backpacks, coolers, umbrellas or megaphones are allowed in the stadium. Fanny packs, purses and handbags will be permitted subject to check.
Tickets: Prices range from $5 for students to $38 for sideline. Available online at hawaiiathletics.com, by phone at 944-2697 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., or at the Stan Sheriff Center, Aloha Stadium, UH Campus Center, RainbowTique at Ward Center and Windward Community College's OCET office.
Student buses: Four free buses will pick up students in front of Gateway House (2653 Dole Street), leave for the stadium at 4:30 p.m. and return 45 minutes after the game ends.
The Fresno State football team hasn't left the islands happy since 1994, the last time it won a game here. Since then, it's five losses in a row. Coach Pat Hill is their John Milton, his paradise lost like a set of golf clubs that finds its way to Houston instead of Honolulu. The irony is Hill loves the islands; he comes to visit his college friend and best man at his wedding, Dr. Lui Fiatoa, every year, and sometimes pops in on another pal -- UH coach June Jones, at spring practice.
The Bulldogs began their long journey to Hawaii yesterday and completed it -- or were scheduled to, anyway -- today.
"There's not really a whole bunch you can do to get to Hawaii from Fresno. No charter. You go from L.A. or San Francisco or Sacramento, it still takes about 14 hours to get there," Hill said. "You just go by bus and plane."
The Bulldogs couldn't win here even when Fred vonAppen was the UH coach, falling victim 28-16 in 1997, when the Warriors went 3-9.
The string of Halawa horrors for Fresno State began in 1995, when Hawaii's 42-37 win was its last under Bob Wagner.
In 1999, UH won 31-24 in double-overtime, giving Hawaii a tie for the WAC championship in Jones' first season. In 2001, Nate Jackson forced a late fumble by David Carr and Ashley Lelie caught a game-winning touchdown pass from Nick Rolovich in a 38-34 outcome. Just for fun, toss in the tale of a police escort that didn't show up to usher the FSU bus through traffic to the stadium and the trashing of an Aloha Airlines cabin interior (exaggerated report, say the 'Dogs).
This time, everything except Aloha Stadium history seems to be on Fresno State's side, though. The Bulldogs are 5-1 (3-0 WAC) and ranked No. 22 in the nation. Although they have built up their record on the bottom half of the league, they look solid in most areas, spectacular in the others. Meanwhile, rebuilding Hawaii (3-4, 3-2 WAC) is a two-touchdown underdog.
Many of the current Fresno State players are still smarting from a 55-28 spanking at Aloha Stadium two years ago.
"You've just got to go there and perform," Hill said, when asked how his team could break the slump. "In 2003 we got beat handily. A lot of those players are going back."
We won't know first-hand how eager they are to win here, since Hill put a gag order on his players Monday, allowing no interviews with out-of-town reporters.
The Warriors are amply motivated, since they were bullied 70-14 at Fresno State last year.
UH center Derek Fa'avi missed the trip to Fresno last year because of an injury. The outcome ruined the barbecue at his house.
"Even though I didn't play, being part of the team was embarrassing, just to see the whole team spirit go down. This is a whole new year," Fa'avi said. "Hopefully we can embarrass them instead."
It wouldn't be the first time at Aloha Stadium.
Injury update: UH defensive back Kenny Patton joined team workouts for the first time in nearly two weeks. The question is if he can regain his starting spot since Lamar Broadway and Turmarian Moreland performed well against San Jose State.
"Kenny practiced today, so hopefully we'll have everybody available. Turmarian's been working real hard and having Lamar out there helps us," Jones said.
Defensive end/tackle Mel Purcell practiced and vowed to play Saturday, but Jones said he's "iffy."