GEORGE F. LEE / GLEE@STARBULLETIN.COM
Warriors quarterback Colt Brennan was under pressure from Fresno State defenders Tyler Clutts, Ikenna Ike and Louis Leonard at Aloha Stadium yesterday.
Bulldogs bring defense to Hawaii
Pat Hill can finally enjoy the flight home from Hawaii.
Fresno State recorded five sacks and held the Warriors 21 points under their season average in defeating Hawaii 27-13 yesterday at Aloha Stadium.
It was the first win for Fresno State in Hawaii since 1994 and just its second in the last 40 years, but more importantly for Hill, his first in Aloha Stadium in five tries since taking over the team in 1997.
"Now I don't have to hear about all the losses in Hawaii," Hill said. "That got old after a while."
The Bulldogs, despite giving up 456 yards, clamped down on the Warriors when they needed to the most, yielding only three scores in eight tries in the red zone.
"The name of the game is when you get into the red zone, you've got to score, and I thought our defense did a really good job on a short field," Hill said.
Preseason Western Athletic Conference defensive player of the year Garrett McIntyre anchored a dominating Fresno State front four. He sacked Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan three times, all in the fourth quarter, including twice on first-and-goal plays.
"We have a red zone defense where we're all real comfortable playing in it and we know we can stop people," McIntyre said.
Big things were expected of McIntyre this season, a second-team preseason All-American by The Sporting News who came to Fresno State as a walk-on. But after starting 26 games in a row over the last three years, he went down with a sprained ankle in the season opener and missed the next two games. McIntyre returned to play in Fresno State's last three despite suffering another injury to his right hand, and he's finally beginning to return to his old form. The three sacks yesterday moved McIntyre into fourth on the school's all-time list with 22.
"There's still pain in my hand, but I'm starting to feel good," the 6-foot-3, 250-pound McIntyre said. "This is the best win I've ever felt here. It's tough to get wins (at Aloha Stadium)."
McIntyre also came up huge on special teams, blocking a Hawaii field goal late in the first half that would have cut the Bulldogs' lead to one and given the Warriors the momentum heading into halftime.
McIntyre said his focus is on the one thing that has eluded him his entire career
a WAC championship.
"That's my whole motivation," he said. "I know I got a lot of preseason stuff, but I love to play and my No. 1 goal is to win the WAC before I'm done."
McIntyre wasn't the only star on the Bulldogs' defensive line as fellow end Tyler Clutts added five tackles and a sack and was constantly in the face of Brennan. Like McIntyre, Clutts was quick to spread the credit around among the entire defensive unit.
"I have to hand it to the secondary, too," Clutts said. "They did a great job covering; which allowed us more time to get to the quarterback."
Extra time that will make the Bulldogs' flight home seem a bit shorter than past trips.