Rivalry to remember


POSTED: Friday, October 09, 2009

There have been heart-stopping finishes, blowouts on both sides, a concussed Heisman trophy candidate, and a mutual, genuine loathing.

And let's not forget the Legend of the Flying Screwdriver.

The Hawaii-Fresno State football rivalry has rarely lacked for drama, and can almost always be counted on to be compelling.

Some of the Warriors' greatest moments since the start of the June Jones era have come against the Bulldogs, as well as some of UH's most stinging defeats. It's no secret, either; many of the UH-FSU contests of the past decade have been nationally televised to showcase matchups between the Western Athletic Conference's most senior members.

“;I think whenever you have tough ballgames, whether you win the close ones or lose the close ones, it automatically becomes very special when you play each other,”; UH offensive coordinator Ron Lee said. “;It's kind of been that way every year with them. There were years they beat us pretty good, but by and large we've had really some tough ballgames.”;

Lee named Nick Rolovich's game-winner to Ashley Lelie in 2001 and last season's Dan Kelly field goal in overtime as his favorite moments against the Bulldogs.

Since Fresno joined the WAC in 1992, the Bulldogs have been the Warriors' most consistent foil. With the departure of BYU from the WAC and Boise State's dominance this decade, Fresno has been a steady source of hatred among UH fans and players — unlike the mostly one-sided relationships with the Cougars and Broncos.

There's respect, too: Former UH quarterback Michael Carter considered Fresno among the toughest places he ever had to play, including BYU and Iowa.

“;A real rowdy, raucous crowd,”; Carter said. “;Those people are really into their football.”;

Jones would probably agree; he claimed a screwdriver was hurled at him from the stands at Bulldog Stadium in 2002.

As a testament to the tightly contested nature of the series, both teams have won 20 games with one tie. UH has won the last three and can take the series lead for the first time with a victory tomorrow at Aloha Stadium.

Here's a look at the UH-Fresno series over the past 10 years:

1999: at Hawaii 31, Fresno State 24, 2OT

Dan Robinson hit Craig Stutzmann with the game-winner on a 9-yard pass in the back right corner of the end zone, and the Warriors clinched a share of the WAC title in their NCAA-record turnaround season.

2000: at Fresno State 45, Hawaii 27

The Bulldogs clinched a losing record for the Warriors as quarterback David Carr guided Fresno to a dominant win in putting up points on seven of its first 10 possessions. Little seemed to go right for Hawaii, including an 81-yard Bulldogs touchdown on a blocked UH field goal.

2001: at Hawaii 38, Fresno State 34

Nick Rolovich's “;Jumpball to Lelie”; play sealed the win for the Warriors as they came from behind against the No. 18 Bulldogs. In UH's first victory over a ranked team since 1990, Carr, the future NFL No. 1 pick, fumbled on a hit by Nate Jackson with 3 minutes left. Six plays later and with 13 seconds left, Rolovich tossed the 14-yard lob to Ashley Lelie in the back of the end zone.

2002: Hawaii 31, at Fresno State 21

Quarterback Tim Chang (career-high 462 yards) came up with one of his biggest victories in guiding Hawaii to a fourth-quarter comeback on the road. The Warriors scored 22 points in the final period and notched their first win in Fresno since 1973. Chang found Britton Komine on the 13-yard game-winner on fourth down with 2 minutes, 25 seconds left.

2003: at Hawaii 55, Fresno State 28

The Warriors flexed their offensive muscle with 35 consecutive points and dealt the Bulldogs their fifth straight loss in Honolulu. Chang tossed five touchdowns in going over 10,000 career passing yards.

2004: at Fresno State 70, Hawaii 14

Along with a 69-3 debacle at Boise State, this was one of two road blowouts the Warriors overcame on the way to winning their last four games of the year. Chang was fresh off breaking the NCAA career passing record, but Fresno overpowered UH with its ground game. Bryson Sumlin rushed for 220 yards and three touchdowns, while Wendell Mathis added 176 yards and three scores.

2005: Fresno State 27, at Hawaii 13

Fresno got its first win in Hawaii since 1994 by stifling the Warriors on several red-zone situations and on special teams. Mathis rushed for 229 yards and three touchdowns, but it was a foiled UH drive at the Bulldogs 4-yard line with 4 minutes left that did in the Warriors.

2006: Hawaii 68, at Fresno State 37

Behind the arm of Colt Brennan (409 yards, five touchdowns), Hawaii rolled up the most points ever scored by an opponent in Bulldog Stadium and most ever by UH on the road. The Warriors scored touchdowns on 10 of their 13 offensive possessions to avenge the thrashing they received in Fresno in 2004.

2007: at Hawaii 37, Fresno State 30

Brennan tied Ty Detmer's NCAA record of 121 career touchdown passes, but was knocked out of the game with a concussion on a vicious hit by Fresno's Marcus Riley. The Warriors jumped out 21-0 and weathered a furious Bulldogs comeback in the second half. Afterward, Fresno coach Pat Hill congratulated Hawaii in UH's locker room.

2008: Hawaii 32, at Fresno State 29, OT

Dan Kelly kicked a 33-yard field goal in overtime to give the Warriors their first win over a ranked team on the road. UH got a 90-yard kickoff return TD from Ryan Mouton early, recovered six turnovers by No. 22 FSU, and profited from three field-goal misses by Fresno kicker Kevin Goessling in the fourth quarter and OT.

Other stats

First Downs
» Rushing1545
» Passing5841
» Penalty66
» Penalties-yards22-18523-204 
» Avg. per game46.251.0
Total offense
» Total plays247303
» Avg. per play7.55.2
» Avg. per game461.8395.5
» Attempts85169
» Avg. per rush3.24.3
» Avg. per game67.2183.0
» Comp.-Att.-Int.104-162-481-134-5
» Avg. per pass9.76.3
» Avg. per catch15.210.5
» Avg. per game394.5212.5
Alex Green4201029934.724423.2
Bryant Moniz2151.56-12-050.014504072.5
Kealoha Pilares4353179.113279.2
score by quarters
» Hawaii36341022102
» Opponents21232829101