HONOLULU (AP) -- Wendell Mathis did everything he could to give
Fresno State a rare win at Hawaii.
Mathis ran for career-best 229 yards and three touchdowns,
including a 78-yarder late in the fourth quarter, to lead No. 22
Fresno State to a 27-13 victory over Hawaii on Saturday.
The victory was the first at Aloha Stadium for Fresno State
since 1994 and kept the Bulldogs (6-1, 4-0 Western Athletic
Conference) atop the WAC standings with Boise State, which defeated
Nevada earlier in the day.
"We knew the road to the WAC championship goes through
Hawaii," Mathis said. "We really wanted this one for all the
games we played here and lost."
His previous best was a 191-yard performance at Louisiana Tech
Fresno State's defense also came up big, and recorded five
With only a few minutes remaining in the game, the Warriors
easily drove to the Bulldogs' 6 and threatened to tie the game. But
Colt Brennan's fourth-and-goal pass was tipped away near the goal
line with 2:46 left.
Trying to run out the clock, Mathis burst through the line of
scrimmage and sprinted 78 yards to seal FSU's fifth-straight win.
"It's big," said Bulldogs coach Pat Hill, who got drenched
with water by his players after the game. "Now I don't have to
hear about all the losses in Hawaii. This is not easy travel for
anyone. ... It's a big win for us."
Paul Pinegar completed 15-of-25 passes for 213 yards and a
touchdown for Fresno State. He was also intercepted twice.
Brennan was 35-of-54 for 327 yards and a TD pass, and freshman
receiver Davone Bess caught 14 passes for 158 yards. It was the
fifth consecutive 100-yard receiving game in the past six games for
"This is definitely the hardest loss of the year," said
Brennan, who has passed for 1,299 yards in the past three games.
"We were in it until the end of the game and that's why it's so
"It meant a lot to our season, but we just couldn't get it
Hawaii (3-5, 3-3) committed a costly running-into-the-punter
penalty in the third quarter that kept Fresno State's drive alive
and resulted in Mathis' second TD of the day, a 3-yarder, to push
the lead to 20-13.
"We knew coming in that their run defense is not very good,"
Mathis said. "So we really wanted to focus on the run and try to
The Warriors threatened to tie early in the fourth after driving
it to Fresno State's 8, but linebacker Alan Goodwin intercepted
Brennan's pass in the end zone. Brennan was 6-of-6 for 67 yards on
the drive before the pick.
"The main thing when you play this team is you have to hold the
points down," Hill said. "You can't let this team get big plays
Turmarian Moreland intercepted a tipped pass from Pinegar and
returned it 36 yards to FSU's 24, setting up a 39-yard field goal
by Kelly that cut Fresno State's lead to 14-13. Moreland also
intercepted another pass in the fourth quarter.
The Warriors' run-and-shoot offense racked up 456 yards of
offense against the Bulldogs, who entered the game allowing a
WAC-best 290.2 yards a game.
"It's frustrating because we're just a young team learning how
to win," Hawaii coach June Jones said. "In a couple years, or
maybe next year, we'll learn to win these types of games."
The Bulldogs took a 14-3 lead in the second quarter on a 3-yard
run by Mathis, who had a 49-yard run up the middle to set up the
score. Mathis carried the ball seven times in the first half for 88
Hawaii trimmed Fresno State's lead to 14-10 when Brennan
scrambled right and threw a 14-yard pass to Bess, capping a
six-play, 80-yard drive that included a 35-yard run by Nate Ilaoa.
"We just ran out of steam at the end," said Ilaoa, who
finished with 95 yards on 10 carries.
Pinegar connected with Jermaine Jamison on a 58-yard touchdown
pass along the right sideline to break a scoreless tie early in the
Hawaii came up empty after driving to Fresno State's 15 and 37
in the opening quarter. The Bulldogs broke up a pair of Hawaii pass
attempts on fourth-and-1, including one off a fake field goal.
The Warriors also failed to capitalize after Ikaika
Ilama-Francis stripped Pinegar on the Bulldogs' 35. Bulldogs
defensive end Garrett McIntyre blocked Dan Kelly's 30-yard field
goal attempt to preserve FSU's 14-10 lead.
Fresno State is now 2-11 at Aloha Stadium since 1965. The
Bulldogs' last win in the islands was a 31-16 decision in '94.