Hawaii at Fresno State - 11/5/22 College Football Picks and Prediction

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The Hawaii Warriors will fly abroad and take on the Fresno State Bulldogs this Saturday night on FS2. Fresno State serves as Hawaii's most faced rival, with their matchup dating back to 1938. The Bulldogs and the Warriors have faced off in every season since 1992 for the Golden Screwdriver, beginning with in their respective times in the WAC. Fresno leads the all-time series 29-24-1, but Hawaii has won each of the last two meetings.

Hawaii fell to 2-7 after losing to Wyoming at home in Week 9. The Warriors were competitive once again last weekend, but the Cowboys proved to be too much down the stretch, as they scored two go-away touchdowns in the fourth quarter to prevail. The Warriors did indeed come through and cover for the fourth time in a row though. Hawaii scores 18.3 points per game, while passing for 192.2 yards per game (213rd), and rushing for 131.2 ypg (186th). The Warrior defense allows 33.6 points per game.

Brayden Schager will make his eighth start of the season. The sophomore quarterback recorded his first multi-touchdown game of the season versus Wyoming last week, and he might be really busy this week in an attempt to keep up with Fresno’s aerial attack. Schager has totaled 1,406 passing yards, with six touchdowns to six interceptions.

The days of Hawaii leading the nation in passing are over, and ironically record-setting QB and first-year head coach Timmy Chang has emphasized the run game this season. Dedrick Parson leads the rotation, and after scoring eight times on the ground during a four-game stretch, he found his way back into the endzone versus Wyoming. Parson leads Hawaii with 572 rushing yards, and he’s second in the Mountain West with ten rushing touchdowns. Tylan Hines rushed for a season-high 103 yards last weekend, and he’s up to 382 yards for his freshman season.

Hawaii has tried to establish a ground game this season, but the non-conference strength of schedule wasn't in their favor, and this one might be either. Dedrick Parsons gets the bulk of the work for the Warriors, and he leads with 6 rushing yards and he's scored multiple touchdowns in each of the last two games. Zion Bowens leads Hawaii in receiving after coming alive during October with 270 receiving yards on 20 catches.

Fresno State improved to 4-4 after defeating San Diego State at home in Week 9. SDSU led for most of the contest, but Fresno pulled away with 21 unanswered points, with a pair of late touchdowns tosses from Jake Haener pushing them past their in-state foes. Fresno scores 26.2 points per game, while passing for 267.5 yards per game (71st), and rushing for 122.1 ypg (207th). The Bulldog defense allows 18.2 points per game. 

Jake Haener’s return to the starting lineup ended in style. The three-year starter had been out since the loss to Southern Cal back in Week 3, and he made his presence felt in the valley immediately last weekend. With Fresno down 18 points, Haener completed three touchdown drives, including two after the two minute warning, furthering his legacy in Fresno. The veteran quarterback instantly makes this team better, and he’s been the best Bulldog QB since Derek Carr. Haener has thrown for 1,248 with seven touchdowns to three interceptions through four appearances. 

Jordan Mims joins him to give Fresno a ton of experience in the backcourt. The fifth-year senior set eclipsed his previous season high with a big 165-yard performance in the win over New Mexico, marking his third 110-yard outing of the season. Mims leads Fresno with 677 rushing yards and eight touchdowns. Haener’s return behind center got the entire wideout room going. Jalen Moreno-Cooper has been steady throughout the season, and like Mims, the senior wideout set a season-high in the win over UNM with 158 yards. Nikko Remigio has surpassed the 100-yard mark in all three games Haener has finished, and the Cal transfer was on the receiving end of the game-winning touchdown versus SDSU. Senior wideout Zane Pope burst back onto the scene with a 10-catch, 143-yard performance in the win over the Aztecs as well.

Moreno-Cooper leads Fresno in receptions (52) and receiving yards (578), after catching five or more passes in all but one game this season. Remigio has posted a solid line of 43 catches for 483 yards and three touchdowns, with the three Haener starts standing out. Pope has caught 24 passes for 307 yards in six games.

Hawaii is 5-2 against the spread this season, with a 3-1 record on the road. Fresno State is 2-6 against the spread this season, with a 2-2 record at home. The over is 5-2 in Fresno's last seven home games.

I love what Jake Haener’s return did for this team last weekend, and how it ended. This Fresno offense is arguably the best in the Mountain West, and a fourth straight win feels very likely at home this weekend. 

While the Bulldogs should get things going, and possibly close the regular season on a seven-game win streak, this margin is steep. Very steep against a team that’s been very good at making use of their underdog spread. For the past month, I’ve played Hawaii’s spread and woken up to positive results, and continuing that trend would be risky business, so I’ll target the magic number. Fresno’s more than capable of flexing their muscles and doing the heavy lifting here, so if the spread feels massive, give the over a play here with the Fresno offense flourishing with Haener back behind center.

The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a PickDawgz site consensus.

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