Hawaii vs. Fresno State

Hawaii vs. Fresno State

Hawaii played Fresno about as close as it possible could, without actually winning, going down 37-42 after a furious second half rally. Here are some thoughts on the game.

Steven Tsai had (as he always does) some pretty awesome insight into the feelings of the team post-almost-comeback against Fresno last Saturday:

For UH fans, the best thing about last night's comeback was nobody in the UH locker room was happy. Not head coach Norm Chow, whose team finally saw the light on offense and defense. Not Sean Schroeder, who nearly engineered an historic comeback. Not any of the receivers, linemen nor defensive players. The Rainbow Warriors thought they could have won the game, and they were ticked that they didn't. Given the option, UH rejected the moral victory.

• Schroeder has long earned admiration for being able to absorb hits. (See: Two concussions and an offseason back surgery.) Last night, he drew praise for his play and leadership. Schroeder's a stand-up guy who never complained about his role publicly. His mantra is to not worry about "external factors." It could not have been easy for a quarterback who lost his No. 1 job and co-captaincy. Schroeder proved that not all leaders need titles.

• As it turned out, the quarterback sequence — Ikaika Woolsey starting and Schroeder in the bullpen — had merit. Would Woolsey have provided a similar spark coming off the sideline? That's the sort of debate that keeps blogs awake at night. While Schroeder has earned the right to start, the Woolsey project had glimpses of promise. Woolsey's powerful arm stretches defenses; his scrambling eases the burden on the offensive line. Last night, Schroeder was able to look in one direction, then throw to the other. That comes from experience. Woolsey, whose odometer is at one week, will get better with more game reps.

• Tight end Jordan Pu‘u-Robinson's knee injury forced the Warriors to go with four-wide sets in the second half. That might be a strategy repeated as Pu‘u-Robinson faces a possible season-ending situation. Tight end Harold Moleni, who did not play while recovering from a concussion, is expected to be available for Saturday's game against San Jose State.

If you don't read the Warrior Beat, you definitely should. It's free and Tsai is super plugged into everything going on around the university. Also, if you get to commenting fast enough, he'll usually respond to any question or comment that you have.

Finally, the stats are out for last game and the defensive ones in particular are what I expected. Hawaii had only 6 Tackles for Loss (to Fresno's 10), but dominated all the other categories, including Forced Fumbles (3 to Fresno's 0), Interceptions (tied and two apiece), and pass breakups, (8 to Fresno's 3). That's 5 total turnovers and 8 pass breakups, MUCH of this coming in the second half during the comeback. Call it luck, call it an aberration, but don't call it lack of effort. The one thing about Hawaii is that they never gave up, no matter what. Somehow it doesn't feel like we're 0-4 right? Or is that just me....

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