Fresno State is planning for less aloha and more focus on this trip to Hawaii.
The No. 25 Bulldogs are looking to avoid a repeat of a lopsided 45-10 loss in the Hawaii Bowl in December. Fortunately for Fresno State (3-0, 1-0 Mountain West), that game was against SMU rather than Hawaii.
But Fresno State coach Tim DeRuyter says his team is approaching its Aloha State visit very differently than last time.
“This isn’t a pleasure trip, this is a business trip,” DeRuyter said. “We’re staying out of Waikiki Beach.”
Fresno State has won its last two games on the road against Hawaii (0-3, 0-1) and three of its last four. But DeRuyter said the opponent isn’t the most important factor in his team’s approach.
“In my mind, it’s about how we play and how we prepare and how we go and execute,” DeRuyter said. “Last year, we clearly didn’t do a very good job of that and I didn’t do a good job of coaching (in the bowl game).”
Here are five things to watch for when Fresno State visits Hawaii:
Fresno State is pushing for more than just a win against the Rainbow Warriors on Saturday — it’s a campaign stop for quarterback Derek Carr toward a Heisman trophy. The school’s athletic department has formally launched a campaign website for Carr — DC4Heisman.com — to highlight his stats, bio and any buzz he gets.
Carr has 12 touchdowns and one interception through three games to go along with more than 1,100 yards passing.
Fresno State is playing on the road for the first time this season after a game against Colorado was postponed because of flooding. The canceled game means the Bulldogs are playing away from home for the first time this year, trying to keep alive a 16-game streak with at least one turnover.
It’s tough to see how DeRuyter can nitpick a passing attack that has generated four times as many touchdowns and nearly four times as many yards as its rushing, but the Bulldogs had eight drops against Boise State in their last game, he said.
At No. 25, Fresno State entered the Associated Press poll for the first time since 2008. It’s the only undefeated team left in the Mountain West.
Hawaii quarterback questions
It’s not fully clear whether Hawaii quarterback Taylor Graham will be able to play after hurting a shoulder in his team’s game against Nevada last week. Graham has struggled, completing less than half his passes, with two touchdowns compared with four interceptions.