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Just for Openers

The wait is over, and the University of Hawaii football season finally gets underway this Saturday with a game against conference rival Fresno State. Of course, ESPN Honolulu will bring you full coverage of the game, starting with the “Countdown to Kickoff” pregame show at 11:30 a.m. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m., with Bobby Curran and John Veneri calling the action. Here are a few assorted fun facts about this matchup:

♦ The last time Hawaii opened their season against Fresno State was on Sept. 17, 1966. The Bulldogs beat the Rainbow Warriors, 28-27, in Fresno.

♦ Hawaii has won their last three season openers, beating UMass in 2017, Colorado State in 2018 and Arizona in 2019.

♦ Saturday’s game will be a matchup of first-year head coaches. Todd Graham is in his first season at UH, while Kalen DeBoer is in his first season at Fresno State. DeBoer’s previous head coaching stint was at Sioux Falls (2005-09), where he led the Cougars to three NAIA national titles. Graham has 12 years of FBS head coaching experience, with stops at Rice, Tulsa, Pittsburgh and Arizona State.

♦ Overall, Fresno State leads the series, 29-22-1. Since attaining Division I status in 1974, Hawaii is 15-16-1 against the Bulldogs (the lone tie was a 24-24 Contest in 1985). Fresno currently has a three-game win streak against UH.

♦ In 2017 and ’18, DeBoer served as Fresno State’s offensive coordinator under head coach Jeff Tedford. During those two seasons, the Bulldogs went 22-6. In 2018, the team scored an average of 34.6 points per game (26th nationally). The Bulldogs put up 50 against Hawaii in a decisive win that year.

♦ Jake Haener, a transfer from Washington, has been named the Bulldogs’ starting QB for this Saturday. The fourth-year junior played sparingly with the Huskies in 2018 and will be making his first career collegiate start. Only two of the last 10 Fresno State QBs posted wins in their starting debuts, and one was against an FCS opponent. Hawaii’s Chevan Cordeiro, a redshirt sophomore, has won all four of his college starts.

♦ The Rainbow Warriors are currently 6-point underdogs against Fresno State. The current over/under is 64.5.

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