McIntyre set for second bowl game |

McIntyre set for second bowl game

Tahoe Daily Tribune Staff Reports

Tribune and AP reports

SAN JOSE – Pat Hill finally has the UCLA Bruins right where he wants them.

The Fresno State coach complains long and loud about the unwillingness of traditional football powers to play the Bulldogs, who have developed a reputation as giant-killers during Hill’s tenure.

Opponents who have been beaten by the Bulldogs – such as Cal or Oregon State – typically aren’t interested in playing them again, while other schools – such as Oklahoma State – don’t even wait until the games are played to break contracts with Fresno State.

Hill is determined to build a championship-caliber program at Fresno State, which has been to five straight bowl games during his tenure. He leads the Bulldogs into their fourth straight Silicon Valley Classic tonight against UCLA – one of the many schools Hill claims are afraid to play Fresno State in the regular season.

“If I was in the same position, maybe I’d do the same,” Hill said. “The way the bowl structure is, why take a chance of getting beat? I guess that’s the answer. It must be, because we can’t get anybody to play us.”

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Sophomore defensive lineman Garrett McIntyre is treating the UCLA matchup as the first and last time he’ll face the Bruins, even though he has two years of elgibility remaining.

“This is our only chance,” said McIntyre, who played high school football for the South Tahoe Vikings. “It’s like a West Coast rivalry, but we probably won’t get a chance to play them again.”

The Bulldogs’ Silicon Valley Classic upset victory over Georgia Tech last year caused quite a stir regionally, but McIntyre says there is more interest in this bowl.

“With both teams from the West Coast I think there will be a lot more fans,” said McIntyre, whose nine quarterback sacks are second best among Bulldogs.

First-year UCLA coach Karl Dorrell had grander postseason plans in mind for the Bruins (6-6), but they ended the season on a four-game losing streak with one of the least effective offenses in Division I-A.

So now he’s stuck with a matchup against the Bulldogs (8-5), who didn’t finish the Western Athletic Conference season strong, but always seem to play well at Spartan Stadium. The bowl organizers hope the all-California matchup will ignite greater interest in the game.

“We’ve talked many times in the offseason about playing each other, and I say, ‘No, I don’t want to,’ ” Dorrell said. “But here we are, playing against each other. It’s a great challenge for both programs. It’s a mission statement for (Hill). He likes to play these programs that have a bit of history. I think the teams in California know how good this program is.”

Heavy rains fell on San Jose on Monday, leaving the field in no condition for a late-night game. Fresno State’s passing game could be hurt if the rain continues to game time, but running back Rodney Davis is looking forward to the conditions.

“The one good thing about Rodney is he’s a proven mudder, and that field will be a quagmire tomorrow,” Hill said.

The Bulldogs hope to limit the pass-rushing effectiveness of All-America defensive tackle Dave Ball by establishing the running game early. If conditions allow for passing, sophomore quarterback Paul Pinegar has two star receivers in Marque Davis and Bernard Berrian.

The Bruins have been dismal on offense all season while switching between quarterbacks Matt Moore and Drew Olson. Moore will sit out the game after recently announcing plans to transfer.

“Hopefully these bowl practices have given us some experience so we can be productive in any fashion, shape or form,” Dorrell said. “I think we’ll be able to do that. I think our quarterback has improved quite a bit and has a better handle on the offense.”

McIntyre sees no reason why he can’t add to his nine quarterback sacks, second among Bulldogs, tonight.

“I’ve seen (their offensive line on film) and they’re real big guys with long arms,” he said. “But one of their weak points is offensively and we’ll have some ways to get some penetration and do some good things.”