`Dogs Paint Waikiki Red

Dec. 24, 2012

By Theresa Kurtz

HONOLULU - After a month since its last football game, Fresno State is less than 24 hours away from the 2012 Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl. The `Dogs face off with SMU and are looking to send their 22 seniors out the right way, which is their 10th win of the year.

"Our guys are starting to dial in, which is good, said head coach Tim DeRuyter. "We just want to hit somebody with a different color jersey. We really want to send these seniors out the right way."

After several fun filled days on the beach and bowl events, the Bulldogs are ready to return their focus to football. The `Dogs final preparations included a walk-thru at Aloha Stadium and team meetings after dinner.

"We have had some really focused practice out here and we had five back in Fresno before coming out here," added DeRuyter. "I think our guys are ready. They want to light up and play against somebody and tomorrow at 5 p.m. we get that opportunity."

After their walk-thru, the `Dogs headed back to their hotel for a pep rally hosted by Fresno State Alumni Association. Red Wave fans that made the trip to Hawai'i were invited to the lawn of the Moana Surf Rider. There the Bulldog Marching Band, spirit squad and Time Out entertained the crowd.

"This pep rally was very successful and is probably the best pep rally location with the beach and ocean right behind us," said executive director of alumni association Jacqueline Glasener. "It's been great to see everyone get excited for the big game, to see coach and the team come out sharing Bulldog spirit with Waikiki beach."

Head coach DeRuyter addressed the crowd talking about all the fun they had over the course of the week and how preparation was going for the final game of the 2012 season. He is most excited about being the only football game on Monday and during prime time.

"Our guys know that being the only game on Monday night, we have a chance to show the nation who we are and what we do," said DeRuyter. "Our guys are relishing that opportunity. They are excited to play one last game this season."

Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson also attended the pep rally. He said a few words about the MW Champions and their 22 seniors.

"These 22 seniors have done something no other MW senior class has done in 14 years," Thompson told the Red Wave. "Won a MW championship every year they were in the league. I except you younger student-athletes to repeat and keep up the tradition."

Among the 22 seniors playing in their final game as Bulldogs are Robbie Rouse and Phillip Thomas. Both broke and set numerous records over theyears earning multiple awards.

The Bulldogs play SMU Monday, Dec. 24 at 5 p.m. in the Sheraton Hawai'i Bowl on ESPN.

"I have no doubt tomorrow that these guys will come out and play their best game," DeRuyter said. "We've gotten better each week and with a month off there is always that little doubt in your mind is it going to continue. I have no doubt in my mind that we will be ready."

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