Conference play starts this Saturday with Hawaii and we'll have a billion (roughly) recruits in town. Time to put on for the city.
- Time: Saturday, 8:15 p.m. MT
- Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
- Weather: 61 degrees, Clear
- Odds: Boise State by 24.5
- TV: ESPN2
- Commentators: Dave "Cranston" LaMont and Ray "Ban" Bentley
1. Better than they seem
Hawaii is 2-2 on the year and have been shut out twice thus far, but if you dig a little deeper you'll find respectability there. Hawaii has played three Power-5 teams thus far—two of them ranked—and went 1-2. The fact that they weren't 0-for-P5 signals improvement (they defeated 3-1 Colorado opening weekend), but their shutout losses to Ohio State and Wisconsin could've been much worse had the Hawaii D not been stingy. Both the defending national champion Buckeyes and the Badgers only led 14-0 at halftime.
2. Chow main (land)
Boise State has no reason to gripe about a difficult travel schedule even after last week's 4,000 mile roundtrip journey...Norm Chow's Warriors will only have been back on the island for four days before turning around and jet-setting back to Boise...their third of four road games in 5 weeks. Chow, almost certainly someone's grandpa, has instituted a "no-gripe" policy for his long-suffering squad, stating:
"We don’t care where we play, who we play, what time we play. We’re going to play the best we can."
Think of the Delta SkyMiles, Norm!
3. in no rush
Hawaii has never been known as a running team...and frankly, this year is no different. However, the Warriors will come into this weekend's game ranked 116th in the country in rushing offense at just 97 yards/game. I'd expect that number to be even worse a week from now as the Broncos field the top-ranked rush defense in the country through week 4. Unfortunately for Hawaii, their passing offense is ranked 83rd—Chow better find his June Jones in a hurry (tip: look behind the giant mustache).
You are looking at peak June Jones.
Boise State - Won 2
Hawaii- Lost 1
While the iron is hot.
Best name(s) on their roster
Freshman DB Rojesterman Farris II
Junior RB Diocemy Saint Juste
Best player picture on their roster
Senior O-lineman Brenden Urban, who has clearly had enough of your crap.
Players to watch
The Rainbow Warriors have had a little success with QB transfers from Pac-12 schools in the past, but lest you think Wittek will be the next Colt Brennan...he only has one year to play (as a grad transfer) and doesn't quite have the supporting cast that Brennan had (or the head coach). Wittek, however, is still a big and talented QB with a lot of physical traits that are prized at the position. He's 6'4" and 240, so already possesses an "NFL body" and can make all the throws asked of him—whether his targets are open or he has time enough to do so depends on Boise State's D.
WR Pedroza might not be Mr. Consistency, but when he goes off...he goes off. Last week against Wisconsin, Pedroza hauled in 10 passes for 134 yards in just the second game of the year in which he'd registered any receiving stats. The Broncos have been prone to giving up big passing plays this year and if Pedroza gets his yards against our defense, you'd hope that they at least have the presence of mind to keep him out of the endzone.
Harris, a running back, isn't the most consistent guy on the roster, but his 147 yard day—that included a 95-yard TD scamper—had to make you take a little notice. The Broncos are liable to completely shut down the Warrior rushing attack, but if anyone can break a long run (possibly against a safety in his first start) it'd probably be Harris.
Another UH receiver that is likely to be a prime Wittek target is Marcus Kemp—a 6'4" junior. Kemp's size gives him an advantage against our smallish receivers and is a tantalizing jump ball magnet. Kemp has already notched two 100+ yard games this year, but against their B1G opponents, he had just 2 catches for 20 yards. As you're starting to see, consistency has been an issue with the 'bows this year.
Offensively, Hawaii has the skill players to give teams headaches, but execution that mainly gives Norm Chow headaches...defensively this is not necessarily the case. UH fields a very deep and experienced linebacking corps and Jerrol Garcia-Williams—who was not the lead singer of the Grateful Dead—might be the best of the bunch. The converted QB from Las Vegas is coming off an ACL injury and did not play in the season opener, but he's made up for lost time in a big way the last three weeks, racking up 26 total tackles.
Players to NOT watch
The oft-injured but sometimes awesome running back Joey Iosefa has graduated and moved on to the NFL, sparing the Bronco linebackers from some additional bruises on Sunday (Iosefa ran about 240 lbs). Also, that Colt Brennan guy is still gone, much to the delight of Julius Brown.
Keys to victory
- Keep foot on the gas. Hawaii doesn't offer much in the way of offense, but their defense has been keeping teams close (at least for a while). Boise State needs to pour it on any way they can to make sure Hawaii stays out of striking distance.
- Limit turnovers. Pretty much always a key, but the Broncos are really hard to beat when winning the turnover battle (5-0 at UVA = a beatdown).
- Keep Rypien's jersey clean. Okay, so the it's probably going to stay pretty clean on the Blue Turf no matter what happens, but B-Ryp took a few too many shots last week and since Finley is out of commission for a while, we need to keep the new signal-caller safe. Kinda hoping he's wearing titanium leg braces this week.
- Score more points. This worked surprisingly well last week.
Broncos "over the Rainbows" 35-9