No. 14 Boise State hosts Hawaii in key Mountain West matchup
Hawaii (4-1, 1-0 MWC) at No. 14 Boise State (5-0, 2-0), Saturday at 10:15 p.m. EDT (ESPN2).
Line: Boise State by 12 1/2.
Series record: Boise State leads 12-3.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
It’s an early season Mountain West showdown as Hawaii gets a chance to prove its blowout win at Nevada two weeks ago was no fluke. The Warriors thumped Nevada 54-3, it’s most lopsided win since joining the Mountain West. The mainland has always been an issue for Hawaii, but a win on Boise’s blue turf would prove the Warriors are true contenders. The Broncos rolled at UNLV last Saturday as freshman QB Hank Bachmeier continued his impressive debut season.
Hawaii’s wide receivers vs. Boise State’s secondary. The Broncos secondary was strengthened by the return of safety DeAndre Pierce last week and is giving up just 178.2 yards per game through the air, ranking 14th nationally. This will be a test for the Broncos as Hawaii’s run-and-shoot pass game has been mostly unstoppable with the exception of the Warriors’ loss at Washington. Hawaii is averaging nearly 357 yards per game passing, even in poor weather conditions against Nevada.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Hawaii: WR Cedric Byrd II. If the Warriors are going to have a chance, Byrd will need to have a big game. Byrd leads the country with nine touchdown receptions after having three TD catches against Nevada and is third nationally averaging eight catches per game. Byrd and QB Cole McDonald lead the top passing offense in the Mountain West.
Boise State: DE Curtis Weaver. He became the Mountain West’s all-time leader in career sacks with 29 1/2 after recording three of Boise State’s five last week. With how often the Warriors are going to put the ball in the air, there will be more chances for Weaver to get to the quarterback. Weaver leads the country with nine sacks this season.
FACTS & FIGURES
Boise State has won last six in series dating to 2008 and five of them by more than 35 points. … Hawaii has lost 11 straight to ranked opponents with its last win coming in 2010 at home vs. Nevada. … Since 1996, Boise State is 31-4 facing opponents coming off an open week. … The trip from Honolulu to Boise is longest (6,511 miles) of the season for Warriors.