Hawaii legit might be one of the best teams in the Western Division of the Mountain West. Nobody really knows what that means. Hawaii has been about as dangerous as this guy since 2007 or so. But this is a different Hawaii. Okay, not so different, but they are less inept than usual. In the Mountain Worst (19-27 overall on the season for a staggering…. 58% winning percentage. Good job, MWC Bros. Good effort.) The ‘bows are currently 2-2, with a victory over perennial P12 bottom-dweller Colorado (ITS A WIN OVER A G5 SCHOOL DANGIT) and UC-Davis. They lost horrifically to both Ohio State and Wisconsin, unable to muster a single touchdown in either contest.
Against a typical MWC team, Hawaii might be able to hold their own. The issue isn’t their skill players – Max Wittek is a decent MWC quarterback, especially in a down year as far as QB play goes in the conference overall. RB Paul Harris gets his yards – on paper. He went off against Davis, racking up over 13 yards per carry. Against a better defense, he averages just over 3. As usual, Hawaii’s OL, while talented, just doesn’t have the size or speed to hang with top 25 opposition.
Boise State has the #11 ranked defense based on yards allowed with the biggest strength being at the defensive line. The Bronco’s have the #4 ranked run defense in the country. Mr. Harris is in trouble. The saving grace for Hawaii even managing to score might be Boise’s lack of depth at safety with Dylan Sumner-Gardner out for a long while after having surgery on an injured foot on Monday.
Hawaii’s defense is reasonably solid – against mid-major level competition. We found out in Virginia last week that Boise State is capable of playing with anybody. Hawaii is also coming off two trips to the central time zone in the last month, which is just a brutal amount of time to be on a plane. They don’t defend the run super-well, ranking 63rd in the country, but pass defense is better at 43rd. Boise’s offense hasn’t been statistically spectacular, really, but has shown flashes of brilliance along the way – especially since Rypien has taken the helm. Jeremy McNichols has been an absolute beast, and leads the country in TD’s with 10. The playbook has opened up, utilizing everyone from Shane Williams-Rhodes to Jake Roh. Even K Tyler Rausa is getting in on the action, being 87.5% from 3 pt and 94.4% on PAT’s.
Hawaii is better than usual. That doesn’t make them a great football team. They still run the ball way too much and get gassed in the second half. They’re on a crazy travel schedule, have played some tough teams on the road, and are ripe to get stomped into The Blue by some dudes dead set on protecting it.
Boise State is still finding their identity, and last Friday’s demolition of Virginia was a brilliant step. There’s a ton of potential in these Broncos. Hawaii is going to Hawaii. They’ll show up and play really hard, never giving up, with Norm Chow squinting on the sidelines and calling the #HBDive. Their passing game will be less bad… than it has been recently, but it’s not going to matter much. Boise State is the better team, and its nice to be able to say that finally.
Go freakin’ Broncos. Bleed blue.