Broncos, Hawai'i Set To Dual In Honolulu

Boise State and Hawai'i. Tonight. 7 p.m. Can the Broncos pull off the upset?

If you like offensive fireworks, tonight's game between #16 Hawai'i and #19 Boise State has all the ingredients for an explosive college football game. 


Hawai'i is 2nd in the nation in passing at 446.5 yards per game while Boise State is 17th at 288.3.  Boise State is 23rd rushing the ball gaining just over 200 yards a game.  Hawai'i gains 77.40.  It is a clash of two styles—the Rainbow Warriors feature Coach June Jones' run-and-shoot attack with Heisman Trophy candidate Colt Brennan pulling the trigger.  Boise State concentrates on Coach Chris Petersen's balanced attack that can strike from several directions.


The Broncos are the top rushing defense in the Western Athletic Conference (26th nationally) allowing 118.2 yards a game.  Hawai'i is right behind them at 121.8, 30th in the country.  Boise State has probably its best secondary since they were called up to Division I-A 11 years ago.  The Broncos are 14th in pass defense, giving up 185.82 yards per game.  However, Boise State will be without the services of promising freshman safety Jeron Johnson tonight—not exactly good timing heading into a game against Colt Brennan.  Hawai'i, meanwhile, gives up 223.40 yards passing per game (55th).


Two of the nation's top quarterbacks in Brennan and Boise State's Taylor Tharp are featured tonight.  Brennan has fired off passes to the tune of 255-369 for a 69.11% completion percentage, 3,237 yards and 28 touchdowns against 12 interceptions.  Brennan is the player you must start at when analyzing this matchup—he is an amazing quarterback who has battled Boise State for two years in two of the most exciting games in all of football.  He leads all active quarterbacks in completions (1,011), attempts (1,443), yards (13,087), touchdown passes (121) and passing efficiency (168.79) and is second in completion percentage (70.06%). 


Brennan can set the all-time NCAA career touchdown record today as he is in a tie with BYU's Ty Detmer.  Detmer took 46 games to set the record while Brennan has played in just 35.  Brennan holds 22 other NCAA records, including the single-season record for TD passes of 58, which he set last year. 


Boise State's Taylor Tharp is 237-343 (69.10%) for 2,839 yards and 27 TD's against eight interceptions.


Hawai'i has the distinction of placing three amazing receivers in the nation's top 25. Ryan Grice-Mullen has 85 receptions for 1,159 yards and 10 touchdowns, Davone Bess 81 for 983 and ten scores and Jason Rivers has 57 grabs for 789 yards and eight TD's.  If that isn't enough (and it's more than plenty), C.J. Hawthorne has 48 catches for 650 yards and five more scores.  The speedy group can wreak havoc in an opposing secondary with their quick cuts to the sideline and their crossing routes.


Jeremy Childs is the runaway leader for Boise State with 74 catches for 943 yards and nine touchdowns.


Ian Johnson is the Broncos' main threat on the ground with 944 yards and 14 TD's.  His two backups have been hurt in the last couple of weeks.  Kealoha Pilares leads the Rainbow Warrior attack with 305 yards while Leon Wright-Jackson has 225.


Both offensive lines are tremendous and how they play will dictate the tempo of the game.  Hawai'i needs a reliable performance on every down to give Brennan time to hit his receivers.  He doesn't need much, for the quick wideouts often get open right away.  Boise State needs a great game from its line to be able to run its balanced attack with precision. 


Defensively, Adam Leonard leads Hawai'i with 87 tackles including 10 tackles for loss.  Keala Watson has forced two fumbles for Jones' team while David Veikune has six sacks. Myron Newberry leads the Rainbow Warriors with 11 passes defended.


Wilson and Tadman have 10 passes defended each to pace Boise State.  Mike T. Williams has six sacks for the Broncos.


In a game that could very well come down to special teams, Kyle Brotzman has nailed 13-14 field goal tries while Hawai'i's Dan Kelly is 11-14.


Malcolm Lane and Ryan Mouton both average over 31 yards per kickoff return for Hawai'i and have found the end zone this season.  Lane has two scores while Mouton has taken it to the house once.  Boise State's top man is Rashaun Scott, who has a 23.71-yard average but no touchdowns.


Marty Tadman is 25th in the country in punt returns with an 11.13 average, while Bess has a nice 10.46 average for the Rainbow Warriors.


On paper, these two teams are about as even as you can get.  Oddsmakers now have Hawai'i as a 2.5 point favorite. For the real scoop, see the final edition of the E/A Sports simulations below.  Tonight's game should be the showcase the WAC has been hoping for since it penciled in this game prior to the season.  It figures to draw a wide audience to a) see how good Hawai'i is and b) determine if a one-loss Boise State team deserves a BCS bowl bid with a win.


A close game likely won't do the winner any favors—biased East Coast voters will conclude that it was just a great game between two good but not great teams.  If on the other hand, one team is able to dominate, it would likely give them the push they need to make a major bowl game.  Hawai'i of course has one more game next week against Washington, the only team to beat Boise State.  If Hawai'i can do what Boise State could not do at the beginning of the season, it would certainly be something to brag about.


For now, get all the preparations for the turkey sandwiches and plenty of your favorite beverages and get ready to enjoy what should be one of the best games of the college football season!  Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. Mountain time in Honolulu.




E/A Sports Simulations:


If you're new to BroncoCountry, these simulations are done prior to the season.  E/A Sports puts out several sports video software packages.  Their NCAA Football release is looked to with great anticipation.  The games are bought primarily for entertainment, but we have discovered something else—the computer simulations that can also be run from the software are accurate.  They provide food for thought since they have accurately predicted Boise State regular season games in 57 of 58 tries since starting the 2003 season.  In this the first year in which we have run the minimum simulations in most of the WAC games, E/A is 61-5 this season in predicting games involving league teams. 


This week's games are listed below.  The first set of numbers you will see represent the number of simulations won by the first team listed followed by the simulations won by their opponent.  In the first example below, Kansas State won 20 of 25 simulations.  The next group of number refers to the average score of all of the simulations run.  Finally, the highest and lowest margin of victory for each team is shown.  There are hundreds if not thousands of possible results—one simulation only shows one possible outcome and is not accurate.  The only way to approach accuracy, as we have discovered, is to run multiple simulations in order to get a minimum separation of 10 games between the two teams.


Fresno State hosts Kansas State (5-20)  23.8-35.2, High:  28-14 (Fresno State), 57-14 (Kansas State), Low:  35-31 (Fresno State), 44-42 (Kansas State)



Idaho hosts Utah State (10-15)  Another simulation matchup that was too close to call.  Simulations were run to attempt to resolve the result, but after 45 simulations, it was Utah State 23 wins, Idaho 22.  25-1-28.4, High:  37-0 (Idaho), 47-7 (USU), Low:  17-16 (Idaho), 21-18 (USU)

WINNER:  UTAH STATE (little confidence)


Louisiana Tech At Nevada (13-12)  Here's another of the four dead heats.  Attempts to separate the two were unsuccessful, and after 45 simulations, Nevada held a 23-22 advantage. 24.5-25.8, High:  48-10 (Tech), 44-14 (Nevada), Low:  20-19 and 27-26 (Tech), 28-27 (Nevada)

WINNER:  NEVADA (little confidence)


And the one you're all waiting for.  Scout subscribers had access to this data prior to the season started.  If you don't want to wait next year, a subscription to BroncoCountry, which also includes valuable recruiting information, is the way to go.  Without further ado…

Boise State At Hawai'i (58-42)  33.3-31.0, High:  56-17 (Boise State), 45-0 (Hawai'i), Low:  29-28 (Boise State), 22-21 (Hawai'i)


 (Note on above:  One of the five games in which NCAA Football did not accurate predict the winner was the Boise State-Washington game.  Washington won 40 of 100 simulations but still won the game.  You will notice that Hawai'i won 42 simulations—in other words, they have a better chance to beat Boise State tonight than Washington did going into the September game.)






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