Defending WAC Champions Descend Upon Boise

Fresh from an upset of nationally-ranked Fresno State and an important win over Louisiana Tech, Hawai'i is now ready to take on Boise State Friday night. The game very well could hinge on the matchup pitting the Bronco offensive line against the strong front seven of Hawai'i.

Through the first six games of the season, Hawai'i ranks 97th in scoring defense, allowing 30.2 points per game.  However, they haven't faced an offensive line as young and inexperienced as Boise State, and they haven't faced a line so unable to consistently open holes for its running game.


Hawai'i's front seven is the strength of its defense and they will look to exploit the young line of the Broncos Friday night when the teams tangle on ESPN. 


Senior linebacker Solomon Elimimian (6-0, 225), the Western Athletic Conference preseason defensive player of the year, will lead the charge Friday night for the Rainbow Warriors.  Elimimian has 356 career tackles, just 10 shy of tying the Hawai'i school record set by Levi Stanley from 1969-1972.  Elimimian is on the Chuck Bednarik Award Watch List, signifying the country's top defensive player.  This season, Elimimian has a team-leading 43 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and three pass breakups.  Brashton Satele (6-1, 255, Jr.) is the middle backer while Adam Leonard (6-0, 235, Sr.) completes the trio.  Satele has 35 stops so far along with five tackles for loss.


David Veijune (6-3,265, Sr.) and John Fonoti (6-2, 255, Jr.) anchor the ends for Hawai'i. Veijune has 37 tackles, five tackles for loss and three pass breakups.   Keala Watson (6-3, 320, Sr.) and Joshua Leonard (6-3, 305, Sr.) are the men in the middle of the Warrior line.


This is the same talented, tenacious defense that effectively shut down the high-powered Boise State offense to steal the WAC title from the Broncos last year.  That was when Boise State could run the ball with the best in the country.  The conclusion from the first five games this season is they can not—they rank 60th in the nation or exactly average in the running department.  That will allow Elimimian, Satele, Veijune and others to tee off on Bronco quarterback Kellen Moore, taking away the one strength that Boise State possesses.


This single matchup more than any other will determine the outcome of Friday's showdown.  The great Boise State offensive lines of the past have not only opened gaping holes for running backs like Brock Forsey, Lee Marks and yes, Ian Johnson, but they were known for then stampeding downfield to knock another defender to the turf.  The current Bronco offensive line could learn much from watching old DVD's of their predecessors in action.


Unless the group can show a whole lot of improvement from even one week ago, the emotional, aggressive Hawai'i front seven will be spending an awful lot of time in the Boise State backfield harassing Moore.


Kickoff is set for 6:07 p.m. Friday night in Bronco Stadium.






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