Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Boise State Broncos preview

The Hawaii Rainbow Warriors face a tough test in its conference opener.

Norm Chow’s Rainbow Warriors (2-2) will make the trip to Boise, Idaho to face the Boise State Broncos (3-1), who are led by second year head coach Bryan Harsin (15-3). A conference opening victory over the perennial Mountain West champions Boise State would mark the first time the University of Hawaii football team has started 3-2 since the 2011 campaign. A Rainbow Warrior victory would snap the Bronco’s current 15-game conference opener winning streak, which dates back to 1999. Saturday night’s meeting with the Broncos is set to kick off at 8:15 p.m. MT/4:15 p.m. HT, and will air before a national audience on ESPN2 (channel 224 and 1224 in HD on Oceanic Time Warner and Hawaiian Telcom Digital channel 74 and 1074 in HD).

Head to Head Series:

Saturday night’s matchup will mark the 14th meeting between the Rainbow Warriors and the Broncos. Boise State boasts a current 4-game winning streak over Hawaii, and have yet to lose in 5 meetings on the infamous blue turf, while holding a 10-3 overall advantage in the series. The last Hawaii victory over Boise State came in the magical 2007 Sugar Bowl season, where Heisman finalist Colt Brennan led his Hawaii squad over the Broncos 39-27 at Aloha Stadium.

Chow and Bailey’s Respect for the Broncos D:

Head Coach Norm Chow and offensive coordinator Don Bailey know they must make improvements and adjustments heading into Saturday night’s conference opener. In order for the Rainbow Warriors’ offense to be successful, they must improve their rushing attack and protect senior signal caller Max Wittek.

“The rushing stats may be misleading as they take into account sacks, but we are working on it every day.” Chow said. “We need to put our running backs in better positions, and have them blocking linebackers instead of defensive ends.”

Chow and Bailey understand that the Broncos defense plays together as a unit, as there are no holes at any position from the front seven, to the secondary.

“They play as a team, they have 2 good corners, and whenever you play as a team you have a chance” Chow said. Coach Bailey added, “They play great team defense, they are very good at lining up and playing good solid team defense.”

Having played superior opponents, Chow hopes that his squad has learned from these past experiences.

“When you play good teams, you cannot make mistakes, hopefully we learn from that.” Chow said.

Wittek and Pedroza’s Offensive Mindset:

Although Hawaii’s offense was shutout last weekend versus the Badgers, Max Wittek and junior receiver Quentin Pedroza hooked up 10 times for 134 yards. The inability of the Rainbow Warriors to sustain any offensive drives severely hurt their chances of scoring.

“Last game wasn’t negative at all, we just need to sustain drives.” Wittek said. “If we can keep those drives going by putting a collection of plays together rather than a few on our drives, we’ll be just fine.”

Wittek understands the circumstances of conference games as he noted, “We sit at 2-2, heading into conference, and no game is bigger than the next but this counts toward our conference.”

Pedroza looks to build on his standout performance in Madison, as he prepares every week the same, no matter who the opponent.

“I view every opponent the same, they are all human. Some are stronger, some are faster, but I prepare for them the same way whether they are 0-3 or 3-1”

Boise State’s #1 ranks since 2000-Present:

- The Broncos lead the nation in home winning % boasting a 94-4 record on the blue turf, a .959 winning percentage.

- Through 198 games, Boise State has scored 7,987 points which is an average of 40.14 per game. This ranks #1 in the country since 2000.

- Boise State has the highest conference winning percentage going 106-10, resulting in a .914 winning clip over the past decade and a half.

- With a .854 winning percentage, 170-29, the Broncos are the most winning team since 2000.

- Out of any West Coast team, Boise State’s 170 wins leads the next closest university, Oregon (149), USC (149) by 21 victories.

What have the Broncos done lately?

The Broncos opened up the 2015 season at home with a 16-13 victory over the University of Washington. Washington’s head coach Chris Petersen who established Boise State as a national power during his tenure in Boise fell in his return. Boise State then fell to BYU 24-35 in Provo, Utah, but bounced back to trounce Idaho 52-0 at home, and last weekend dominated University of Virginia on the road 56-14.

Record Setting Freshman QB:

Due to quarterback injuries, freshman signal caller Brett Rypien had a career debut last week Friday at Virginia as he totaled 321 yards, 3 touchdowns on 24-35 passing. Rypien’s first start as a Bronco was a record setting start, shattering Kellen Moore’s debut of 274 passing yards back in 2008. Rypien also became the first Boise State quarterback to earn a win on the road in his first start in program history.

McNichols Chasing Touchdown History:

Sophomore running back Jeremy McNichols has totaled 10 touchdowns, 8 rushing and 2 receiving so far this season. McNichols added two scores in last week’s victory over Virgnia which puts him on pace to break Boise State’s single season rushing TD record of 28, set last year by Jay Ajayi, and the overall touchdowns scored of 32, set by Ajayi in (2014), and Brock Forsey (2002).

Williams-Rhodes On Pace to Be All Time Pass Catcher:

Wide Receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes is on pace for 84 catches this season should he play all 14 games. He is currently 4th all-time in Boise State pass catching history, sitting only behind Bronco legends Titus Young (204), Austin Pettis (229) and Matt Miller (244).

Boise Stout Rush Defense:

In the last 4 contests, no opponent has been able to rush over 100 yards versus the Broncos defense. Last Friday, Virginia managed just 40 yards on 33 carries. BYU managed to gain only 72 yards, and Washington was held to just 29 yards on the ground on 22 attempts. In the first 4 games of this season, Boise State’s rush defense is # 1 in FBS, holding opponents to a nation leading low of 44.3 yards per game and 1.5 yards per attempt.

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