Strange times for Boise State
For just the fifth time in five years, the Broncos lost a game Saturday. Two of the previous losses came when they didn't have a game the next week, so playing the week after a loss is even more rare.
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And for the first time since 2007 they have lost more than once in a season. (only one player, sixth-year senior tailback D.J. Harper, was on that team)
The Broncos (7-2 overall, 4-1 Mountain West) will try to bounce back Saturday at Hawaii. They likely need three wins for a share of the league title.
"We don't lose too much around here," senior wide receiver Chris Potter said. "When it does happen, people seem to kind of hang onto it a little longer. In the locker room, especially in the past, we've had to learn that next Saturday comes around quick."
Coach Chris Petersen has emphasized the need to learn from the loss and improve his young team. With three games left, he doesn't want to talk about any goal beyond playing well Saturday. "We've got to be very, very short-sighted here," he said.
For Hawaii coach Norm Chow, an assistant coach for 38 years before getting his first head coaching assignment this year, is a throwback.
While other teams have changed to a no-huddle spread offense to constantly keep pressure on defense, Chow believes the Warriors can succeed with a pro-style offense that he is accustomed to running. But he is not set in his ways. For the first time this season, he admitted that trying a quick-read spread offense might work for the Warriors.
"I'd like to think that the type of people that we're going to be able to recruit here, in the state of Hawaii, are those tough, hard-nosed linemen," said Chow, whose team is 1-7 with a game looming Saturday against Boise State (7-2).
"And I want to establish a tough, hard-nosed running game; a tough, hard-nosed football team, period. I think we have some of the pieces ? and the negative of all that is our offensive line is so dang young. We've got two freshmen, a couple sophomores.
"So, not being able to do that, we may have to spread out a bit more. We're not giving up on this season by any means. We're still trying to figure out what we can and cannot do. I think one thing that we have figured out is that we can play a little faster without a huddle. So we are gonna try to do that. We're trying to, believe me, figure out what that is."
Hawaii ranks 114th nationally, gaining only 302.1 yards per game. Baylor, the FBS leader, averages nearly double that amount at 581.5. Chow will stick mostly with the pro-style sets because that is what his players know at this point.
"It's the Hawai'i offense right now. That's all it is," Chow said. "If you have good wide receivers like Fresno State has, why would you not spread us out? If you have good running backs like they've had in the past, why would you not line up and blow people up?
"That's what coaching is. That's what makes it fun. We don't have four wide receivers right now. We can't even find three that are healthy. We'll do whatever it takes to try and win games. It's not easy, but no one said it would be."
Notes and Quotes
• Boise State lost two home games from 1999 through 2010. It has lost one in each of the past two seasons, including Saturday against San Diego State.
• The Broncos drew one penalty last week and now are tied for 13th in fewest penalties per game at 4.3 per game.
• True freshman CB Donte Deayon made his college debut last week, giving up his redshirt to fill a void in the secondary. He's the No. 3 cornerback and already playing on three special teams units. "We really put the ball in his court," coach Chris Petersen said. "If a guy is completely opposed to it, we would not do that. I still think it will really help him for next year. It's a long career here. It goes quickly, but there's a lot of football, so who knows what happens. You could redshirt him down the road. Hopefully that doesn't happen to him. He's good enough to not need that year."
• Boise State has not lost an October game since 2001, but the Broncos have lost a critical game in November in each of the past three seasons.
• Hawaii coach Norm Chow decided to suspend the Warriors' weekly scrimmage that usually takes place on Mondays. The Warriors instead worked only on conditioning drills and lifting sessions. Chow decided to mix things up to jump-start Hawaii with a change and because of the rash of injuries suffered by the Warriors.
• After Saturday's game against Boise State, the Warriors and Broncos might not meet again for a long time. This is the Broncos' final year in the Mountain West Conference. Neither team appears interested in meeting in a regular-season game. The Broncos don't like to interrupt their regular season with a trip that far away, particularly once they begin playing a Big East schedule.
• Hawaii has lost six straight games, the third longest streak in school history. The last time Hawaii lost six straight within a season was during the winless 1998 season. The last time the Warriors started a season 1-7 was in 2000, when they finished the regular season 3-9 overall and 2-6 in the Western Athletic Conference.
Quote To Note: "We gotta recruit. Last night, we got back and we spent all night recruiting on the telephone. We're gonna recruit. There's nothing wrong with the players we've got now. They're a tremendous group of young men and I love them to pieces. Really give the seniors a lot of credit."-Hawaii coach Norm Chow
Quote To Note: "One of our big things is protect The Blue. There's so many guys in the past who have worked so hard to do that and they've passed that legacy on. When you have that tradition passed on to you and you're part of the team that loses, it does sting."-Boise State wide receiver Chris Potter
Series History: Boise State leads Hawaii 9-3 (last meeting, 2010, 42-7 Boise State)
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
Boise State at Hawaii, Nov. 10-On paper, this is a mismatch across the board. Hawaii is 1-7 and hasn't played an FBS opponent closer than 12 points all season. Hawaii plays only its second home game since Sept. 22. The Warriors face a steep challenge against a Boise State team coming off its first Mountain West Conference loss, a 21-19 setback in Boise. Hawaii has yet to beat an FBS team this season. Its lone win is against FCS team Lamar in Honolulu.
Scouting The Boise State Offense: Something is just missing in the Broncos' offense this season. Nobody can pinpoint it-the players and coaches keep talking about details-but this is not the Boise State offense that made the program famous. In the four biggest games of the season, the offense has produced six points against Michigan State, zero against BYU, 20 against Fresno State and 19 against San Diego State. The offense ranks 88th in the nation in yards, at 370.2 per game, and 66th in scoring, at 27.4 points per game. Quarterback Joe Southwick has 10 touchdown passes in nine games-about two and a half games worth for predecessor Kellen Moore.
Scouting The Hawaii Offense: Although Hawaii coach Norm Chow would like to run an offense with a hard-nosed approach, the Warriors average only 114 yards rushing this season. That ranks 106th in the FBS. Redshirt freshman Will Gregory is the top back, averaging 70.1 yards per game. Joey Iosefa, a sophomore, is gaining more reps and led the Warriors with 59 yards on 15 carries against Fresno State.
Scouting The Boise State Defense: The Broncos haven't dominated on defense this year. Instead, they have played so soundly that it's difficult for opponents to score. The first-teamers have not allowed a touchdown play of longer than seven yards. In Saturday's loss, the defense only gave up one scoring drive. San Diego State scored its other two touchdowns on a kickoff return and an 8-yard drive set up by a blocked punt. Boise State dropped a bit to eighth in the nation in scoring defense at 14.4 points per game and ranks sixth in pass efficiency defense at 99.22.
Scouting The Defense: The Warriors' pass defense is credible, allowing only 202.9 yards passing per game. They rank 32nd in the FBS in that category. Fresno State quarterback Derek Carr was successful against the Warriors, however, completing 15 of 23 passes for 304 yards and four touchdowns.
For Boise State:
Keys To The Game: Boise State's focus will be tested by the weak opponent and trip to Hawaii. It's a young team that already has had some signs of immaturity. It will be interesting to see how the Broncos bounce back from the loss.
Players To Watch:
LB J.C. Percy-He has 80 tackles in nine games, a career high and 32 more than any other player on the team. He's well on his way to becoming the Broncos' first first-team all-conference inside linebacker since 2006.
WR Matt Miller-He's a possession receiver with a knack for first-down catches. He showed that on a fourth-and-15 grab while absorbing a big hit late in last week's loss. On the year, he has 48 catches for 507 yards and two touchdowns.
DT Darren Koontz-The senior steps into a starting role, likely for the rest of the season, because of the injury to senior Mike Atkinson. Koontz has 20 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks this season.
• Senior defensive tackle Michael Atkinson's college career ended with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in the second half of Saturday's game. He ranks sixth on the team with 37 tackles. He also has 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and the game-winning interception return for a touchdown against BYU.
• Redshirt freshman kicker Jake Van Ginkel has been dismissed from the team and won't return, coach Chris Petersen said.
• Petersen did not provide any information on the status of the other suspended players-safety Lee Hightower, tight end Hayden Plinke, defensive back Eric Agbaroji and long snapper Chris Roberson.
Keys To The Game: In years past, the strength of Boise State's team was its offense, but now the defense is dominant. That's bad news for Hawaii, which ranks 114th nationally in total offense (only 302.1 yards per game). Boise State has the 15th-best defense in the nation, allowing only 306.3 yards per game.
Players To Watch
QB Sean Schroeder-The embattled junior quarterback has a passing efficiency rating of only 100.06, which does not rank in the top 100 at the FBS level. By comparison, Air Force's Connor Dietz has a league-leading rating of 176.12.
WR Scott Harding-The sophomore is one of the leading punt returners in the nation. He averages 10.2 yards a return, which ranks 26th nationally.
CB Mike Edwards-He averages 29.3 yards in kickoff returns, which 12th nationally. He also leads the Warriors in all-purpose yardage 124.6 yards a game.
•CB Mike Edwards' shoulder injury is not as serious as initially believed and he is expected to be available for Saturday's game against Boise State.
• WR Trevor Davis (neck) was examined at a hospital Saturday night. His status for the Boise State game is uncertain.
• WR Chris Gant (arm) did not play against Fresno State and is doubtful against Boise State.