3. What is the biggest matchup to watch?
Hawaii’s offensive line versus Boise State’s defensive line. The Warriors have an extremely good offensive line and it has kept their quarterbacks upright most of the year. They did a pretty good job earlier this year but can they once again keep Curtis Weaver and the rest of the Broncos out of the Hawaii backfield. If they can’t it will be a long miserable day for Hawaii.
To repeat what Raj said about the biggest matchup to watch it is going to be Hawaii’s offensive line versus Boise State’s defensive line.Can Hawaii’s offensive line contain Boise State’s defensive line and allow the Rainbow Warriors offensive to chug along smoothly?
Cole McDonald vs. Jeff Schmeddings scheme. Cole McDonald is no stranger to turning the ball over (I don’t see an advantage to playing Chevan Cordiero beyond a handful of scramble yards) and I would expect the Boise DC to try and make McDonald cough up the ball a few times. Scheme is one thing, but throw in the players the Broncos have to execute it and it could be a tough sledding.
Cole McDonald vs. Boise State defense.
McDonald put Hawaii back on the map of college football and it’s good to see Hawaii be competitive. Boise State’s defense has been suspect of late giving up 300+ yards of offense. In their previous matchup the Boise St defense gave up 325 yards of passing offense and 3 touchdowns. It’s one to see if McDonald can exploit this Boise St defense, and the other piece is if McDonald will put up enough points to overcome Hawaii’s liabilities.
The Hawaii offense’s consistency against the Bronco secondary. If the Bows can consistently get open and keep the Bronco secondary on their heels with a good pass/run combo then they might have a chance to shock people.
Hawaii’s O-line managed to hold off San Diego State’s top-six-in-the-nation defense. I don’t think this is going to be the big matchup. I think Hawaii will be able to Manage Boise’s defense, period. Hawaii’s receivers versus Boise State’s secondary is going to be the true matchup. Can Boise State subvert the air assault? Can they stop set plays? Hawaii’s O-line will be able to buy McDonald time to make quality deployments, but what happens on the other end will be the difference-maker.
Hawaii’s offensive line has been awesome all year long, so I’m very interested to see whether they get the better of a very talented Boise State front seven again. The Broncos had just two tackles for loss and zero sacks in the first matchup despite finishing the regular season 30th among FBS defenses with a 7.7% sack rate, 29th among FBS defenses in Stuff Rate (percentage of plays stopped at or behind the line of scrimmage), 4th in Power Success Rate (short yardage situations), and so on. If the weather forces the Warriors to lean on its running game, it’s worth keeping in mind that they had the single-best performance of any Boise State opponent this year, averaging six yards per carry, but probably didn’t do that enough early since Cole McDonald’s slow start doomed them instead.
The biggest matchup that will have an impact are two. Yes, that is cheating but I am going with two. Hawaii’s wide receivers against the Boise State secondary. The Warriors wide out unit goes four deep with a ton of talent and at least one will breakthrough for a big game against the Broncos secondary.
The other matchup is the Hawaii offensive line vs. Curtis Weaver. In the first matchup the Warriors offensive line did not allow a sack but it is still something to watch for as Weaver or another Broncos defender can get to the quarterback.
Curtis Weaver is the best player in the conference, and he’ll be looking to poke holes in a really good OL to get at McDonald all night. Hawaii’s receivers are talented enough to bust loose downfield against BSU’s secondary if given the time, but if Weaver is bringing the heat it might not matter. Weaver versus Hawaii’s pass protection will be the largest deciding factor of this game.
Hawaii’s O-Line vs Boise’s D-Line will be the biggest matchup to watch. If Hawaii can keep either Cole McDonald or Chevan Cordeiro clean, they can be a dangerous team. If Curtis Weaver and the other Broncos get going, it’s going to be a long day for the Warriors.
Curtis Weaver against whoever Hawaii tries to stop him with. Weaver has dominated all year and it will be interesting to see if how Hawaii tries to execute their offense while keeping him out of their backfield