Broncos Favored Big

Boise, Idaho - Hawaii's offense was one of the toughest in the nation to prepare for last season, as Boise State found out in a contest for the WAC title. Now, it's the Broncos' defense that's requiring extra film study.

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Coming off yet another outstanding game on defense, No. 15 Boise State looks to remain undefeated when it hosts the Warriors on Friday night.

Oddsmakers from have made Boise State –25 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 63% of bets for this game have been placed on Boise State –25 (View College Football bet percentages).

Largely due to poor defense, the Broncos (5-0, 1-0) lost their last two games last season. They were beaten out by Hawaii for the WAC crown in their final regular-season game, losing 39-27 on Nov. 23, before being upset 41-38 by East Carolina in the Hawaii Bowl exactly one month later.

Against the Warriors, Boise State gave up 574 total yards as it struggled to stop quarterback Colt Brennan and a Hawaii offense that averaged 43.3 points per game in 2007.

Now, though, Brennan has moved on to the NFL, Hawaii (3-3, 2-1) has a former defensive coordinator as its head coach and the Broncos have been shutting down opposing offenses.

Boise State ranks seventh in the nation in scoring defense, allowing an average of 11.2 points. The Broncos have given up seven points or fewer in four of their five games.

Southern Miss entered Saturday night's contest with Boise State as the nation's No. 17 offense, but the Broncos yielded only 278 yards in a 24-7 victory.

"They've been paying attention," Boise State coach Chris Peterson said of his defense. "They've been buying into it whether it is red zone or fourth down. They just seem to turn the dial up and make a play when they need to."

The short week of preparation, though, may not be enough time for the Broncos to iron out their problems on offense. Boise State fumbled four times versus Southern Miss, and quarterback Kellen Moore threw an interception.

"Most of the mistakes we made were just mental things," Broncos running back Ian Johnson said. "I don't know if it was the humidity, or the food, but it seems like something got into our head. Those are some of the things that are uncharacteristic of Boise State and we are going to go work on that so those things won't happen again."

Moore made plays when he needed to, though, throwing three touchdown passes in a 24-point second quarter for the Broncos. For the season, the redshirt freshman has completed 71.5 percent of his passes for 1,335 yards and 10 touchdowns with only three interceptions.

The Warriors also have a first-year starter at quarterback in Inoke Funaki, who has helped them win two straight. The junior passed for two TDs and ran for 79 yards in a 25-17 victory over then-No. 22 Fresno State on Oct. 4, and threw two more TDs in a 26-14 victory over Louisiana Tech on Saturday night.

The win over Fresno State was Hawaii's first in 11 tries all-time against ranked opponents on the road. With Funaki finding a groove, Hawaii will try for another upset.

"I think Inoke Funaki is outstanding," Warriors coach Greg McMackin said. "He brings so much to the table. He creates so many problems because he's so mobile."

McMackin, who has seen hundreds of quarterbacks in his decades as a defensive coordinator in college and the NFL, knows Funaki is hard to stop. Funaki threw for a career-high 224 yards against Louisiana Tech, and also picked up his first career rushing touchdown.

"He's starting to realize that he's got something special and he can take it to a higher level," McMackin said. "So he's going to get better and better."

Hawaii's receivers are beginning to benefit from Funaki throwing the ball with more confidence and velocity, according to McMackin. Sophomore Greg Salas had the best game of his career Saturday, catching three passes for 87 yards and a touchdown.

"(Funaki) is just putting the ball on the money now," said Warriors running back Kealoha Pilares, who had five receptions for 52 yards and a score against Louisiana Tech, and also ran for 54 yards on nine attempts. "He's trusting us and trusting the reads and that's what this offense needs."

Boise State leads the all-time series with Hawaii 6-3.

Top Betting Trends:
BOISE ST is 4-4 against the spread versus HAWAII since 1992
BOISE ST is 6-3 straight up against HAWAII since 1992
4 of 7 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games over the last 3 seasons
HAWAII is 2-0 against the spread versus BOISE ST over the last 3 seasons 
BOISE ST is 1-1 straight up against HAWAII over the last 3 seasons 
1 of 2 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
All games played at BOISE ST since 1992
BOISE ST is 2-1 against the spread versus HAWAII since 1992
BOISE ST is 3-0 straight up against HAWAII since 1992
2 of 3 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1992
Games played at BOISE ST over the last 3 seasons.
HAWAII is 1-0 against the spread versus BOISE ST over the last 3 seasons 
BOISE ST is 1-0 straight up against HAWAII over the last 3 seasons 
1 of 1 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons
Key Player Injuries
[DT] Rocky Savaiigaea out indefinitely. - Tricep - 10/04/08
[LB] Brashton Satele is probable, but not 100% healthy. - Shoulder - 10/08
[OL] Keith AhSoon is expected to miss at least 6 weeks. - Shoulder - 09/17
[LB] Adam Leonard missed last game, upgraded to probable. - Hamstring - 10
[LB] Blaze Soares missed last game %27?%27 - Calf - 10/06/08
[TE] Chris O'Neill expected to miss remainder of season - Foot - 10/06/08
[DL] Joe Bozikovich left last game, downgraded to expected to miss. - Shou
[LB] Daron Mackey is expected to miss the rest of the season. - ACL - 10/0
[DB] Cedric Febis is expected to miss 2 weeks - Knee - 09/28/08
[QB] Nick Lomax is expected to transfer. - None - 08/26/08
[DT] Sean Bingham missed last game, upgraded to probable. - Undisclosed

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Posted: 10/14/08 2:20 PM

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