WAC Week 14 Expanded Preview Blog

Posted Nov 25, 2008

The big storylines and overviews for all the WAC games.

WAC Storylines Blog

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CFN Writers
ACC By Adam Kurkjian; Big East By J.P. Girouard; Big 10 By Tony Castricone; Big 12 By Sean Martin; Conference USA By Greg Vacek; Independents By Adam Nettina; MAC By Adam Nettina; Mountain West By Jim Riffel; Pac 10 By Dan Greenspan; SEC By Gabe Harris and Barrett Sallee; Sun Belt By John Martello; WAC By Jon Tavares

Fresno State (7-4) at Boise State (11-0) Friday 6 pm
--Fresno State pulled away from San Jose State in the second half last week, coming away with a 24-10 victory to assure itself of a bowl bid.. This season has had plenty of ups and downs for the Bulldogs, who had much higher goals than finishing second in the WAC. At the start of the season, the finale against Boise State looked like the game of the year, but the Broncos have already clinched the conference title outright and the best Fresno can hope for is a tie for second.
- Boise State held off a solid Nevada team last week in a 41-34 victory. This has been a tremendous season for the Bronco program, but it looks like they’ll finish behind Utah for a coveted BCS berth. A win against Fresno would put an exclamation point on this season and would be the second time in three seasons the Broncos have gone undefeated. While the hometown Humanitarian Bowl seems likely, WAC Commissioner Karl Benson has had success moving WAC teams into better bowl situations.
Fresno State: RBs Lonyae Miller and Ryan Matthews have both been slowed by injuries recently. Mathews may not play against the Broncos, meaning junior RB Anthony Harding will once again be the team’s main rusher. Key defensive lineman Jon Monga is out for the year with a broken foot, while starting safety Marvin Haynes will miss a fourth straight game with a back problem.
Boise State: Boise State has several injuries on the offensive line with starters Cory Yriarte, Andrew Woodruff and Thomas Byrd all missing time with leg injuries. They should all play against the Bulldogs. Star free safety Jeron Johnson will try to give it a go despite injuring his leg against Nevada, but he’ll be limited if he’s able to get on the field. WR Titus Young remains on indefinite suspension for disciplinary reasons.
Fresno State has to … slow down QB Kellen Moore. No one has been able to do it this season. The redshirt freshman quarterback continues to be the key to the offense with 23 touchdown passes and nine interceptions as he has carried the attack at times. Moore threw three interceptions last week, including two for touchdowns, but those were aberrations. Fresno State has to get pressure on Moore early on and force him to move out of the pocket.
Boise State has to … slow down the Bulldog rushing attack. Fresno can throw, but when things are working well, the offense gets a big day from the ground game running between the tackles. The Boise State run defense has been outstanding, holding Nevada’s No. 1 ranked ground attack (averaging over 300 yards per game) to 144 yards. BSU will take its chances with FSU QB Tom Brandstater trying to win the game.
Keep an eye on … Fresno State RB Anthony Harding. With Lonyae Miller hampered by injury and stud RB Ryan Mathews out, Harding had 17 carries for 99 yards and two TDs against San Jose State. Fresno has to play ball control and keep the score low for it to have a chance against the Broncos, and Harding could be used as a workhorse, even if he doesn’t generate big numbers.
The number to know: 6 -- Fresno has lost 6 times in 7 meetings against Boise State since the Broncos joined the WAC. The lone win came in 2005.
And the winner is … Boise State 37 … Fresno State 24


Washington State (2-10) at Hawaii (6-5) 11:05 pm

--The Cougars are coming off a 16-13 double overtime win in the Apple Cup against Washington. This has been a very disappointing season for first year head coach Paul Wulff as the Cougars hadn’t played a competitive game against an FBS team until last week. Beating Hawaii on the road would give the program some positive momentum heading into the offseason.

--Hawaii crushed Idaho last week 49-17. The Hawaii offense is finally starting to look like its old self again as points are starting to come in bunches. The Warriors have scored 91 points the last two games. Hawaii needs one win in its final two games to qualify for the Hawaii Bowl. Big East leader Cincinnati visits Hawaii next week.

Washington State:. Starting DB Alonso Jackson missed the Washington game with a stinger suffered three weeks ago.

Hawaii: Starting CB Ryan Mouton was moved to safety against Idaho last week and rolled his ankle in the first quarter. He will probably miss the Washington State game. RB Kealoha Pilares also left the Idaho game with injury but may be available this week. Hawaii announced that preseason starting OLB Blaze Soares, who has been out with a foot injury all year, will not play this season.

Washington State has to … Pressure Hawaii QB Greg Alexander. The Hawaii offense is finally starting to click and Alexander is the key. With the Hawaii running game virtually non-existent, the Cougars must get pressure on the quarterback to keep the Hawaii passing game from dominating the game.

Hawaii has to ….Score early. The win over Washington was great but the Cougars are averaging 13 points per game. Washington State doesn’t have the weapons to keep up if the Warriors continue to score at their recent pace.

Keep an eye on … Hawaii defensive end David Veikune. The senior is having a breakout season with 12 tackles for loss, 6 sacks and 4 forced fumbles. He pressured Idaho QB Nathan Enderle into 3 picks last week and was the catalyst for 7 overall sacks by the Hawaii front four. Washington State will need to account for Veikune on every passing down.

The number to know: 18-2 – Hawaii’s record at Aloha Stadium since the start of the 2006 season. Expect this trend to continue since Hawaii has a bowl game on the line.
And the winner is … Hawaii 41 … Washington State 20