BOISE — Players and coaches on the Boise State football team got to mingle with family and friends a little bit longer than usual outside Sam Boyd Stadium last Saturday night after a 38-13 win at UNLV.
There won’t be much free time the next two weeks.
The schedule ramps up for the 14th-ranked Broncos beginning with a home matchup Saturday night against Hawaii. The Broncos then head to BYU a week from Saturday. It’s a critical two-game stretch for the Broncos before the second and final bye week of the year on Oct. 26
The Rainbow Warriors are 4-1 and getting votes in the Coaches Poll. They own wins over a pair of Pac-12 teams in Arizona and Oregon State, and last time out, won at Nevada, 54-3, before enjoying an open date on the schedule last week.
“Hawaii is a really good football team,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said Monday. “We’ve got in our opinion the best football team we’ve played all year long, and the film seems to show that from the film we’ve watched.”
Hawaii boasts one of the top offenses in the country, ranking No. 22 nationally with an average of 480.6 yards per game and No. 25 with an average of 37.0 points per game.
Quarterback Cole McDonald leads the Mountain West with an average of 325.8 passing yards per game. His 17 passing touchdowns are also more than double than any other Mountain West quarterback.
Wide receiver Cedric Byrd already has 40 catches for 498 yards and nine touchdowns and is easily the top statistical receiver in the league.
“Offensively, they are firing on all cylinders,” Harsin said. “They’ve got a lot of fire power.”
It’s the first matchup between Boise State and Hawaii since 2016 due to the unbalanced Mountain West schedule. The Broncos will play at Hawaii next season.
“We’ve had some good battles with Hawaii over the years,” Harsin said. “There’s a lot of history between these teams. Our guys are looking forward to it. They know who Hawaii is. Hawaii has had their attention for a while.”
BACHMEIER DOES IT ALL
Starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier passed for 299 yards and two touchdowns in his second career road start Saturday night at UNLV.
But maybe more notable, was what he did after the game.
Bachmeier was seen helping push a cart full of gear past hundreds of Boise State fans mingling outside the locker room and to the equipment truck.
An Idaho Press reporter posted video of Bachmeier pushing the cart on Twitter, and by late Monday night, it had been viewed more than 32,000 times.
“Carrying out the gear at the end of the game, he’s still a freshman and knows his role right?” Harsin said. “He’s still a freshman. Hey, push the gear, carry the bags, whatever. I don’t think he’s lost the position that he’s in.
“He’s a good player and he’s the starter for us, but there’s still a lot that he’s learning as the season goes on. There’s a lot he’s getting better at. And to me, I think he’s doing a great job. I really do.”
Bachmeier ranks No. 2 in the Mountain West with 297.8 passing yards per game, eight touchdowns and a pass efficiency rating of 150.6.
RED ZONE OFFENSE LOOKS BETTER, BUT BRONCOS STRUGGLE ON THIRD DOWN
Boise State’s offense entered Saturday’s game at UNLV as one of the best third-down teams in the country and one of the worst in the red zone. Those numbers were flipped against the Rebels as the Broncos scored touchdowns on both trips inside the 20, but went just 2 of 13 on third down.
“One area goes up, one goes down, right?” Harsin said. “You hear me say consistency a lot and that’s always the thing we’re chasing. I do think we’ve done a much better job in the red zone. We’ve certainly emphasized it.”
On converting just two third downs, Harsin said, “Credit to UNLV. I thought they did a good job and played us well in those situations. We’ve evaluated it and we know why and we know there were some things we left on the table. There were opportunities there.”
Harsin said he’s “always concerned when we see numbers like that” but said it was just a few execution errors that cost them.
Tickets for Saturday’s game against Hawaii are going fast, but some do remain at BroncoSports.com. The game is expected to be close to a sellout by kick off on Saturday. … The annual Homecoming Parade will start at 5 p.m. Saturday, and the Broncos will finish the parade with their ‘Bronco Walk’ into Albertsons Stadium at 5:45 p.m. … The Boise State men’s basketball team will hold a dunk contest and scrimmage for fans on Saturday at 6 p.m. inside Bronco Gym. … Boise State’s road game at BYU on Oct. 19 will kick off at 8:15 p.m. and air nationally on ESPN2, the Mountain West announced Monday.