BSU vs HI FOOTBALL

Members of the Boise State Bronco football team take to the field in celebration as the clock runs out against Hawaii during Mountain West Championship football action at Albertsons Stadium, Saturday.

BOISE — How about former Boise State coach Chris Petersen facing the Broncos in his last game as head coach?

Things very well could shake out that way.

Boise State will officially find out its bowl destination and opponent Sunday, but it’s almost a guarantee that the Broncos will be headed to the Las Vegas Bowl.

And they could meet up with an old friend. Depending on what happens with the final CFP rankings and whether or not Utah lands in the New Year’s Six, the 7-5 Washington Huskies could fall into the Las Vegas Bowl as the Broncos’ opponent.

Petersen, who coached Boise State to two Fiesta Bowl championships and a 92-12 record, announced recently that he will step down as Washington’s head coach after the bowl game to “recharge” after 14 consecutive seasons as an FBS coach.

“That would certainly be an interesting storyline,” Vegas Bowl executive director John Saccenti told the Idaho Press late Saturday night. “I would say the chances are pretty decent. I’m sure it would probably be tough for coach Petersen, but certainly it would be an intriguing matchup for us.”

Saccenti said the Vegas Bowl will be in a holding pattern until they see whether or not Utah lands in the Cotton Bowl as an at-large pick. If that happens, the other Pac-12 teams would slide up a spot and the only team left for the Las Vegas Bowl would be 6-6 Washington State.

“I don’t see a scenario other than Washington State if Utah goes (to the Cotton Bowl),” Saccenti said. “We also have to wait and see what San Francisco (Redbox Bowl) does. Arizona State, Cal and Washington will be in the group they would choose from.”

It was thought the Redbox Bowl would pick California due to their close proximity, but they could have interest in marketing Petersen’s last game also.

“There are a lot of factors out of our hands at this point,” Saccenti said.

One thing appears certain, and that’s Boise State returning to the Las Vegas Bowl for the second time in three years and the fifth time in the past 10 years.

Crazier things have happened and ESPN could always look to find the 12-1 Broncos a more attractive game and opponent elsewhere, but the Mountain West champion typically goes to the Las Vegas Bowl. And that’s what Saccenti is expecting.

“It certainly looks that way,” Saccenti said. “Memphis won and you’d assume they will remain higher but I never like to say for sure. But our intention every year is to take the Mountain West champion, and that is our intention at this point again.”

SMALL CROWD ATTENDS TITLE GAMEAn announced crowd of just 23,561 attended Saturday’s Mountain West title game. It was the smallest crowd in four championship games played on The Blue in the last six years, finishing below the 23,662 that showed up for the 2018 game against Fresno State.

The crowd was nearly 10,000 below the 33,448 average the Broncos had during six regular season games. And it was more than 13,000 smaller than the stadium record of 36,902 that watched Boise State and Hawaii in their first meeting of the season on Oct. 12.

HENDERSON, LUI EARN MVP AWARDSRedshirt senior quarterback Jaylon Henderson was named the Offensive Most Valuable Player of Saturday’s game, while senior defensive lineman Sonatane Lui took home the Defensive Most Valuable Player award.

Henderson, who started the year as the third-string quarterback, completed 20 of 29 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns. He also had 51 rushing yards and another touchdown.

Lui had five tackles, two sacks and a forced fumble to lead a strong defensive effort. He also combined to help stop Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald short on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line in the first half.

BACHMEIER’S MOM TWEETS CRITICISM, THEN DELETES ITApril Bachmeier, the mom of true freshman quarterback Hank Bachmeier, went to social media during Saturday’s game to voice her displeasure over her son not playing in the game.

During the third quarter, Bachmeier posted to her Twitter account, “Let’s be fair and play all the qbs that helped the broncos get to championship. Didn’t they all earn it.”

The tweet was deleted a few minutes later.

Bachmeier is 7-0 as a starter, but suffered a pair of injuries that forced him to the sidelines. He’s apparently back to full strength, but the Broncos started third-stringer Jaylon Henderson for a fourth straight game Saturday.

The true freshman warmed up in the second quarter with the offense struggling and coach Bryan Harsin confirmed he nearly entered the game. But the Broncos scored, and Henderson remained under center for the rest of the way.

BRONCO BITSThe entire team carried sledgehammers onto the field before the game. … Senior tight end Matt Pistone was the fourth single-game captain for the Broncos. … The Mountain West title is the fourth for Boise State, tying them with Utah, BYU and TCU for the most in league history. … It’s the first time since 2014 that Boise State has won 12 games in a season. … The Broncos are now 14-3 all-time against Hawaii. … It was the eighth come-from-behind win this season for Boise State.

B.J Rains has covered Boise State athletics for the Idaho Press since 2013. He is an Associated Press Top 25 men's basketball poll voter, and also contributes to KBOI-TV as a Boise State insider.

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