BOISE, Idaho — Broncos fans are getting one more chance to see their team play on the Blue this season.
The Boise State football team will host its third consecutive Mountain West championship game on Saturday, as the Hawai'i Rainbow Warriors return to Albertsons Stadium for the second time this season.
The game is scheduled to kick off at 2 p.m. and will be televised nationally on ESPN.
For the first time since joining the Mountain West in 2011, No. 19 Boise State (11-1, 8-0 MWC) went undefeated in conference play during the regular season. The Broncos secured their spot in the championship game by beating Utah State 56-21 on Nov. 23, and followed that win with a 31-24 victory over Colorado State last weekend.
Saturday's title game will be the Broncos' first game at Albertsons Stadium since a 42-9 demolition of New Mexico on Nov. 16.
Hawai'i (9-4, 5-3 MWC) will be making its second 2,800-mile trek to Boise this season. The Broncos beat the Warriors 59-37 on the Blue back on Oct. 13. Since that game, Hawai'i posted a 5-2 record, with losses at home to Air Force and Fresno State, but finished strong on a four-game win streak. The Warriors clinched the West Division title with a 14-11 win over San Diego State on Nov. 23.
At his Monday press conference, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said that, although the Broncos and Warriors have already played once this season, both teams have grown since that first game.
"There's a lot of things since we played Hawai'i [in October] that we've done differently," he said. "There's a lot of changes that have happened, a lot of things that we've done differently. So the team we were against Hawai'i was not the same team we are now."
Harsin noted that Hawai'i's impressive run to end the season did not go unnoticed.
"They're very talented," he said. "The way they have played, especially to finished out the regular season, we've got a lot of work to do this week.
"They've gotten better as the season has gone on," he added. "We're playing the same team but it's a new challenge for our guys."
Mountain West Championship Game: Hawai'i at Boise State
- Saturday, Dec. 7
- Albertsons Stadium, Boise
- Kickoff: 2 p.m. MT
- Weather: Scattered showers, 46 degrees
The game will be televised on ESPN (Roy Philpott, Kelly Stouffer, Lauren Sisler), which can be found on the following channels:
- Sparklight (formerly Cable One): Channel 133 / 1133 (HD)
- DirecTV: Channel 206
- Dish Network: Channel 140
- Cox: Channel 32 / 1032 (HD)
ON THE RADIO
Fans can listen to the game on the Bronco Radio Network (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender), which can be found online or on the following stations in the Boise area:
- KBOI 670 AM in Boise
- KTIK 93.1 FM in Boise
- KDZY 98.3 FM in McCall
- KSNQ 98.3 FM in Twin Falls
Here is a list of Bronco Radio Network stations outside the Boise area.
The game will stream live on the WatchESPN app, available in Apple and Android app stores. The service is only available to subscribers of participating cable and satellite television providers (including Cable One, Dish Network, and DirecTV).
BRONCO ROUNDUP GAMEDAY
KTVB's Bronco Roundup Game Day show will be live from Albertsons Stadium before the game from 9 to 10 a.m. on KTVB, KTVB.COM, and in the Bronco Roundup app.
Join Jay Tust, Will Hall and special guests live on the Blue for a look at all of the major storylines surrounding this championship matchup.
The Broncos moved up one spot to No. 19 in the latest College Football Playoff rankings, released on Tuesday, but still trail No. 17 Memphis (11-1, 7-1).
The Broncos (11-1, 8-0) jumped No. 20 Cincinnati (10-2, 7-1), who lost to Memphis on Saturday in the American Athletic Conference regular season finale.
At this point, all three teams are still in the running for a coveted berth in a New Year's Six bowl game (this year it's the Cotton Bowl), which is awarded to the top-ranked Group of 5 conference champion.
Memphis and Cincinnati are set for a rematch this weekend in the AAC championship game. Should the Bearcats win, it remains to be seen if the College Football Playoff Committee would rank a two-loss AAC champion over a one-loss MWC champion.
Two other Group of 5 schools were ranked this week - No. 21 Appalachian State and No. 24 Navy.
Air Force (10-2, 7-1) was left out of this week's playoff rankings, despite being ranked No. 25 in both the AP Top 25 and the Amway Coaches Poll.
Aside from season-ending injuries, Boise State has not made any significant changes on its depth chart since the start of the season. That changed on Monday, when the depth chart was updated to put Jaylon Henderson as the No. 1 quarterback heading into the Mountain West championship game.
After Hank Bachmeier and Chase Cord both suffered injuries, Henderson went 3-0 as as a starter and finished the regular season with 820 passing yards, 9 touchdowns and just one interception. He added 89 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown.
Asked by KTVB's Jay Tust if fans should read anything into the depth chart change, Harsin said that Henderson has earned it.
"I think Jaylon has proven himself," he said, hinting that we could see more than one QB get playing time on Saturday.
"I think all those guys deserve to play, so get ready," he said. "Get ready to play, and go out there and perform. If it's all three playing, it's all three playing."
The last time all three quarterbacks played in the same game? It was on Oct. 12 against Hawai'i.
"All three of them were in the game plan. That was by design," Harsin said. "All those guys are able to play, all those guys are capable of going out there and executing, then we'll utilize them.
"All those guys contributed to a really good performance that night," he added.
KTVB sports analyst Tom Scott writes in his Scott Slant column that the team has really responded to the senior signal caller.
"The title game against Hawaii is a fitting stage for Henderson. His first significant non-garbage time action of his career came in the 59-37 win over the Rainbow Warriors in October, when he threw his only other touchdown pass. It was then that we knew Henderson was not just a kneel-down quarterback, as he went 6-of-10 for 82 yards and the TD in the heat of the battle. That’s the night Bachmeier suffered his hip injury, and after the game, there was never a thought that Cord wouldn’t be the replacement while Bachmeier was on the shelf. And that’s the way it went at BYU, the Broncos’ only loss of the season. But when both QBs were unavailable for the New Mexico game, the story of the 2019 season turned in a way no one could have predicted."
BRONCOS DOMINATE ALL-MW AWARDS
The Mountain West revealed their annual postseason awards on Wednesday, and the Broncos cleaned up.
Junior STUD Curtis Weaver was named the Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, junior cornerback and punt returner Avery Williams earned Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Year, and true freshman running back George Holani received Mountain West Freshman of the Year honors.
Weaver leads the Mountain West and ranks third in the FBS with 13.5 sacks this season. He becomes just the second Bronco be named the top defender in the Mountain West. Linebacker Leighton Vander Esch also earned the honor following a 141-tackle performance in 2017.
Holani is the second Bronco to be named the Mountain West Freshman of the Year, joining quarterback Brett Rypien who earned the designation in 2015. Holani ranks second in the FBS among true freshman running backs with 912 rushing yards this season.
Williams is the first player in program history to earn a postseason special teams player for the year award regardless of conference affiliation. Williams in the only FBS player with multiple punt return touchdowns this season. He is also tied for first in the country with two blocked kicks this season.
In all, Boise State had a Mountain West-best 17 players received all-conference recognition. Weaver, Williams and junior nickel Kekaula Kaniho were each named to the first team on defense, while senior John Molchon and junior Ezra Cleveland took home similar honors on offense. See the full list of Broncos who made the All-MW team here.
Despite going 11-1 and having a perfect record in conference, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin was passed over for the conference coach of the year award. That honor went instead to Hawai'i's Nick Rolovich.
TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN
Saturday's game marks Boise State's fourth appearance in the Mountain West Conference championship game since its inception in 2013. It also marks the third-straight year the Broncos have hosted the game.
The Broncos' fourth appearance in the title game is tied with Fresno State for the most in the league, and the three-straight trips to the game is a first for any team.
Hawai'i is making its first appearance in a conference championship game since joining the Mountain West in 2012. The Rainbow Warriors won four conference championships in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) - which did not have an official championship game. The most recent title for the team came in 2010 when Hawai'i shared the championship with Boise State and Nevada.
Here's a look at the MWC title game history:
- 2019: Hawai'i vs. Boise State (TBD)
- 2018: Fresno State vs. Boise State (19-16 Bulldogs win)
- 2017: Fresno State vs. Boise State (17-14 Broncos win)
- 2016: San Diego State vs. Wyoming (27-24 Aztecs win)
- 2015: Air Force vs. San Diego State (27-24 Aztecs win)
- 2014: Fresno State vs. Boise State (28-14 Broncos win)
- 2013: Utah State vs. Fresno State (24-17 Bulldogs win)
Watch more Boise State Football:
See them all in our YouTube Playlist:
ENTRY TO THE GAME
Fans should arrive early. Those whose seats are not in the Stueckle Sky Center may enter the stadium through any gate. Fans are encouraged — but not required — to leave their bags at home or in the car. For faster entry into the stadium, bring a clear bag or no bag to the game. Prior to entry, fans will pass through metal detectors, and any bags carried in will be subject to search. Remember to leave prohibited items behind, including all weapons, alcohol, glass, and coolers.
DECHEVRIEUX FIELD OPEN FOR TAILGATING
Boise State's partnership with Blockparty, a fan-focused hospitality and entertainment company, continues this season with pre-game festivities at the Ford Tailgate Zone at DeChevrieux Field.
The Tailgate Zone will include a Kids Zone, complete with a climbing wall and other entertainment geared toward the younger fans. It will also include huge televisions featuring top games, food trucks, and a "tailgate village" all on the Broncos' grass practice field adjacent to Albertsons Stadium.
The tailgate party is free for fans, but if you want an upgraded experience with your own tent, TV and other amenities. VIP packages are available for purchase and cost between $400 and $2000.
DeChevrieux Field opens for tailgating three hours before kickoff on home football game days.
10 TO 10 ZONE
The 10 to 10 Zone remains in place for home games this season. It specifies areas off-campus where people age 21 or older may consume alcoholic beverages from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Boise State home football game days only.
Alcoholic beverages are allowed in opaque plastic cups within the zone. Glass containers, beer cans, and type of liquor bottle and cups with alcoholic labeling are not allowed.
The "Zone" begins at Broadway Avenue and Myrtle Street, extends south down Broadway to Beacon, turns west along Beacon, north up Oakland Avenue, west on Potter Drive, north again up South Joyce Street, and then west along University Drive all the way to Capitol Boulevard. The boundary extends north along Capitol and turns east onto Cesar Chavez Lane, crosses Friendship Bridge north, and leads into Julia Davis Park. In the park, the "10 to 10 Zone" boundary is the area east of Zoo Boise to Broadway Avenue, and south of the Julia Davis pond.
TRAFFIC, PARKING & FREE SHUTTLES
Expect increased traffic on all roads surrounding Boise State before and after the game. University Drive, from Capitol Boulevard to Broadway Avenue, will be congested throughout the morning and afternoon. Because of limited public parking on-campus, fans are encouraged to park off-campus and walk/bike or use a shuttle to get to the game.
Lots & Garages on Campus:
The Albertsons Stadium parking lot will open eight hours prior to game time on Saturdays and four hours prior to every game during weekdays.
Boise State’s bike corral will be available near Christ Chapel on the corner of Broadway Avenue and Cesar Chavez Lane.
Spaces will be available for a $10 fee in the following lots and garages:
- Plaza East and West lots
- Brady Street Garage and Lincoln Avenue Garage
Handicap accessible spaces will be available for a $10 fee in the West and East Stadium lots, the Engineering and Technology reserved lot and on the ground floor of the Lincoln Avenue Garage.
Vehicles parked in accessible spaces must display an ADA license plate or placard and the placard/license plate registrant must be an occupant in the vehicle in order to purchase game day accessible parking.
Parking in Boise Parks:
Parking is allowed in designated parking spots within Julia Davis Park, Ann Morrison Park, Riverside Park, and Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park. Parking for Boise State home games is free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Towing will be delayed at those parks until 3 a.m. the following morning regardless of kickoff time.
Overnight parking is prohibited.
The Downtown Boise Association coordinates free shuttle buses from five convenient downtown locations to Bronco Stadium.
These shuttles run every 15 minutes starting two hours prior to game time, and immediately after the game for one hour.
- 6th & Grove (Bardenay)
- 8th & Main
- 8th between Idaho & Bannock (Red Feather/Bittercreek)
- 8th & Broad (Solid Grill & Bar)
- River Street between 12th & Ash (Payette Brewing)