There was a little extra excitement for the Boise State football team after its 52-16 win at Hawaii on Saturday.
Not only did the Broncos put together their best game of the season at a time when most teams hope to be playing their best, but Wyoming’s 69-66 loss in three overtimes to UNLV changed their outlook.
The Cowboys, who beat the Broncos on Oct. 29, host San Diego State on Saturday, a team that has won its last four games by a combined 151 points. Boise State needs Wyoming to lose, and the Broncos need to win their last two games to have a shot at playing in the Mountain West championship game against the Aztecs.
“I was pretty happy, I guess,” senior wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck said. “But we’ve still got to look at what’s in front of us, the game ahead.”
Premium content for only $0.99
For the most comprehensive local coverage, subscribe today.
Boise State (9-1, 5-1 MW) hosts UNLV (4-6, 3-3) on Friday at Albertsons Stadium (7 p.m., ESPN2), and closes out the regular season at Air Force (7-3, 3-3) on Nov. 25.
Sperbeck is among 19 seniors who will be honored Friday, their last home game.
If the Broncos win the Mountain Division, they likely will host the Mountain West championship, as the team with the best College Football Playoff ranking gets to host. Boise State is No. 22 in the CFP, while San Diego State (9-1) is unranked.
The newest CFP rankings will be announced at approximately 7 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN, between the Michigan State-Kentucky and Duke-Kansas basketball games.
“Anything can still happen, and we’ve got to look at it that, obviously them losing is in our favor. Now it’s just time for us to continue to put our heads down and work,” senior linebacker Ben Weaver said. “... Any team is capable of beating any team at any time. You see that in how many (ranked) teams lost this week.”
Sophomore nose tackle David Moa said the Hawaii win, coupled with Wyoming’s loss, was “a momentum push” heading into the final two games. The Broncos lost on senior day last year to Air Force, but had won the previous 12 senior days by at least 28 points. They’ll hope to continue that tradition against the Rebels.
“Hopefully it’s special to the seniors and the other players, that it could be our last game on the Blue,” Sperbeck said.
BIG LOSS FOR REBELS
UNLV will be without its No. 1 target Friday, as junior wide receiver Devonte Boyd suffered a broken arm in Saturday’s win over Wyoming.
Boyd, a preseason All-Mountain West pick along with Sperbeck, has 45 receptions for 746 yards and four TDs, including 10 catches for 127 yards against the Cowboys.
Last season against the Broncos, Boyd had 116 yards. The team’s top pass catcher expected to play Friday is tight end Andrew Price, who has 13 receptions for 166 yards.
UNLV at No. 22 Boise State
- When: 7 p.m. Friday
- Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)
- TV: ESPN2 (Adam Amin, Kelly Stouffer, Molly McGrath)
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM/KTIK 93.1 FM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
- Records: Boise State 9-1, 5-1 Mountain West; UNLV 4-6, 3-3
- Series: Boise State leads 6-3 (won 55-27 in 2015 in Las Vegas)
- Vegas line: Boise State by 28 1/2
- Kickoff weather: Low-40s, light winds