On a rather important day for the Group of Five race, No. 20 Boise State (11-1, 8-0 Mountain West) did just enough to ensure they’ll head to the Mountain West Conference championship game with a shot to play in the Cotton Bowl. A 31-24 victory on the road against Colorado State (4-8, 3-5 Mountain West) ensured Boise State kept the pace on the final weekend of play in the regular season.
Jaylon Henderson completed 26 of 36 pass attempts for 253 yards and two touchdowns without an interception, and he added a key rushing touchdown in the Bronco victory. Boise State’s 17-point outburst in the second quarter helped create some separation from the Rams and allowed Boise State to stay just ahead of the home team in the second half. A pair of interceptions thrown by Colorado State quarterback Patrick O’Brien also led to 10 Boise state points, which proved to be critical.
While Colorado State’s season is now in the books, Boise State will play next week in the Mountain West Conference Championship Game. The Broncos will host Hawaii, who already clinched the Mountain West Conference’s West Division with a win against San Diego State last week, on Saturday, Dec. 7 at 4:00 p.m. ET. This will be Boise State’s third consecutive appearance in the conference championship game. The Broncos are looking for their second conference title in the past three years and third conference championship game since the Mountain West Conference introduced the game in 2013. Boise State is tied with San Diego State and Fresno State for most conference championship game victories, with two each. The Broncos lost at home to Fresno State, 19-16 in overtime, last season. This is the third consecutive season Boise State will host the conference championship game, and this will be the first time Hawaii has played in the game.
A win next week will be required for Boise State to be in the running for the Group of Five’s spot in the Cotton Bowl, as only conference champions are eligible. The biggest challenger for Boise State will come in the American Athletic Conference with Memphis hosting Cincinnati next week. A Memphis victory on Friday over Cincinnati likely takes the Bearcats out of the running even with a win in next week’s rematch unless Boise State loses to Hawaii. Memphis is the highest-ranked Group of Five team in the latest College Football Playoff rankings. The highest-ranked Group of Five conference champion will receive the invite to the New Years Six bowl lineup with the Cotton Bowl awaiting. Appalachian State is also hanging around hoping for some help out of the Sun Belt Conference.
Boise State defeated Hawaii 59-37 earlier this season in Boise.
Colorado State’s 2020 season will open at home against rival Colorado, of the Pac-12, on Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020.