HONOLULU – Boise State, runner-up in the Mountain West's Mountain Division, will take on Oregon State, the fourth-place team in the Pac-12's North Division, in the Hawai'i Bowl on Christmas Eve.
This is Boise State's second appearance in the Hawaii Bowl with the only previous trip producing a 41-38 loss to East Carolina in 2007. That game ended in a thrilling finish as the Broncos erased a 38-14 third quarter deficit by scoring 24 unanswered points - only to see East Carolina kick the game-winning field goal as time expired.
The 2007 team took a 10-2 record to Honolulu while this year's squad equals the Broncos' worst regular season mark (8-4) in the last 15 years (also 8-4 in 2001).
Still, Boise State is the nation's winningest program since 2000 with 154 victories and is the nation's highest scoring team during that span, averaging 40.3 points per game. This year's squad averaged 38.8 points per game.
Overall, this is Boise State's 12th consecutive bowl appearance, and 14th since 1999. The Broncos have a bowl record of 9-4 and are winners of their last 4 for the 4th-longest streak in the nation.
Running back Jay Ajayi ranks 19th nationally in rushing yards per game (110.7) and is tied for 7th in rushing touchdowns with 17. Defensively, lineman Demarcus Lawrence is 6th in the FBS in tackles for loss (19.5) and tied for 9th in sacks with 10-1/2.
Linebackers coach Bob Gregory is serving as interim head coach for the bowl game after Chris Petersen stepped down as Boise State head coach on December 6 to accept the same position at Washington.
Oregon State is making its first appearance in the Hawai'i Bowl, but this will be the 8th overall meeting the two schools with the last coming in 2010. The Beavers lead the series 4-3 with each of the last 6 meetings taking place in September. Boise has won the last two.
Oregon State (6-6) is making a second straight bowl appearance after missing out on the postseason the 2010 and 2011 seasons. Oregon State is 5-2 in bowl games under Mike Riley and the school has an overall bowl record of 8-6.
The Beavers feature Fred Biletnikoff award-winner Brandin Cooks, a junior wide receiver who set a PAC-12 record this season with 120 receptions. Additionally, his 1,670 receiving yards leads all FBS receivers. Quarterback Sean Mannion ranks second nationally in passing yards per game with an average of 366.9, third in touchdowns with 36, but 28th in pass efficiency.
Oregon State comes into the contest on a major note, losing 5 straight games to end the season after a 6-1 start. On October 19, the Beavers were No. 25 in the initial BCS standings. The Beavers closed out the regular season with a 36-35 loss to rival Oregon, falling in the closing seconds of the game.
The Beavers have played in one other bowl game in Hawai'i, the Jeep Oahu Bowl in 1999, where they fell 23-17 to Hawai'i on Christmas Day.
The Congrove Computer Rankings say Boise State has a 1.60-point edge in the contest.