Boise State has been carrying the banner for the non-BCS teams this season.
But to the Warriors, the Broncos are far from "underdogs."
"They’re not underdogs, and they know they’re not underdogs anymore," UH slotback Greg Salas said. "When you’re ranked in the top five, you’re not an underdog. They used to be because they weren’t getting the respect (nationally). They’ve earned that respect."
Salas acknowledged Boise State is tough to beat on Bronco Stadium’s blue turf.
"They have a great winning record there," Salas said, "but they have a great winning record everywhere. They’re a great team."
The Broncos are favored by 25 over the Warriors.
Pilares sits out
Right slotback Kealoha Pilares did not practice yesterday because of what is termed a strained left hamstring. He is expected to play against Boise State.
But if his availability is limited, the Warriors are ready to go with Dustin Blount, a senior who has emerged as a speedy threat.
Blount has caught 85 percent of the passes in which he is the primary receiver, the highest conversion rate among Warriors receivers.
"He brings a lot," quarterback Bryant Moniz said of Blount. "I think he’d start at a lot of places in the country. He’s a fast guy. He shows it once he gets on the field."
Pilares’ pet move is a stutter-step that frees him in the flats for screen passes. At 5-foot-10, Pilares is about 5 inches taller than Blount. But Moniz said Blount is easily accessible in the flats.
"He can jump, if he needs to," Moniz said. "He can dunk. It’s on YouTube."
"I can verify that Dustin can dunk," said right wideout Royce Pollard, who shot video of Blount in a H-O-R-S-E contest.
Blount said: "I can dunk one-handed."
Blount also takes advantage of his quickness. He is capable of running 100 meters in 10.4 seconds; he said he has never been officially timed in the 40-yard dash.
"I’ve always been fast," said Blount, who began running track in the second grade. He was the fastest at nearly every level, except in junior high, when his older brother, Nathaniel, would outrace him.
"I didn’t start beating him until the 11th grade," Blount said. "I remember the first time I beat him. I was stoked. I was pretty happy."
Blount said he attributes his pass-catching to learning the offense.
"As you feel comfortable in the offense, your focus gets better," Blount said.
Aches and sprains
The Warriors will practice this morning, then depart this afternoon for their third road trip of the season.
Left guard Brett Leonard, who has a sore knee, has not been cleared to practice. He will not make the trip.
It still has not been decided if middle linebacker George Daily-Lyles, who has missed the past three games because of a sprained ankle, will play. He is expected to be on the travel roster.