Boise State preview
When this game was announced I thought BC would win easily. I hadn’t seen much of Boise St. but saw enough to know that the three best teams they played beat them. Reading more and looking back on their season, I hope BC is not taking this game for granted. The Broncos can beat BC. Here is how I see it playing out.
Offense -- what BC will do
I don’t want to get into a shootout on the blue turf, but I think BC will come out throwing. Here’s why -- Boise St. by design tries to stop the run and I think most of the receiver-DB matchups favor BC. Ryan can handle himself when asked to pass a lot. He threw more than 20 times in three of his four starts this season (which is a lot for a young QB under Bible and TOB). Although our Tight Ends have been a bit of a letdown this year, I think we’ll go to Miller throughout the game…he’ll cause mismatches and be able to release after blocking on the nine-man fronts. If things go according to plan, look for a heavy dose of run late in the game when the line will have worn on the smaller Boise St. defensive line.
Offense -- what BC should do
I know I might seem stubborn on boneheaded, but I would like to see us try to run early. Boise St. forces you into the pass. I think running successfully against their loaded box would be very deflating and take the crowd out. The game that I feel is most similar to this one -- Clemson (tough home crowd, unique offense) -- we won on the line of scrimmage and controlled the ball. That should be the gameplan for this game. Wear on them with both backs. Keep their offense off the field and pass on passing downs. Yes, it plays into their plan, but I think we have enough of a talent advantage to execute.
Defense -- what BC will do
We’ve mixed things up more than ever this season, but against the Broncos I see BC playing conventionally. This opponent demands patience, so the game will be won with the linebackers and DBs. Plus, I think our down lineman can create enough pressure without blitzes. I am also encouraged by the chance for Ray Henderson to shadow/spy Zabransky. Zabransky is a good quarterback, but has been know to press (which plays to Ray’s strength).
Defense -- what BC should do
BC has been strong against the run most of the season. Let’s hope they continue to hold strong this week, because if they shut down the run, I think they’ll start to tee off on Zabransky. Because of Boise St.’s inventive system, I do think BC should keep it simple (little blitzing, lots of zone). I really think the game will be won in the red zone. BC is known for “bending, not breaking” and has been successful in forcing field goals instead of TDs. The red zone success has been due to big plays and mixing things up with the short field. So when Boise gets close to scoring, hopefully Spaz will come up with a wrinkle or two.
The Broncos will be playing at home and for the last time under their popular head coach. But I think BC will be too much for them. It will really come down to the offense, since I don’t see this senior-led defensive unit blowing it in their last game. TOB is unfailingly predictable and he has shown he can get his staff and team ready for bowl games. I don’t see any reason to doubt him this year.
Final Score: BC 35, Boise St. 20.