Homecoming 2016 is upon us and Boise State (5-0, 2-0) is set to take on the Rams of Colorado State (3-3, 1-1). The Broncos are coming off an impressive showing against New Mexico where Boise State held the Lobos to 7 points for most of the game.
Bronco quarterback, Brett Rypien threw for 491 yards and 5 touchdowns. Receivers Thomas Sperbeck and Cedric Wilson dominated the New Mexico secondary with a combined 365 yards and 5 touchdowns.
Despite the clinic that Boise State put on the Lobos last week, their current match-up against Colorado State could prove to be a bit a more challenging for the Broncos.
The Rams are coming off a 31-24 win last week over division rival, Utah State. Down 24-10 going into the half, the Rams mounted an impressive comeback by scoring 21 unanswered points in the third and forth quarters to eventually win the game.
Prior to tearing his ACL, Colorado State was led by quarterback, Collin Hill. Hill was doing fantastic this season with 8 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. The freshman is already over 1,000 passing yards and is completing 58% of his passes.
Standing in for Hill at quarterback will be junior Nick Stevens. Stevens hasn’t had much playing time this season, but he is more than capable of causing damage and was the Rams starting quarterback last season. The junior threw for over 2,600 yards and 21 touchdowns last season. Worth noting is that Stevens went 8-10 on passes last season against the Broncos.
He also took part in the 10-win 2014 season. In short, the kid can play.
Colorado State is bringing a fairly balanced offense to Boise on Saturday. The Rams leading rusher, Dalyn Dawkins, leads the heard with 328 rushing yards. Dawkins has also tallied up 126 receiving yards. Behind Dawkins in yards, but leading in rushing touchdowns is Izzy Matthews. Matthews has racked up 282 yards and 3 touchdowns on the ground. Izzy has doubled as a receiver for Colorado State as well, but has only tallied up 25 yards.
The Rams leading receiver, Michael Gallup has 388 yards and 3 touchdowns. The junior out of Georgia is averaging an impressive 15.5 yards per catch. Stevens has an arsenal of receivers to get the ball to and will, without a doubt, spread it around. As it stands, 14 different receivers have touched the ball for Colorado State this season.
Two major issues stand out the most for the Broncos as they head into this game. The first being with how much the Rams spread the ball around. There is no obvious pattern as to who will touch the ball next. All receivers and backs have a comparable amount of playing time and all have touched the ball about the same.
The second is the lack of tape on Stevens. As noted, the junior played a lot last season, but hasn’t played much this season since losing the job to freshman Hill. Last seasons tapes won’t help too much since Stevens is playing with a different team this year. He has also touched the ball very little compared to last season throwing only 28 passes so far.
The Broncos defensive line will be a big factor in this game. So far this season, the Rams have allowed 9 sacks. Between nose tackle David Moa and defensive end Sam McCaskill, the two have recorded 11 sacks.
Moa is currently tied for 13th in the nation in sacks and McCaskill is tied for 18th. These two against Colorado State’s offensive line should be a fun match-up for Bronco fans. Boise State isn’t the only team bringing a notable defensive player to the field on Saturday.
Rams linebacker, Kevin Davis is tied for 13th in the nation in tackles. Davis currently has 58 combined tackles and 3 sacks for a total of 30 lost yards. The linebacker also has 1 forced fumble.
While it’s easy to say that this should be a blow out for the Broncos considering the talent disparity and the atmosphere of homecoming, looking ahead can prove costly for Boise State. Either way, this should be a fun game for homecoming and one I’m definitely looking forward to.