The Boise State Broncos football team takes to the road for game number two, facing a ranked Washington State Cougars team.
A week removed from their first afternoon home game in a few years, the Boise State Broncos are back in prime time on Saturday.
They are facing a ranked team bent on redemption, with a desire to ride their senior quarterback to a Pac-12 championship.
Returning to Boise with a victory will be no easy task for Boise State.
A season after a thrilling 31-28 home win by Boise State, the tables have slightly turned in 2017.
The Broncos are the younger team, unranked but hungry. Though they are coming off a victory–led by Avery Williams–Boise State was anything but crisp.
The same could be said for Cougars, but they won convincingly last week against Montana State, 31-0.
Ranked 22nd in the coaches poll, the Cougars racked up 511 yards of total offense in the shutout. It was the first time in six attempts under head coach Mike Leach that Washington State won their opener.
Boise State will try to duplicate the effort of last season’s victory in which they dominated the game for three quarters before holding on in the fourth.
- Game time: 8:30 pm (MDT) at Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA.
- TV: ESPN
- Radio: 670 AM/93.1 FM
Washington State on offense
Here’s a number for you: 71.
It’s the number of passes Cougar quarterback Luke Falk attempted in last season’s game. Falk completed 55 of them in throwing for 480 yards and four touchdowns.
The offense is designed for short throws and Falk has taken advantage with high completion percentages over the years. The senior picked apart Montana State last week, completing his first 20 attempts en route to a 33-39 day with 311 yards and three scores.
The Bronco secondary will have their hands full as will the linebackers. The Cougars make heavy use of their running backs in the passing game as witnessed by James Williams having 13 catches for 163 yards in last week’s victory. (The use of the shovel pass featured heavily in the play calling.)
Falk and his backup quarterback completed passes to ten different players. Last year’s leading receiver against the Broncos, Tavares Martin Jr. (12 rec, 158 yds, 1 td) only had 4 catches for 16 yards with a score against the Bobcats.
The Cougars only ran the ball 20 times against the Boise State last season, but featured more of a running game as the season went on.
Williams, along with Gerard Wicks and Jamal Morrow, are the three feature backs. Morrow led the way last week with 89 yards on 10 carries.
The offensive line features four experienced players, led by 6’9, 370-pound All-American Cody O’Connell.
Washington State on defense
Holding an opponent–even those from the Big Sky conference–to 143 yards is something to be proud of.
The Cougars have never really been known for their defense, but they bring back a nice blend of experience and talent.
The defensive line is undersized and are led by a man with a giant name. Hercules Mata’afa had 1.5 sacks against Montana State and anchors a talented line that does lack some depth.
As with Troy last week, the real talent and experience for Washington State lies with the linebackers and secondary. The depth chart is top-heavy with five senior linebackers.
In the secondary, three players are deserving of being named starting cornerback. Right corner is locked in with Darrien Molton, while Marcellus Pippins and Marcus strong anchor the left side.
Sophomore safety Jalen Thompson set the tone last week with seven tackles and a pick.
Going on the road is always a challenge. Facing a ranked team with a good, experienced offense will be a test for the Boise State defense.
Playing like they did in their 2017 debut will go a long way in the Broncos returning to Boise with another win under their belts.