The words fly at fans of the Boise State Broncos like a horde of angry wasps. Fast and furious, there is no escaping them.
These are words fans dread: Fullback dive. Quarterback on the keeper. Option pitch to the tailback. The words combine to form what has become a recipe for a yearly nightmare scenario.
The last three seasons have turned these nightmares into a glaring reality. Failed ‘and-goal’ conversions, the turnover bug, and a porous run defense have at one point all been the bane of Boise State’s existence against Air Force the past three seasons.
Some nightmares are fleeting, here today and gone tomorrow. Others attack the depth of the mind, leaving a bad taste in the mouth for days.
The nightmare of the triple option has hurt Boise State for far too long.
Boise State will look to lay to rest these nightmares and put to bed demons on Saturday when they host the Air Force Falcons. On the line for the Boise State Broncos: clinching a spot in the Mountain West title game.
The Broncos are no doubt on an emotional high after last week’s victory over Colorado State. A hard-fought, gritty win in which Boise State truly bled blue. Gritty performances by a banged up Cedrick Wilson to a limping Alexander Mattison to a heavy-hearted Tyler Horton helped the Broncos in a total team performance.
Boise State has been here before. Needing a win in 2016 against this very program, Brett Rypien struggled, Jeremy McNichols was stuffed at the goal line and the Broncos returned home without a title.
The Air Force Falcons have an exceptional program. We’re not talking about a bottom dwelling team. They have been to nine bowl games in ten seasons under head coach Troy Calhoun. They played for a Mountain West championship in 2015.
Though not a national powerhouse, the Falcons have been a thorn in the Broncos side for far too long.
Visions of Air Force
The Falcons are 4-6 in 2017, but they still do the one thing we all know they love to do: run the ball.
Slowing the ground game is always the goal when Air Force comes to town. A Boise State defense that only a few weeks ago was allowing only 103 rushing yards per game has allowed back-to-back 100-yard rushers.
The depth up front that was so crucial early has taken hit with injuries to David Moa, Sonatane Liu, and Chase Hatada.
Air Force averages 309.5 rushing yards per game. Allow them to reach that number on 80 plays and Boise State will be fine. Do it on 50 plays? There might be trouble brewing.
Quarterback Arion Worthman leads the team in rushing with 821 yards. Worthman throws the ball roughly ten times a game, averaging 10 yards per completion. His top-three receivers all average over 20 yards per catch.
That’s a 2015 nightmare scenario just waiting to rear its ugly head all over again.
2017 has a familiar feeling to it. The season, in fact, has had many different feelings to it. A blowout home loss gave way to a six-game winning streak.
The familiar feeling is no longer one of a nightmare. It’s one of never giving up. This team, this staff, and many of the fans did not give up. Not after a loss to Virginia, not after being down early to Nevada, and most certainly not to Colorado State. (I can only speak for the team, staff, and some of the fans from last Saturday).
The time to end the losing streak is now. It’s senior day. It’s a chance for the Broncos to become champion of the Mountain Division. All of this will factor into putting the nightmare to rest while bringing the Boise State Broncos one step closer to their sweetest dream: winning a Mountain West title.