Boise State Football: It Starts With Troy

Photo via Pam Davis

How important is the first game of the season for Boise State when it comes to rankings? Not nearly important as their 11th, and 12th game. For Alabama, Ohio State, Notre Dame or one of the other power elites from the Power 5 it is merely an annoyance if they happen to suffer a loss. They have enough tough opponents ahead of them to make up for any ground lost.

Honestly, the polls seem to reflect how things really are. That may not be a popular opinion. Given the level of competition faced every Saturday and the quality of players, coaches, and the program in general, the elites do receive some sort of mental preference.

Currently, the Broncos are in the top 25 in all the preseason polls albeit 21st or lower. The preseason prognosticators have a great deal of distance between Boise State and Troy (Troy, 39th).

Let’s forget the polls and rankings for now and think about winning football games. After all, everybody starts the season the same—0-0.

Troy Game With No Trojan Horse References

Last year Troy finished 11-2. That was likely a peak year for them and now on the downward slope.

Last year the Broncos didn’t exactly pound the Trojans into the ground (turf). They held their own against BSU—on The Blue! This year the game is played in the heat and humidity of a lazy languid late southern summer Saturday afternoon when life’s pace is like melted butter and honey dripping from a hot biscuit—whoa! I almost started to write the next great southern novel.

Some have suggested Troy’s big lineman might be a factor—they outweigh Boise’s but the difference is not as much as some might lead you to believe. I’ve seen those guys and let me start by saying fat is nearly all water. In the hot humid summer heat of Alabama, fat guys sweat like a steam room full of fat mafia dons.

About the fourth quarter not only have they sweat a good 15 pounds of brine but their muscles have had to support the additional ballast as well. Come the fourth quarter they’ll be stumbling from the field like a drunk uncle leaving a bar on New Year’s.

Game plan; a lot of sweeps, hurry-up offense, and deep pocket drops. Keep those behemoths moving and sweating. On offense make them work for every block. A lot of pre-snap movement on the line of scrimmage will make them do things they don’t want to do—think, adjust, and move. They know the Broncos will try to exploit quickness against their size.

The Boise guys on or near the line of scrimmage should be twitching and jerking like a spasmodic drug user on some bad Lucy. Those big boys from Troy will be dashing across the line of scrimmage like contestants in a pie eating contest at the country fair when the starting whistle blows; crashing headlong into a table full of cream pies and Miss Cutie Pie 2018.

The Trojans have about half their starters returning. They lost their starting quarterback, two top rushers, and leading blocker. They have a returning running back, Jamarius Henderson, who looks as if he could be a problem (Anybody recall, Rashaad Penny? Got stuffed by the Broncos). They also have two experienced receivers returning.

Personally, it’s bad for your health to predict the scores of games. It’s like living your life thinking your cholesterol count is around 150 when in fact it’s closer to 300.

However, it wouldn’t surprise me to see a 31-10 win. The Broncos offense will likely struggle the first game and much of the scoring will come from the good field position thanks to the defense. There’s no crystal ball involved here; it’s just how the first games usually pan out.

Beyond Troy

Here’s the thing about this year. I know that not all hopes should rest on the quarterback but this is Brett Rypien’s senior year. It should be the crowning jewel of his college career. Alexander Mattison is in his junior year. He should be at or near his peak.

The offensive line is as complete, talented, and experienced as any in recent memory. There are no star receivers returning but there are solid ones.

The defense is as talented, balanced, and aggressive in the secondary as never before. Several linebackers return with experience and they are hostile. It also appears for the first time there may be good solid depth at the tackle positions.

Here’s a little something to think about, who do you think will be the surprise player who emerges from the first game or so? Every year there are always a couple guys who climb to the top of the heap from obscurity.

To conclude, it seems as though all the stars are aligned for a very special year and it starts with a win over Troy.


About Kenton Lewis

Kenton Lewis
Kenton lives in Boise. He is the former publisher of the Boise State sports site, Smurf Turf; writing exclusively about Broncos football and basketball. He is also a novelist and short story writer.

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