The History Report
One of the best concepts in the world of sports is a “rivalry.” Sadly, Boise State doesn’t have a declared rivalry game.
However, many might remember the historic rivalry with the Idaho Vandals. That ship, for now, has sailed.
Since 2012, the marquee rivalry infused game for the Broncos has been the Cougars of BYU.
The Broncos and Cougars have faced off just seven times. The Broncos lead the series with 5 wins.
The last meeting between the two programs saw the Broncos on the desired side of the scoreboard: 28-27. Defensive Tackle David Moa blocked a last-second field goal that would have sealed the deal for the Cougars.
As the Broncos travel just beyond the Idaho border, they will look to extend their record to 3-2.
The Cougar offense hasn’t been as productive as past seasons. Without the likes of Jamaal Williams and Taysom Hill, the offensive production needs to come from somewhere else.
Late last season, the Cougars plugged in sophomore Squally Canada at the running back position. In the game against the Broncos, Canada had 21 carries for 88 yards. He had just as many carries in the previous six games.
Now the Cougars’ leading back, Canada must be a force in the offensive production. So far this season, the back has a total of 187 yards rushing and 1 touchdown.
The biggest question mark for the Cougars this week is the starting quarterback. Starting quarterback Tanner Mangum, an Idaho native, has been sidelined with an ankle injury. He is considered day-to-day.
With the rest of the quarterbacks on the roster either inexperienced or injured, the position will be one to watch for against the Broncos.
The Bronco Defense vs. BYU
The Bronco football team, more than likely, had a lot on their minds during their bye week. After a 42-23 loss at home to Virginia, the team’s energy, status, and poise need to be re-charged.
In terms of players, it starts at the top.
Coming into the season, junior linebacker Leighton Vander Esch was awarded the position of defensive captain. The term “Captain” assumes full leadership and responsibility for the unit.
So far this season, Vander Esch has led by example. Even with the early bye week, the linebacker is fifth in the country in total tackles (46).
Other names such as safety DeAndre Pierce, defensive tackle David Moa, and defensive back Tyler Horton must entice their unit to play gritty ball.
The Bronco defense, as a whole, must accept the challenge of playing maniac defense at all three levels.
Defensively the Cougars bring in a tackle machine of their own in linebacker Fred Warner. Warner leads the team with 41 total tackles.
Alongside him, senior safety Micah Hannemann leads the Cougar secondary. He had a 46-yard pick six against Utah State.
The Cougar defense must give the Broncos different looks in order to stop some of their offensive threats.
The Bronco Offense vs. BYU
So far this season the Bronco offense hasn’t been clicking on all cylinders. With just 351.5 yards a game, the Broncos rank 100th in total offense.
With the bye week, the Broncos had some extra time to correct in-game mistakes, fine tune and adjust various techniques, and nurse any injuries.
The two biggest concerns right now, for the offense, are establishing an effective run game and targeting other passing threats other than Cedrick Wilson.
Cedrick Wilson, already this season, has 485 yards receiving. That stat alone beats any other Bronco reception leader by over 330 yards. That stat also beats out the top three Cougar reception leaders combined.
With that being said, no matter who starts or plays quarterback for the Broncos, both the run and passing game must be effective.
— Boise State Football (@BroncoSportsFB) October 2, 2017