It comes as no surprise to Bronco fans that Boise State has struggled through the years against teams who run the triple option. In last year’s meeting, the Broncos lost 31-24 to New Mexico behind Lobo’s running back Jhurell Pressley’s 132 yard performance. Here are my keys to the game to notch a win and not repeat last year’s result.
Stop the triple option
Forgive me if you’ve been hearing this all week, but the triple option is Boise State’s achilles heel. When you look at last year’s box score it makes you truly wonder how did we lose that game? Boise State had more total yards (641-413), longer time of possession (33:09-26:51), and more first downs (40-11). So what went wrong? For starters, the Broncos gave up four rushing touchdowns while committing four turnovers. Even with the turnovers, Boise State dominated the box score, but couldn’t stop New Mexico’s rushing attack.
This year’s match-up is going to be won in the trenches. New Mexico ranks second in the nation in rushing offense, averaging 347 yards per game, while Boise State ranks fifth in the nation in rushing defense, allowing a mere 2.4 yards per rush and 72 yards per game. Boise State needs to minimize the number of long rushing plays that New Mexico hopes to break.
Maximize scoring opportunities
Wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck had 20 receptions for 281 yards in last year’s meeting. I repeat, 20 receptions for 281 yards. Unfortunately, even with all of those yards, Sperbeck failed to record a touchdown. Jeremy McNichols scored twice, both rushing and receiving, and Jake Roh had a receiving touchdown at the end of the game. New Mexico punted eight times in the last meeting, giving the Broncos plenty of chances to execute their game plan on offense. As we saw, that execution was stagnant throughout the game, especially in the first half. They need to score early and score often to help the defense recharge by keeping them off of the field.
Play all four quarters
Prior to last week’s game fans were griping about Boise State’s second-half woes. Last week against Utah State the opposite was true: the Broncos came out flat in the first half and played a strong second half. If Boise State can put together a complete game and not have a lull at any point there should be no reason they lose to New Mexico.
All together, Boise State is the better team, or at least should be. New Mexico has shown its vulnerabilities by losing to in-state rival New Mexico State and Big 10 bottom dweller Rutgers this year. The Lobos can be beat. It’s up to the team to play a complete game to guarantee that happens.