Photo via Pam Davis

Keys to the Game vs. Baylor

On December 4th, it was announced where the Boise State football team would be headed to play extra circular football. That Destination?

Phoenix, Arizona, where the team has become quite comfortable playing. This is the fourth time in ten years the Broncos will be headed to Phoenix for a bowl game.

The match up will feature the Boise State Broncos and the Baylor Bears. This will be the first time these two football programs have ever met. The game will air on ESPN at 8:15 PM MST, Tuesday, December 27th.

As the Broncos face off against the Bears, there are a few keys to the game they will want to accomplish:

Start Fast and Keep the Pedal to the Metal

Last year the Broncos were invited to the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl. The flow, speed, and tempo of the game were all set and maintained by the Boise State football team. The Broncos jumped out early scoring three first quarter touchdowns. They never looked back. The Broncos routed the Northern Illinois Huskies 55-7.

During that victory, the Broncos won every quarter. They started fast, kept the pedal to the metal, and ended strong. This is the exact ingredients the Broncos will need should they look to win in Phoenix.

One word that comes to mind is “Consistency.” Consistency seems to be the one word the Boise State football team has been chasing all season. If the Broncos can play a consistent game on December 27th, the term “Cactus Bowl Champs” will not be far behind.

Feed the Beast

The term “Beast” seems to be a worthy adjective to describe running back, Jeremy McNichols. With twenty- three rushing touchdowns this season, McNichols has more than impressed many Bronco fans.

Early on December 26th, it was announced that McNichols would forgo his senior season and enter the 2017 NFL draft. That being said, reward the man in his last game as a Bronco!

McNichols has been the focal point of the 2016 Bronco offense. He scored at least once in every single game he played this season and led the team in rushing yards for the second year in a row.

Baylor’s rushing defense ranks 96th in the nation among all FBS teams. That being said, look for the Broncos to attack time and again on the ground. The Bronco offense will more than likely look to spread the ball around to multiple threats. However, look for McNichols to end his Bronco career on a high note.

Fingers crossed that McNichols will duplicate Jay Ajayi’s first rushing attempt from the 2014 Fiesta Bowl:

Stop the “Air Rade” offense

Boise State has seen the Air Rade offense earlier in the season against Washington State. The offense has been utilized by the Cougar’s head coach, Mike Leach.

Leach used this offense when he coached at Texas Tech as well. The offense has branched out to many teams including old W.A.C. foe, Louisiana Tech. This style is also the offense ran by the Baylor Bears.

When the Broncos played Luke Falk and the Washington State Cougars, he completed seventy-seven percent of his passes.

In the game against Baylor, The Bronco defense needs to limit the opposing quarterback as much as possible. The potential starter for the Bears is freshman, Zach Smith.

Look for the pressure of the defensive line, along with blitz packages, to keep Smith under control.

Unlike Leach’s system, however, Baylor’s offense focuses more on the running back. Three of their listed running backs on the depth chart have recorded at least one hundred carries.

However, much of the offense still revolves around junior receiver, KD Cannon. Thus, it will be critical that all members of the Bronco defense perform their job at an exquisite level.

The Bronco defense must do their assigned job to let McNichols and the high powered offense back on the field.


About Darrek Harris

Darrek Harris
Darrek was born and raised in Boise, ID. Currently, he has an associates degree in English from the College of Western Idaho. He plans to pursue a bachelors degree in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing. He enjoys sports in many fashions: playing, cheering, and coaching. Bleed Blue, Go Broncos, Amen!

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