Bowling season is upon is. Bsu gets rewarded for their #7 ranking in the BCS with a meager trip to the Vegas bowl. Oh well. Thank you Big East for rescuing us from Hair Thompson's MTN USA alliance, crappy television coverage, no night games at Bronco Stadium, dumb uniform rules, and a whole bunch of Hair. Join me after the jump as I give my keys to the game.
Arizona State has been an anomaly this year. After Brock Osweiler finished last year and gained momentum over the spring and fall, he was named the teams starting quarterback. Osweiler stands 6' 8'' and has a strong arm. The Arizona State offense ranks 11th in the nation in passing yards a game at 310 yards per game. If Arizona State has watched any of our game film from the 2nd half of the season expect them to come out throwing.
Arizona State does have a few things working against them. First off, they have lost their coach, this is his last game coaching them. Second, that coach is Dennis Erickson, which means that Arizona State has no discipline and is highly penalized. I am not talking about the offisides and false start kind (although there will be plenty of those) but the 15 yard kind. ASU linebacker Vontaze Burfict is good for one to two personal foul penalties a game. Arizona State has victories over USC, and Mizzou, yet lost games on the road to Wazzu, Oregon, Arizona and Cal.
Boise State needs to implement a similar style of defense against ASU as they ran against Wyoming. Three down lineman, Shea McClellin at Nickel, and Byron Hout at MLB. That leaves for Iloka and Hightower at corner, Stanaway and Febis at Safety, and put Borgman and Douglas man up on slot receivers or runingbacks. We wont have a huge pass rush, but that gives our pass defense with some different looks for ASU. We can keep some guys man up, while maintaining other areas for zone and safety help. The New York Giants instituted a similar approach when playing the pass happy Buffalo Bills in the Super Bowl years back. They would use two and three down lineman sets and go man up on two receivers, and leave the rest to a zone. Oddly enough this worked quite well. And even the two and three man rush would get to the quarterback because he could not find anyone open to throw to.
Boise State Offensive Keys:
No huddle offense. I have been a huge advocate of this all year. Kellen Moore is at his best when operating without a huddle, and our team seems to respond quite well to this.
Run the ball. Doug has had time to rest whatever injury has been slowing him down. Look for Doug to break a big run against ASU. Fresh legs from him and our lineman will mean big yards in the open field.
Get the ball to our tight ends. Teams may slow down Miller and Shoe, but our big men have been good for us all year. Efaw and Linehan need to finish the day with two catches a piece at least.
Boise State Defensive keys:
Force three turnovers, two of them being interceptions. If they use the game plan I proposed, or one similar, they should force Osweiler to make some bad decisions.
Keep ASU to 270 passing yards or fewer. That is 40 yards below season average, that should keep us in the game.
Keep ASU to under 24 points. ASU's defense has not been great, especially on the road. Cal put up 47 points, ZONA 31, Wazzu 37, and UCLA 29. You get the point.
ASU offensive Keys:
Throw to win. Make BSU's secondary prove they can stop the air attack. If ASU wants to win, they need to pass for 370 yards.
Score on their first three drives. BSU has not responded well to teams who can put up points in the first quarter.
Less than 80 yards in penalties a game. ASU shoots themselves in the foot time and time again with their penalties, and that loses yardage. Hard to win games when you give teams chunks of yardage in dumb penalties.
ASU defensive Keys:
Keep Kellen Moore to under 270 yards passing. If the coaches play aggressively with the playbook like I think they will, then keeping Kellen to 270 yards passing could win them the game.
Score on a turnover. Teams have to win the turnover battle if they want to win. Not only, but they have to score on the play itself, or as a result of the turnover.... look no farther than the TCU game.......
Stop the run. Keeping Doug Martin and DJ Harper below 120 yards collectively will win them the game.
ASU will come out with some enthusiasm for Coach Erickson, but their stupid penalties will lead to a 2nd half let down. My prediction, 38-14 Blue.