Not too long ago, we were terrified of this game.
Now, not so much.
When the schedule came out this summer, we had thought that the Southern Miss roadie would be one of the Broncos' toughest games all year. We remembered how big and intimidating the Golden Eagles were when they came to Boise last fall, and we dreaded the thought of facing them on their own turf, in those all-black uniforms.
Fast forward several months, and we find ourselves less concerned about the Southern Miss game than we were about the Bowling Green game.
What has changed between now and then? Beats us. Southern Miss hasn't suddenly become a terrible team. Their 2-3 record is more a result of close losses than underperforming. They have two of the best players at their positions in the country, and they have the advantage of playing at home. What is keeping us from being in our typical 24-hour prayer vigil of anxiety?
The only answer can be the play of the Broncos so far this season.
Boise State has proven that it can handle pressure situations and that it will bring its A-game no matter the opponent. If the Broncos could handle Autzen and the Ducks, they can handle M.M. Roberts and the Golden Eagles. At least, that's what we told our bookie.
Here is how we see the game playing out: Kellen Moore can't be stopped. The Southern Miss defense and its secondary in particular will have a tough time slowing down the Boise State passing attack. If Moore puts the Broncos ahead by a couple touchdowns early, BSU can grind out the clock the rest of the way, and the running lanes should be there.
Defensively, we expect to see more of that three-safety look that the Broncos have shown in the past two games. Southern Miss' spread offense will dictate a hurry-up pace, so the ability of the Bronco defense to adapt will be important. Ellis Powers and Jeron Johnson can sneak up into the box to stop the run, and the Bronco secondary should be able to hold down a less-than-stellar Southern Miss receiving corps.
Man, when we put it that way, the game does seem rather easy. Cancel that vigil, OBNUG intern.
- Ian Johnson will get his 100 yards ... on kickoff returns.
- Byron Hout will get his first career sack and unveil the "Who Let the Dogs Hout" sack dance - an awkward hybrid of the lawnmower and the macarena.
- Larry Fedora will not wear a fedora on the sidelines. Maybe a visor. Or sunglasses with that neck strap.
- Brad Elkin will get Kyle Brotzman water after each Brotzman punt. Brock Jaramillo will get Brad Elkin water after each time Brad Elkin gets Kyle Brotzman water.
- Damion Fletcher will rush for 100 yards, which will come entirely between the Golden Eagle 20-yard line and the Boise State 20-yard line.
- SoMiss QB Austin Davis will get knocked out of the game at some point, either due to a hit from a Bronco defensive player (Jeron Johnson most likely) or due to a Taylor-Bennett-like completion percentage.
- Kellen Moore will pass for over 300 yards ... right-handed.
- Brett Favre will not be in attendance, but Ray Guy will.