The Broncos will make their bi-yearly trek to San José California this weekend to take on a down and most definitely out Spartan team. The 1-5 squad is reeling from a slew of injuries and a host of blowout losses to ranked teams. Unfortunately for them, Boise State doesn't field a JV team and this one, unlike past trips to San José, looks like it might get ugly.
Join us below as we do our level best to squeeze some analysis out of this one instead of blindly following our heart. Our heart is callous and only ever says "blowout".
No. 3 Boise State vs. San José State
- When to watch: Saturday, October 16, 6:00 MT kickoff
- Where to watch: Spartan Stadium, San José, CA (Capacity: 30,456)
- How to watch: Live on KTVB courtesy of the WAC Sports Network
- What to wager: Boise State by 39 points
- What to wear: Forecast calls for clear skies and 74 degrees (that's fahrenheit, Commies)
Three matchups to watch
WR Jalal Beauchman vs. BSU secondary
The Spartans don't have much of an offense...and that's not great news considering they'll be playing the second-ranked defense in all of college football this Saturday. One (relative) weakness for the Bronco D, however has been the defensive secondary, which gave up a season high 222 yards last weekend to the Toledo Rockets...and namely, star receiver Eric Page. Well, Beauchman is as close to Eric Page as the Spartans can muster as he leads the team with 259 yards and 2 TDs. Beauchman's play is hit or miss, as he's managed two 70+ yard receiving games on the season, but also a pair of games where he's failed to even hit double-digit yardage (against Utah and Alabama). Trust me, we're grasping at straws here on the matchups, but Beauchman is the Spartans leading receiver and this appears to be the only way teams have moved the ball with even a modicum of consistency this year on the Broncos. If Beauchman can get open and force the Broncos into missing some tackles like they did last week against Toledo, Beauchman might move the chains enough to give the Spartans some life...or some points.
QB Jordan La Secla vs. himself
Senior Spartan QB Jordan La Secla has not been good this season. In fact, La Secla has only thrown a touchdown in one game this season (a two touchdown day against Wisconsin) while throwing at least one interception in 4 of the Spartan's 6 contests (including 2 last week against Nevada). I suppose one encouraging stat for La Secla is that he's currently tracking behind last year's pace for sacks, having only gone down 8 times this year behind the line-of-scrimmage, but La Secla has to get his mind right quick for San José to have even a snowball's chance of hanging with the Broncos for more than a quarter. At 61 percent, his completion percentage isn't atrocious, but La Secla has routinely struggled to find any rhythm in the pass game and most of his passes go for very modest gains. He'll need to take more chances against the #3 Broncos if he wants to contribute, because dinking and dunking on Boise State will get him nowhere...but don't be surprised if the kid that's thrown less TDs in his career than Kellen Moore has in just five games this season has another rough outing. It may be time for coach Mike Macintyre to make a switch.
Mike Macintyre vs. Chris Petersen
This might be the mismatch of the night at Spartan Stadium as first-year coach Mike Macintyre tries to match wits with one of the best in all the land. When Dick Tomey was roaming the sidelines near-comatose for the Spartans, one at least got the sense that his wealth of experience would account for something...but Macintyre's trial-by-fire this year has been nothing short of brutal for a first-year headman with not much more than Duke credentials. Boise State will be the fifth ranked team that Macintyre and the Spartans will play this year, and it seems at this point that Tomey might have played a bit of a practical joke on his way out the door on the fresh-faced noob. Macintyre can actually win on Saturday...by observing the zen-like calm and calculating strategy of a true master...only then can he begin to understand how to turn a team with just two winning seasons in the last 17 years into a winner. Winning on the scoreboard though...naw...that's not gonna happen.
For Boise State:
- RB D.J. Harper still out with knee injury
- WR Mitch Burroughs possible this week with ankle injury
- DT Michael Atkinson out for the year for violating team rules
For San José State (this is sad)
- WR Noel Grigsby probable with ankle injury
- DE Joe Nigos out for season with elbow injury
- LB Kyler O'Neal out for season with knee injury
- DB Alex Germany questionable with concussion
- LB Pompey Festejo out for season with a foot injury
- DB Duke Ihenacho out for season with a foot injury
- DE Mohamed Marah out for season with a shoulder injury
- C Robbie Reed out for season with a knee injury
- LB Braden Storaasli questionable with a knee injury
What San José State can do to win
I'm really trying to find an angle with this one. I've yet to find it...but here's a stab. The Spartan coaches or a benevolent deity may imbue Jordan La Secla with a certain Kellen-like quality for all or part of this game, but it probably won't account for much unless he gets big games from receivers Jalal Beauchman and Chandler Jones and gets some run support from Wazoo-transfer RB Lamon Muldrow or teammate Brandon Rutley. Beyond that, the Spartans will have to have a very un-Spartanlike outing and suddenly improve upon their 116th ranked offense and 110th ranked defense. The Spartans have just one fewer INT on the year than the Broncos and can keep the game close with some key picks or turnovers on a short field. Mike Macintyre would be well served to coach a bit like his dad, George on Saturday as well...a national coach of the year recipient while at the helm of Vanderbilt's football team in the 70s.
What San José State can do to lose
Strange things are known to happen when the Broncos venture to San José, but the strangest thing that could happen this year would be if the Spartans are less than 20 points down after the first quarter. Look no further than mile-long injured list above to get an idea of just what kind of trouble SJSU might be in for on Saturday and I'm sure it would be perceived as a minor victory if the squad didn't lose anyone else for the year this weekend. While veteran players and upperclassmen can sometimes rally a squad, the Spartans will be without the services of 7 seniors due to injury...among them a two-time All-WAC first-teamer, safety Duke Ihenacho. The Spartans need only continue their current course and hope will quickly be lost against the #3 Broncos. Boise State has already faced three teams this year with defenses ranked below San José (Oregon State, Wyoming, New Mexico State) and two of those three have offenses that are in the same sad state (Wyoming, New Mexico State). If this game goes anything like those other two games went with similar unit rankings...it should be blowout city.
What Boise State can do to win
Show up and avoid the San José voodoo. Ian Johnson won't be there to puncture a lung and I don't think Yonus Davis got another year of eligibility. Dwight Lowery and Chris Owens won't be roaming the secondary and James Jones and Adam Trafalis can't hurt us anymore. This is a different Spartan team than the ones that gave the Broncos fits and unfortunately for them this a very different Boise State squad as well.
What Boise State can do to lose
This ain't happenin'. San José State is two weeks removed from losing to 1-AA UC Davis and is absolutely decimated by injuries. Their offense has yet to show real signs of life which would be critical when dealing with the nation's #2 defense. Boise State's offense is a tad powerful too, currently in the top 15 in virtually every offensive statistical category including the #1 rated passer in the country who also happens to have been sacked less than any of his peers as well. This Bronco team is too talented for a slugfest and too experienced for a letdown. Boise State rolls by 40 points...minimum.
- D-line. We were chagrined to learn during (and after) the Toledo game that big Mike Atkinson will be done for the year (and possibly longer) due to team rule violation(s). We've got good depth on the D-line, but Atkinson was performing at a high level and 320 pounders aren't the easiest to replace. BSU will need to find a dependable alternative in their ranks and someone is going to need to step up. With Darren Koontz a no-go, look for Greg Grimes or J.P. Nisby to make a push for more reps. I wouldn't be surprised to see Chuck Hayes drift back across the LOS either and find his way back into the rotation.
- Special Teams. Boise State's special teams had another lackluster outing against Toledo...allowing the Rockets much too good a starting field position and committed more costly penalties on returns, fakes, and personal fouls. Let's face it...the return team won't get a lot of opportunities to shine with the defense playing like it has, so it's important for the punt return units and kick-cover teams to get dialed in. There's no time like the present.
Is San José still a scary place to visit or has Boise State exorcised those demons? Which two men can replace the girthy Michael Atkinson at DT? Will Boise State show mercy and pull the starters before halftime?