San Diego State comes to town with a 6-3 record. The Aztecs have been good, and not so good this year. They have struggled with consistency on offense, and have been exploited on defense. This is a game that Bronco fans have been eager to see ever since the rumors surfaced about Blue on Blue on Blue back at Mountain West media days in 2011. The issue was rumored to have been brought up by Rocky Long (although Hair Thompson could not verify nor recall who was the voice behind the protest) and the Mountain West obliged. Now, for all Mountain West home games, Boise State cannot wear all blue. Needless to say, I have a strong feeling that Rocky Long will be the brunt of the Broncos aggression this Saturday. Don't expect much mercy as Boise State may pile it on, in a not so blue attire this Saturday.
What does San Diego State run for a defense? Well, that is a good question. Rocky Long prides himself on defense, and has went all in with the 3-3-5 defense. For those not familiar with this scheme, it is 3 down lineman, 3 linebackers, and 5 defensive backs. What are the advantages of this scheme? Its designed to get fast athletes on the field and cover receivers. It is also designed to move around and blitz from a lot of different angles. Those things are well and good, but the 3-3-5 gives up some things by having fast athletes on the field. If a team is good at running the ball down hill, the 3-3-5 is susceptible to giving up lots of yards. Also, the 3-3-5 is very susceptible to the short passing game. The corner backs will play at 9 yards off the line of scrimmage, thereby conceding the short passing game. Also, the flats are wide open to the outs, bubble screens, and stick routes.
What does this mean for Boise State? Look for Southwick to complete passes to our wide receivers right at the line of scrimmage, 5 yard hitches, 10 yard outs, 3 yard slants and others. This defense is designed to give up those passes, in hopes that the blitzing linebackers can get to the quarterback before getting rid of the ball. Also, this defense works great when teams do not go right at the short passing game, In order for Boise State to win this game, they must nickel and dime SDSU to death. Keep the chains moving with high percentage passes is what me must do.
Offensively, this may be Southwicks best game yet. I say that as a former quarterback, who knows that there is nothing a quarterback loves more than the defensive backs sitting at 9 yards deep and back peddling at the snap. The quarterback can complete a number of passes with his eyes closed, and that is no exaggeration. I expect Southwick to go for over 300 yards. And I expect our offense to put up a lot of points. We will run the ball pretty well, but I don't see Harper going for over 100. I see the passing game getting most of the love Saturday night.
Defensively, San Diego State has some guys that can hurt us. Their tight end Gavin Escobar (6'6" 255lbs) is by far their best receiver. He will be playing in the NFL soon, and he has potential to bring us down. The key to making sure he doesn't get a lot of receptions, is to make sure we get pressure to the quarterback. If Escobar gets more than 4 receptions, things could get iffy.
Also, San Diego State will run the ball on us. They are 18th in the nation in rushing offense. Running backs Adam Muema and Walter Kazee are capable of both going over 100 yards each game. Containing those two will be a high priority. The strange thing is, Kazee and Muema almost get the same amount of carries each game. In terms of yardage, I think a big key to victory would be keeping Kazee and Muema collectively under 150 yards. If we let them get close to 100 yards a piece, it could be a long night for our defense.
As always, we must win the turnover battle. I know some of our readers probably get tired of hearing me say that, but I'm sure if you ask any D1 football coach before the game what his biggest concern is, it would probably be taking care of the ball. We must do just that. We must win the turnover battle. I think the crowd will be amped, and their is potential for a lot of points. My pick, 49-17, Blue.