- Time: Friday, 7 p.m. MT
- Location: Maverik Stadium, Logan, UT
- Weather: 69 degrees, Clear
- Odds: Boise State by 9.5
- TV: CBS Sports Network
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM
- Commentators: Carter "Pewterschmidt" Blackburn, Aaron "Trailer" Taylor, and Jenny "Chip'n" Dell
1. Busted Keeton
One-time WAC wunderkind Chuckie Keeton's knee has once again failed him and he won't be suiting up against the Broncos...instead, the Broncos will get to face off against sophomore Kenton Myers, who is no "Chuckie-in-his-prime", but probably closer to it than the actual Chuckie Keeton, who early in the season looked like he was held together with baling wire. For all of Keeton's accolades and for all he's meant to that Utah State program, it's strange that the Broncos never got to face him.
2. Super bowl shuffle
Ric Flair once said "to be the man, you have to beat the man", and Utah State is keenly aware that they don't rule the MWC roost until they knock off the Broncos. This makes this Friday's game a Super Bowl of sorts for the Aggies. Of course, last year's tilt had the same title implications and the Broncos won 50-19. As Ric Flair also once said "Woooo!"
3. D's nuts
Yet again, this matchup features the two premier defenses in the Mountain West Conference. The Aggies have given up slightly less total yards on the year, but have played one less game and have also played Fresno State. Boise State leads the country in INTs and is only allowing a paltry 48.2% completion rate to opposing QBs. Will the not-super-accurate QB that can run (Myers) win out, or will the super-accurate-but-young QB that doesn't really run (Rypien) win out? The answer is Rypien, right?
Boise State - Won 4
Utah State- Won 2
Best name on their roster
Freshman Safety Jontrell Rocquemore
Best player picture on their roster
Freshman QB DJ Nelson is not only ex-Aggie QB Riley Nelson's little brother...he'll also be 12 years old this Spring.
Players to watch
If you've been holding a candelight vigil since the departure of LB Zach Vigil, take heart...there's still a Vigil playing linebacker in Logan, and he's not so bad himself. The 6'2 235 lb Junior was a first team All-MWC selection in 2014 after racking up 123 tackles(!), 16.5 TFLs, 5 forced fumbles, 7 sacks, 2 PBUs, and an INT...SELFISH. So far in 2015, Vigil has been on the only tackle pace he knows...torrid. Though he's played in just 4 of Utah State's 5 games (he missed last week's Fresno State game), he's still managed 43 defensive stops. You're supposed to share, Nick.
LB hybrid Fackrell sat out nearly all of 2014 with a knee injury (very popular in Logan these days), but even after a long layover was named the 2015 MWC preseason Defensive Player of the Year based on nothing more than his rather incredible sophomore campaign, which featured 82 total tackles, 13 TFLs, 2 forced fumbles, and 5 sacks...oh, and he had a 99-yard INT return TD for good measure. So far in 2015, the Bednarik watch-lister has registered 23 tackles and 3 sacks and he also didn't play against Fresno State. How far and how fast have the Bulldogs fallen when it's a "rest your starters" game?
Myers, as discussed previously is the "plan B" at QB for the Aggies who was "plan D" a year ago. Darrell Garretson transferred and Chuckie Keeton's knee imploded, so Myers is the guy...but that doesn't mean he's a bum—quite the opposite. Myers, in his first start this season, rushed for darn near 200 yards against Colorado State and last week against Fresno State, found his passing rhythm with 260 yards and a TD. Myers did get the start against the Broncos last year and went 16 for 28 (57%)...not great, but it's waaaaay better than anything the Broncos have allowed in the last 3 weeks. Intrigue, y'know?
This senior WR flirted with a 1,000 yard season in 2014 and after sitting out the first two contests of the year, has come on strong in the last 3 games, racking up 16 receptions for 236 yards and a TD (78.6 YPG). Most impressive is that Sharp has averaged at least one 40+ yard reception in every outing this year, which can spell trouble if the Bronco D finds themselves in another scramble drill situation—very possible with a mobile QB.
This JuCo transfer RB is compact and powerful (5'11" 220 lbs) and leads the team in rushing on the year. He's not quite as prolific as the Broncos' top back, Jeremy McNichols, but he can move the chains and help extend drives so the Broncos would do well to corral him before he leaves the backfield.
Players to NOT watch
We've already lamented the loss of Chuckie "Ole Porcelain" Keeton, but the Broncos also won't see star return man JoJo Natson, who was dismissed in the offseason or 2014 All-MWC first-teamers OL Kevin Whimpey (brother of Bronco LB commit Riley Whimpey), LB Zach Vigil (brother of aforementioned Nick), or SS Frankie Sutera (mother of dragons).
Keys to victory
- Get them turnovers. The Broncos have frankly, been ridiculous in the turnover department during their 4 game win streak and would do well to continue that trend against a much more opportunistic (on both sides of the ball) USU team.
- Start quickly. The Broncos were up 17-0 on Colorado State before you could say "gesundheit" (I'm allergic to ram) and it put CSU on their heels quickly and took the hostile crowd out of the game. The Broncos will be facing another hostile crowd in Logan this Friday and not only would a quick start silence the Aggie faithful, but it would force Utah State to change their offensive gameplan to the much riskier passing attack.
- Keep Rypien's jersey clean. Rypien will be facing a tough defensive front this weekend and they're sure to dial up some exotic schemes to try to throw him off his game. Rypien has to do his part to avoid the pressure, but the O-line also needs to keep him from getting blindsided. We need Rypien to win.
- Score more points. Has worked like a charm four weeks running.
Boise State 38, USU 20