- Time: Saturday, 5 p.m. MT
- Location: Hughes Stadium, Fort Collins, CO
- Weather: 76 degrees, Clear
- Odds: Boise State by 15.5
- TV: CBS Sports Network
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM
- Commentators: Carter "Bah Bah" Blackburn, Aaron "The Tool Man" Taylor, and Jenny "Dude, you're getting a..." Dell
1. Planet Hollywood
Rashard Higgins isn't the only weapon the Rams had, but he's the most easily identifiable. The junior had an absurd statline a season ago, hauling in 96 of LEAGUE OFFENSIVE MVP Garrett Grayson's passes for 1,750 yards and 17 TDs. It wasn't long before Rashard adopted the nickname "Hollywood", but that also might be because he joined the NWO.
2. Bobo fit
It's still probably too early to say just what kind of a coach CSU has in former Georgia OC Mike Bobo. They haven't really been embarrassed this year, but they also haven't had quite the edge they had last season under McElwain. Of course, last year's Rams squad had LEAGUE OFFENSIVE MVP Garrett Grayson and 1,000 yard rusher Dee Hart in the backfield. Bobo's job over the next few weeks won't get any easier either as they take on Boise State, Air Force, and SDSU in rapid succession—and that's on the heels of facing a stout Utah State team.
3. RB committee
Last season, the Rams had their feature back in 'bama transfer Dee Hart, but this year are going more with the committee approach like the Broncos have since losing Jay Ajayi. Jasen Oden Jr. has nearly identical stats to BSU's Jeremy McNichols, but has just 2 rushing TDs to McNichols' 10. The run game probably wasn't going to have a ton of success on Saturday regardless, but it doesn't look like they've got a Dee Hart or Kapri Bibbs in the backfield at the moment.
Boise State - Won 3
Colorado State- Lost 1
Best name(s) on their roster
Senior LB SteveO Michel
Best player picture on their roster
Junior DB Preston Hodges is a member of Coolio's entourage
Players to watch
Seriously, Higgins isn't Colorado State's only player of note, I swear...it's just that you haven't heard of any of the following guys is all. Higgins, quite simply is a guy you must account for because believe me, the Rams are gonna throw. They have to to do anything against the Broncos. Remember, CSU rushed for a whopping 28 yards last season against Boise State and our D-line is arguably better in 2015. To their credit...they abandoned that strategy late and started airing it out, with moderate success. Higgins had 143 yards against the Broncos a season ago and they'd be wise to not allow him a repeat performance.
WR Hansley is not having a banner year, but he's worth mentioning because he ate Boise State's collective lunch last season. It very well could be that the Broncos exert so much effort shutting down Hollywood that Hansley ends up with another big day against our boys (he had 149 yards and a score last year). I've already talked myself out of this happening, to be honest.
As the heir-apparent to LEAGUE OFFENSIVE MVP Garrett Grayson, this sophomore QB has had an up-and-down start thus far. Lobbing 10 TDs so far in 2015 is great...the fact that half of those came against Savannah State isn't. Stevens—aided by a competent run game and Higgins—has averaged over 225 passing yards per game, but his 55% completion percentage will need to creep up if he's going to gash a solid Bronco secondary.
Trent Matthews Jr.
The senior safety was an honorable mention All-MWC performer a year ago after registering 3 INTs, 8 PBUS, and 2 blocked FGs. No turnovers for Matthews so far this season, but he's been on a tackling tear of late—notching 24 stops in the last 3 games (including 12 last week against USU). Matthews experience and leadership make him a guy to be wary of.
Foster, a senior D-lineman for the Rams, leads the team in sacks with 3.5 and could clog run lanes for Bronco RBs or be in Rypien's face if the O-line doesn't do their jobs. It might bring you some small comfort to know that 3 of Foster's sacks came against Savannah "the stat-booster" State and CSU ranks 103rd in rush defense. But still...
If you think Matthews has been piling up the tackles—take a gander at senior LB Cory James, who has 26 stops in the same span. James was an All-MWC honorable mention a season ago and he could make the sledding tough in the middle of the field on Saturday evening.
Players to NOT watch
Not sure you were aware, but 2014 LEAGUE OFFENSIVE MVP Garrett Grayson is now with the New Orleans Saints. OT Ty Sambrailo is now with the Denver Broncos and RB Dee Hart...well, Dee Hart should have stayed in school.
Keys to victory
- Pour it on. Boise State has scored 50+ points in 3 straight and seem to have things clicking on both sides of the ball. Being on the road, the Broncos need to jump on the Rams early and keep the pressure on to keep the crowd out of it.
- Special Teams progress. I don't think the Rams have the offensive firepower to keep up with the Broncos nor the defensive strength to keep the Broncos out of the endzone. However, Boise State has still nearly lost a game this season on the failure of special teams alone. The Broncos need to shut down kick returns better and start with better field position.
- Keep Rypien's jersey clean. It's pretty clear that Rypien is the guy...but behind him, there really is no guy. Finley is still out a few more weeks (at least) and Ogle and Stuart haven't been terribly effective when given the chance. Rypien needs to finish the season healthy if the Broncos are to stay where they need to be.
- Score more points. 80% of the time, it works every time.
Boise State 48, CSU 17