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Sparty NO: Boise State vs San José State preview

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NCAA Football: Boise State at Wyoming Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Game facts

  • Time: Friday, 8:15pm MT
  • Location: Albertson’s Stadium, Boise, Idaho
  • Weather at kickoff: 55°, mostly sunny
  • Odds: Boise State by 29
  • TV: ESPN 2
  • Radio: KBOI 670 AM

Commentators: Dave “Lament” Lamont, Ray “Don’t touch my” Bentley

Other facts

1. Ron Caragher

San José State Head Coach Ron Caragher is currently in his fourth season with the Spartans. Though his fourth year has been a bit rough (Spartans are 3-6 overall) his in-conference record is actually better than his out of conference (2-3 conference). Which is to say, sometimes getting in the relatively easy conference slate can help you out. Coach Caragher is in his 10th season as a head coach and he spent his first six season with the University of San Diego where he enjoyed a 44-22 record. San José State, and Caragher, seem to be falling to the same cycle that successful Group of 5 teams fall in: a really successful coach (Mike MacIntyre) turns around a team and treats them to some success (MacIntyre’s last season was 10-2) and then bolts (he went to Colorado). Caragher will be seeking the program’s first win against Boise State in 13 outings. Hopefully after Friday they will still be seeking.

2. Spartan’s not much into dessert treats.

And here I bet you were hoping forcing turnovers would be something that Boise State would be able to solve this time. Well, that is going to be a challenge. Get this: the Spartans have successfully been able to traverse 12 quarters, 216 offensive plays, and three complete games without coughing up the football. I wish I could say the same about our Broncos. As conservative as the Broncos have been playing on defense (and for the most part pretty decently) they will have to find a way to get one, preferably multiple, turnover against the Spartans. Being in the negative in the turnover margin—again—would not bode well for my heart.

3. Kenny “Harry” Potter: the magician

Mr. Potter is Pro Football Focus’s top-graded QB in the Mountain West. As such, through eight games, he’s 120-210 with six interceptions and an efficiency rating of 130.47. He’s actually a pretty decent dual threat as well (that’s comforting) with a net of 141 rushing yards. He is actually fourth on the team in rushing statistics, and leads the team in rushing touchdowns, with four. In Mr. Potter’s career, he’s third on the San José State list of QB touchdowns, with 11. Guess who is number one? Jeff Garcia. Yep, that Jeff Garcia, who has 14. It’s a super-good thing that Boise State has never had an issue with a QB that could run the ball if need be or I would be slightly more nervous right now. Not sure if it is a good, or bad, thing that the QB is such a prominent part of the rushing game, but the Broncos being able to contain Mr. Potter will be key.

4. Spartan Hands. Like Jazz Hands but more...Spartany

I am not 100% sure what this means, but it is from the SJSU athletics website so I assume it meets the OBNUG puritanical standards.

Streaks

Boise State - Lost 1 :(

San José State - Won 1

Creaks

Best name on their roster

How about Zamore Zigler. He’s got to be Zig Ziglar’s long-lost cousin. Once removed.

Best player picture on their roster

Cameron Alexander. I feel as though whenever you have the opportunity to channel Christopher “Kid” Reid, you need to.

Players to watch

Kenny Potter

For the reasons I stated above. The guy has a pretty decent arm and limits his turnovers (only six interceptions) and he’s been able to keep the Spartans alive with his contributions to the running game. Josh Allen of Wyoming was able to extend the play (especially on third down) against the Broncos when the pocket collapsed. If Mr. Potter is able to keep that particular aspect alive, the Broncos will have to stay disciplined in the secondary.

Bryce Crawford

He’s a kicker. But he is also the Spartan’s leading scorer with 52 points on the season. Second place? That would be Mr. Picture Zamore Zigler with 24 points. It is actually a pretty common thing that the kicker has a boatload of points compared to other guys on the roster, PATs and field goals have a tendency to add up. Not quite the case for the Broncos as Mr. Jeremy McNichols has 18 touchdowns for 108 points while Mr. Tyler Rausa is second with 46. But Mr. Crawford has almost twice the attempts in field goals as Rausa, 11 to six respectively. Crawford also has a long of 44 yards, so I fully expect that, when the opportunity arises and they are in range, the Spartans will just go ahead and opt for the three points, regardless of their down and distance.

Frank Ginda

The sophomore linebacker is, well, pretty good. Mr. Ginda is the Spartan’s leading tackler with 66 total tackles, 6.5 tackles-for-loss, four sacks, one interception, and two forced fumbles. Last year he was the Spartan’s Freshman of the Year and has continued to show why he is entrusted in the linebacking corp. The guy is a beast for the Spartans and will be looking to add to his impressive totals.

Players not to watch

Well, apparently, the Spartans are super-healthy. I’ve checked in on who I thought would be out (LB Christian Tago and OL Nate Velichko) but both have made appearances this season and are on the depth chart (which may mean nothing if it is anything like Boise State’s depth chart). They have/had one guy who is out indefinitely due to academic issues, but he’s not even on the roster anymore. I suppose everyone of consequence is going to be starting.

Keys to victory

  • Win the turnover battle. No, for real, please do it this time. I know San José State has not been generous with the turnovers the past three games but, seriously, can we do it this time?
  • Stop Kenny Potter. All joking aside, he’s basically all the Spartans have for offense. If the Broncos are able to get good, solid, pressure up front, they may be able to limit him from making plays with this legs. If not, well, I can only assume third down is going to be the Money Down for the Spartans.
  • Score. The Spartans have been pretty generous in the “letting teams score” department. San José State has let their opponents outscore them 100 to 52 in the second quarter. If the Broncos can score 100 points in the second quarter, I am pretty sure they can walk away with the W.
  • Don’t lose. Welp. We are 7/8 on this one. That is a healthy 87.5%. Can we get to 88.8%?

Score prediction

Boise State 45, San José 14