- Time: Saturday, November 18, 8:15pm (MT)
- Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
- Weather at kickoff: 38° partly cloudy
- Odds: Boise State by 17.5
- TV: ESPN2
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM
- Commentators: Roy “Uncle Phil” Philpott, Tom “Tucker” Ramsey
1. Boise State’s Super Bowl
Not a whole lot of motivation needed for this game even if a division title wasn’t on the line. Bryan Harsin has never defeated Troy Calhoun on the football field (did beat him in Mario Kart at MWC media days) and I’m sure would sorely love to do so. In fact, the Broncos haven’t defeated Air Force in football since a scrappy underdog named JOE SOUTHWICK was at the helm (2013). Southwick was 27-of-29 that day...last season Brett Rypien was 9-of-26. Call Eleven, because I think we’re in the upside down.
2. Triple the options!
The triple-option offense that Air Force employs is a rarity in college football. For the most part, only the service academies, Georgia Tech, and recently New Mexico run it. Somehow, Boise State ended up with two triple-option offenses in the same division...clearly a “that’s for trying to go to the Big East” prize from Craig Thompson. The good news this weekend is that we’ve seen the triple-option already this season and handled it rather well...the bad news is that Air Force runs it far better than New Mexico does and even if we shut the offense down like the last two seasons, we’re usually down an LB or two (a very real possibility this weekend) and our offense plays like a bunch of n00bs. Is this finally the year that our offense and defense both click against Air Force? Maybe...but I’m not putting any money on the spread.
3. Salute to seniors
Boise State will honor 14 seniors this weekend and they’ll have a bit of motivation also. The outgoing class is one win away from becoming the 15th class in the last 16 to depart with 40-or-more wins in their careers...a nice little average of 10 wins per season. And you wonder why players want to come to lil old Boise, Idaho.
4. (sound of teeth grinding)
Boise State - Won 6 (fifth longest in the country, thank you very much)
Air Force - Lost 2
Best name on their roster
Pour one out for my homie Weston Steelhammer, but welcome our new pal Wolfgang Rehbock (OL)
Best player picture on their roster
No awards this week, this is a service academy so they’re all high and tight on the hairdos.
Players to watch
Worthman is the Falcons junior QB, but take that job title with a grain of salt. The 5’11” 205 pounder is Air Force’s leading rusher, so even with ALL those options, he’ll choose to keep the rock the majority of the time. Not saying that Worthman can’t pass...but he’s sub-fifty-percent on the season in that particular metric. He does have 10 TD tosses to just 4 picks, so unfortunately he does it well enough that we can’t completely neglect our downfield coverage. It’s always something!
Seriously, bummer of a name...but McVey is one of the Falcons’ best, but certainly not biggest weapons (5’9” 190 lbs.). You’ll see the senior listed as an RB, but he’ll line up as a wide receiver and field punts when he’s able. Tackle this guy with gusto.
Bennett is the guy that puts the “Air” in Air Force as the Falcons top receiver. Again, he’s not going to be a central part of the offense, but just when they’ve lulled defenses into stacking the box and taking out the pitch guy...BAM! there’s Bennett running free downfield. Like most Air Force receivers, he isn’t targeted that often (15 catches on the year), but when he’s open...he’s usually way open (21.7 YPC and 3 TDs). Spy this one, fellas.
Cleveland might be even better at McVey’s game than McVey is this year. Not only is the somewhat diminutive “WR” third on the team in rushing, with 379 yards and 3 TDs, but he’s also the Falcons second-leading receiver, with 245 yards under his standard-issue belt.
Players NOT to watch
By Odin’s raven, I’m glad to announce we no longer have to contend with safety Weston Steelhammer, whose highlight reel featured so many plays against the Broncos, you’d think his cousin was on our video staff.
Keys to victory
- Disrupt. When playing the triple-option, you don’t always have to make THE play, but you sure as shootin’ better make A play. Whether you’re making the QB toss an ill-advised pitch, taking out a blocker on the edge, or just sitting in a passing lane, every man needs to make something happen.
- Play disciplined football on defense. Very, very important against this god-awful offense. Do your job. The option works when defenders get antsy and try to make or “clean up” their teammates responsibilities. Don’t get sucked in.
- Win special teams. Last season, a punt return TD sank the Broncos battleship against Air Force, so they’ll need to not only win the field position battle through special teams, they’ll need to protect the ball at all costs.
- Run’em off the field. The Broncos have had fast starts in most of their 6 straight wins...another against Air Force could very well throw them off their clock-controlling game plan.
- Don't lose. It’s worked in 6 straight games now, and I’m sensing a trend.
I was just a smidge off on last week’s score prediction, but the result was still the same...a Bronco W. A win this week is even bigger than last week, so pour it on, boys.
Boise State 42, Air Force 17