- Time: Saturday, Sept. 8, 8:15pm (MT)
- Location: Albertsons Stadium, Boise, ID
- Weather at kickoff: 77°, clear
- Odds: Boise State by 33.5
- TV: ESPNU
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM
- Commentators: Mike “Kissin” Couzens, Kirk “Jim” Morrison
1. Run it up
Most think that Boise State’s main competition for a NY6 spot is UCF (and rightly so), although the Broncos have a much tougher schedule. One other thing that might be a factor is “style points” and both the national champs and UCF (see what I did there?) have a common foe—you guessed it: UConn. UCF already dispatched UConn with ease, 56-17—a nearly identical point spread to the one Boise State laid on a more highly-regarded Troy team last weekend. So, short-sighted pundits may think Boise State has to beat UConn by more than 39 points to stay ahead in the hearts and minds of the voters. If so...poor UConn. If Sean Modster can lead his corners by 3 or 4 yards again, he might just crack 300 receiving yards on Saturday (on 6 catches). Furthermore, the Broncos should probably salt UConn’s fields so nothing can grow there again.
2. American pie
Boise State has played just one game against the AAC...a 2014 game against UConn (which the Broncos won 38-21), but if you stretch that out to all schools that currently call the AAC home, the Broncos are a tidy 9-1. Thanks to the old wacky WAC, the Broncos are 6-0 and 2-0 against Tulsa and SMU, respectively, and oddly enough, their only loss to the current membership was a 3-point Hawaii Bowl loss to ECU in 2007. ECU lost to North Carolina A&T (which I think is a phone company) over the weekend if that tells you anything about the current state of that program.
3. One man band
Obviously, this fella will end up on my “players to watch” list a little further down the page, but if you like kinda strange stats look no further. UConn’s senior QB David Pindell accounted for 423 of UConn’s 486 yards against UCF (266 passing, 157 rushing)...and they still were thoroughly drubbed. If you think Harsin is “Lou Holtzing’ by praising the UConn signal-caller this week—he’s not...he’s practically their whole team. If he can cover Sean Modster, he may never leave the field.
4. Get acquainted with Ennui Husky
Because you’ll probably be seeing a lot of him this year.
“What is life?”
Boise State - Won 3
UConn - Lost 6
Best name on their roster
It’s a three-way tie between defensive lineman Lwal Uguak, wide receiver Hergy Mayala, and long snapper Jeffrey Sidebotham (I like to think/hope the “h” is silent)
Best player picture on their roster
Running back Zavier Scott was completely robbed on the first season of American Idol
Players to watch
David Pindell, QB
Toldja, Pindell would easily make this list. The senior signal-caller was only a part-time contributor last season, but had taken the reins by the end of UConn’s semi-disastrous 2017 campaign. To say that he’s a dual threat would be an understatement...in his last five games for the Huskies, Pindell has rushed for 414 yards and 4 TDs and passed for 1,018 yards and 5 scores. UConn is 0-5 in those 5 games, but that’s beside the point—Pindell is a real weapon, even if he’s the ONLY one.
Kyle Buss, WR
Another senior, Buss had just one reception for 4 yards last season, but got the right kind of senioritis and kicked off his final season as a Husky with 7 receptions for 113 yards (16.1 YPC) against #21 UCF. If that’s a sign of things to come, Buss could make people forget all about that 1 catch, 4 yard junior campaign.
Kevin Mensah, RB
There aren’t a lot of bright spots for the Huskies, but if Pindell ain’t running it (he will be), Mensah is sure to get some carries. He had 59 yards last week against UCF, but had 561 yards and 4 TDs a season ago. I mean...tackle the guy with the ball, guys—this isn’t rocket science.
Aaron McLean, TE
This senior tight end is big (6’5”, 230 lbs) and tallied 472 receiving yards and 2 TDs in 2017. He had 5 receptions for 42 yards last week—the second highest total for yards and touches on the team. The big TE could be dangerous if the Broncos allow the Huskies to sniff the redzone. Maybe just don’t do that, yeah?
Darrian Beavers, LB
This sophomore didn’t play a TON as a freshman, but when he did, he made the most of it. Beavers had just 15 stops in 2017, but 3 of them were sacks. So if one in five tackles are sacks, and he made one tackle against UCF...nevermind, we don’t have to worry about him sacking anyone until game 5 unless he doesn’t believe in the awesome power of statistics.
Players NOT to watch
Linebacker Junior Joseph was UConn’s lone member of an all-conference team last season, an honorable mention. If that doesn’t tell you how much UConn is rebuilding, I don’t know what will.
Keys to victory
- Bombs away. Brett Rypien absolutely torched Troy on Saturday and UConn’s defense looks like it’s probably worse. Expect the Broncos to go to the air early and often before they settle in to kill clock. If Rypien’s deep ball is as dialed in as it looked against the Trojans, he might have 300 passing yards by halftime.
- Contain. Boise State didn’t allow a whole lot of scoring on Saturday, but the Trojans definitely found a little bit of success with Troy QB Kaleb Barker running the ball. David Pindell is like Barker on ‘roids. Luckily, the Broncos actually have some game film of Pindell to plan for. Put a spy on him, don’t break contain, profit.
- Do better on special teams. The Broncos lost one punt possession against Troy that led to their first score and then nearly botched another. On top of that, the Broncos missed a field goal and had some wonky punts. First game jitters? I certainly hope so.
- Don’t let up. The Broncos went conservative a little too early on Saturday, if you ask me. Fortunately, Chase Cord wasn’t having any of this “garbage time’ nonsense and Tyler Horton wanted to sit on the throne one more time. UConn isn’t terribly dangerous, but if/when they’re down...for the love of Pete, keep ‘em down.
- Don’t lose. 1-0 this year employing this strategy. Couldn’t hurt.
Boise State 52, UConn 10