- Time: Saturday, August 31, 5:00pm (MT)
- Location: TIAA Bank Field, Jacksonville, FL
- Weather at kickoff: 85° with a chance of thunderstorms
- Odds: Florida State by 5.5
- TV: ESPN
- Radio: KBOI 670 AM
- Commentators: Dave “Paschion Fruit” Pasch, Greg “Not Rory” McElroy, Tom “Loogie” Luginbill
1. Bag’em and Taggart
Even though it took the assembled media nearly 12 minutes to ask Willie Taggart about the Broncos in his game week presser, he hyped them up as well as anyone...and Taggart better hope the Broncos are as good as he says and his Noles still get over on them because they don’t take too kindly to losing in Tallahassee and they experienced plenty of it in Willie’s first season at the helm. In a different timeline, the Broncos may have already faced Taggart, but he’d already left for more southern pastures when the Broncos played his Ducks in the 2017 Vegas Bowl (and won, IIRC).
2. It’s not the heat it’s the...well, yeah it’s the heat
Boise isn’t exactly nippy in the summer, but the humidity index usually hovers around zero. Not the case in the swampy south, where the Broncos will have to contend with the heat AND humidity inherent in the nation’s armpit. Thankfully, this isn’t the Broncos first rodeo. Last season they opened at Troy, which was just as humid but hotter than the expected 85° kickoff temps on Saturday, and they went to Louisiana a couple of seasons ago as well and dealt with similar conditions. So, while the heat is a bit of a factor, I’m told BOTH teams will have to play in it, so looking at that Doppler (totally legal in this state), I’d be more worried about potential rain and lightning than our guys melting into a puddle of goo.
3. Freshman sensation?
It was an epic QB battle in fall camp, but those riding the #TeamHank bandwagon can now securely fasten their safety belts. After last weekend’s scrimmage, Coach Harsin announced (in a roundabout way) that they were going with the true frosh to kick off the season (and presumably for the rest of it too, knock on wood). What was lost was just how much history that little announcement made. The Broncos haven’t rolled with a true freshman QB in their opener since...well, ever. Tom Scott (of slant fame) was able to put the true freshman starters in a small grouping: Hazsen Choates, Tony Hilde, and Brett Rypien...but none of those frosh started the opener (much less against a college football blue blood), so Hank gets the coveted asterisk next to his name in the history books, win or lose. Should he win on Saturday, however...there will be overreactions. Prepare yourselves.
4. Sir, this is an Arbys.
Boise State - Lost 1 (missed PAT...cancelled bowl game)
Florida State - Lost 1 (Florida...missed first bowl game since Olivia Newton-John topped the Billboard charts)
Pictured Last Nite.
Best name(s) on their roster
All hail Tre’ McKitty
Best picture on their roster
OL Jauan Williams for perfectly encapsulating the face we all make when they try to charge us $1.50 for an Arizona Iced Tea when it clearly states that it’s 99¢ ON THE CAN.
Players to watch
James Blackman, QB
Blackman was named Florida State’s starting QB Sunday night with an overly descriptive tweet.
Now, the Broncos know exactly who they get to worry about on Saturday night...and it’s the lanky (6’ 5” 195 lbs) sophomore QB. Blackman was able to hold off Wisconsin transfer Alex Hornibrook (tee hee) to win the job and will try to build off a strong freshman campaign (in 2017). When true frosh Blackman took over for an injured Deondre Francois in 2017, he made 12 starts and threw for 2,230 yards and 19 TDs. The Noles took advantage of the new redshirt rule and shelved him after 4 appearances last season and now the STILL sophomore will get to ply his trade once again. Seize him!
Cam Akers, RB
No, I’m not talking about the new Cam Newton themed gated community Cam Acres. I’m talking about the stout junior running back for the Noles. Akers was a 5-star recruit coming out of Clinton High School (MS) and the country’s top running back recruit in the 2017 class. He hit the 1k rushing mark in his first season with the Seminoles and while he regressed a bit behind a weak O-line in 2018, he still led the team with 866 all-purpose yards and will definitely chew up acres (see what I did there?) of turf on his way to the end zone.
Marvin Wilson, DT
Marvin Wilson looks like an end boss on Double Dragon. This dude is huge (6’5” 311) and makes the most of that girth by plugging up holes and getting to the QB. Last season, Wilson recorded 42 tackles (4.5 for loss) and 3.5 sacks. He also registered four QB hurries, 2 pass break-ups and a forced fumble. Somehow, he STILL found time to win the Intercontinental Heavyweight wrestling belt at Hell in a Cell? Impressive.
Stanford Samuels III, DB
Initially, Samuels wasn’t on my list, but then Bryan Harsin called him out by name at his game week presser (“great name”) and I did a little digging. Turns out, Hars has watched a bit more Florida State film than I and was right to single out the junior DB. At 6’ 2” he’s a big DB, and uses that length to get picks (six over the last two seasons). Last season in 11 starts, Samuels made 58 stops, 4 INTs, 4 PBUs, and a QB hurry. If he’s covering the wide receiver...whatever you do...don’t hurry.
Tamorrion Terry, WR
Terry is going to be a hand full for the Boise State DB unit. He’s 6’4”, 205 lbs. and usually described as a “freak” (and I’m relatively sure they aren’t talking about him having an extra set of hands or no bones). Terry averaged 21 yards/reception last season and hauled in 8 TD passes. The best way to stop this guy one on one, is to not let Blackman throw the ball in the first place. Terry did have “minor” knee surgery before fall camp, so if he’s not 100% for this one I DEFINITELY think he should sit out. I’M JUST BEING CAUTIOUS.
Players NOT to watch
In 38 games with the Noles, DE Brian Burns made 39 tackles for loss, 24 sacks, 7 forced fumbles, 7 pass break ups, and 3 blocked kicks. Thankfully, he’s now with the Carolina Panthers and probably won’t be playing on Saturday without some cloak and dagger shenanigans. Boise State also won’t have to contend with the legendary Red Lightning on Saturday either.
Keys to victory
- Block party. I’m sure when Florida State learned of the Broncos starting a true frosh under center in Jacksonville, they probably popped a few corks and decided they might want to pressure this n00b. Well, I wouldn’t blame them if that’s what they tried to do...so the Broncos can’t have another slow start for the O-line or someone named Hank is gonna get smooshed.
- Block party Part Deux. The last “big stage” game the Broncos played on the road was last season on Stillwater, OK. They allowed 2 punts to be blocked and that kinda took the wind out of the Bronco sails. My gawd, man...block somebody.
- Pressure. Blackman had a pretty solid freshman debut, but he still had a 2-1 TD/INT ratio and can be forced into turnovers through pressure and solid coverage. Since our LBs are a question mark and we’re breaking in a new starter at CB, that pressure up front will loom large. Unleash the Weaver!
- Don’t lose. The Broncos ignored this advice in the MWC Title game and I’m sure have been kicking themselves ever since.
I have no idea what to predict from the Broncos or Noles this year...but LAST YEAR the Broncos were a better team than the Noles...so I’ll go with what I know. C’mon, Broncos...make me look like a genius.
Boise State 24, Florida State 21