BRONCOS WITH THE BALL
Petersen vs. Dantonio: Boise State coach Chris Petersen (offense) and Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio (defense) got to this point in their careers by being two of the nations top coordinators. It should be fun to watch them match wits. For BSU, offensive coordinator Robert Prince makes his debut.
Loaded defense: The Spartans return eight defensive starters and 19 of their top 22 tacklers. Four players made the watch list for the Bednarik Award (top defensive player) cornerback Johnny Adams, defensive end Williams Gholston, linebacker Max Bullough and linebacker Denicos Allen.
SPARTANS WITH THE BALL
Bells toll: Petersen joked that he taped two running backs together to simulate Michigan States LeVeon Bell, a 6-foot-2, 244-pound bull who also is a productive receiver. Hes one of those special guys with that size who can move like that, Petersen said. That will be different for our defense to have to tackle that.
Experience, meet youth: Boise States most experienced defensive position is at cornerback, where Jamar Taylor and Jerrell Gavins are senior returning starters. Michigan State doesnt have any returning wide receivers with more than four catches last year. On the flip side, Boise States least experienced position is defensive end. Michigan State answers with four returning starters on the offensive line (see matchup at right).
Kicking questions: Boise State senior Michael Frisina won the kicker job in fall camp, beating out sophomore Dan Goodale. The pair struggled last season but coaches hope their strong performance in the fall scrimmage carries over into the season. At punter, junior kickoff specialist Trevor Harman makes his debut. He has a powerful leg but its unclear how consistent he will be.
Kicking answers: Michigan State returns an excellent kicker and punter. Senior Dan Conroy, a third-year starter, is 32-of-39 on field goals in his career, with a long of 50. Sophomore Mike Sadler placed 25 of his 61 punts inside the 20-yard line last year.
Poll streak in jeopardy: If Boise State loses, its likely the Broncos streak of weeks in the Top 25 will end. They have been in the polls for 62 straight weeks, dating to Sept. 21, 2008. Only Alabama (65) has a longer current streak. The preseason poll ended the Broncos string of 45 straight weeks in the AP Top 10.
More streaks: Boise State has won six straight games against BCS-conference opponents and six straight openers. The Broncos havent lost by more than three points the Spartans are 7-point favorites since 2007.
BOISE STATES DEFENSIVE ENDS VS. MICHIGAN STATES O-LINE
The Broncos expect to play five ends in this game three who havent played major college football and two with little game experience. Theyll face an experienced Michigan State offensive line that returns four starters, including both tackles.
Thats going to be an interesting matchup, Boise State coach Chris Petersen said, because youve got some salty old veterans at Michigan State against some new kids on the block.
The Broncos will rotate true sophomore Tyler Horn and sophomore transfer Demarcus Lawrence (Butler Community College) at the standard end spot and sophomore transfer Beau Martin (CSU Pueblo), redshirt freshman Sam Ukwuachu and junior Kharyee Marshall at the stud end spot.The stud end sometimes plays like an outside linebacker.
The No. 1 job, Horn said: Be disciplined.
Weve got a lot of talent, Id say, Horn said. We all bring something a little different to the table and were pretty hungry to get out there and play and just prove people wrong about our young D-line.