BRONCOS WITH THE BALL
Which is the real Boise State offense? The Broncos generated 206 yards against Michigan State and 261 against BYU. They rolled up 599 yards against Miami (Ohio) and 514 against New Mexico. The Southern Miss defense likely fits somewhere in between making this a good chance to see how much progress the group has made through the first month of the season.
Boldewijn is back: Junior wide receiver Geraldo Boldewijn returns from his four-game NCAA suspension to make his season debut. Under similar circumstances last year, he caught two touchdown passes against Fresno State then never caught another one. Hes a big body with great speed, so he should give the Broncos another vertical threat.
GOLDEN EAGLES WITH THE BALL
A different attack: The Eagles run a spread offense with an emphasis on the run. True freshman Anthony Alford is the biggest running threat at quarterback. Its a different look than the Broncos have seen from their first four opponents. It will be interesting to see if the Eagles attempt to take advantage of the weakness the Broncos showed last week defending option plays on the perimeter.
Turnovers and tackles: The Broncos biggest strength on defense this year takeaways. They have swiped the ball 12 times already. Their biggest weakness has been tackling, particularly against the run. That could be a serious problem against a team with the speed of the Golden Eagles.
The best option: Boise State coach Chris Petersen reiterated this week that senior Michael Frisina is the best option at kicker. Frisina has missed a field goal in three straight games. One was a snap issue.
Another kickoff challenge: The Broncos face a Top 10 kickoff returner for the second straight week in Tracy Lampley. They shut down New Mexicos Chase Clayton last week.
Surprising starts: Boise States sluggish offense and Southern Miss winless record are two of the bigger surprises in college football this season. The Broncos are an uncharacteristic 96th in the nation in scoring. The Eagles held a fourth-quarter lead last week against Louisville a sign of progress for a team that already has lost to East Carolina and Western Kentucky. Southern Miss has played in a bowl game for 10 straight years.
Early wake-up call: The Broncos will get up at 6:45 a.m. CDT thats 5:45 a.m. Mountain. They are used to early wake-up calls for practice, which begins at 8:30 a.m., but games demand a different energy. The last time the Broncos played a morning game, in 2004, they were sluggish and nearly lost at San Jose State.