BRONCOS WITH THE BALL
Fits and starts: The Broncos have not found that machine-like consistency that has defined their offense for so many years. Last week, third downs were a problem. The Broncos average 5.8 yards per play, down from 6.5 last year. Weve got to get a little more rhythm to our offense, coach Chris Petersen said. At times, its smooth, and at times, its clunky.
Turnover turnaround: One of the biggest reasons the Bulldogs collapsed late in Pat Hills tenure was their inability to force turnovers. They finished with nine takeaways last year and have more this year (18) than in any season since 2006. Its so fun to watch, quarterback Derek Carr said.
BULLDOGS WITH THE BALL
Space (and speed, too) kills: The Bulldogs will attack the Broncos by spreading them from sideline to sideline and deep down the field then letting quarterback Derek Carr distribute the ball, or tailback Robbie Rouse find a crease. The Broncos have struggled with open-field tackling, which could be a major problem.
Third-down showdown: Fresno State ranks 84th in third-down conversions at 37 percent. Boise States defense is tied for 71st, allowing a dangerous 40 percent conversion rate.
New matchup: Boise State and Fresno State are known as two of the top special teams programs in college football and they have staged some terrific battles. Both programs have new special teams coaches, though, and Fresno State has new schemes.
Kicking woes: Fresno State can empathize with Boise States kicking situation. The Bulldogs have missed five PATs and two field goals including three short kicks in the one-point loss to Tulsa.
Top 25 drought: Fresno State, which became famous for its ability to beat the big boys, has lost 15 straight games against ranked teams. The last win was actually on the blue turf against No. 18 Virginia in the 2004 MPC Computers Bowl. Boise State is 7-0 against Fresno State when ranked.
Afternoon slumber: The Broncos and their fans dont seem to carry the same intensity into day games at Bronco Stadium. Those games were rare before last year, when the Mountain West TV partners began slotting the Broncos into afternoon kickoffs. Boise State played one home night game last year and gets two this year.