When the Broncos have the ball
Pass attack struggles: True freshman quarterback Brett Rypien was 23-for-48 and sacked six times last week. Add in at least three completions that resulted in lost yardage, and 34-of-54 passing plays resulted in an incompletion or negative play. Rypien has completed just 52 percent of his passes the past two weeks. Drops and receivers failing to gain separation have contributed, but he also has been less accurate than earlier in the season. San Jose State leads FBS in passing yards allowed at 149.6.
Growing pains: The Broncos’ six skill players at any given time could include a true freshman (Rypien), a redshirt sophomore (TE Jake Roh), a true sophomore (WR Jeremy McNichols), a true junior with less than three years of experience at his position (WR Thomas Sperbeck), a redshirt junior who began his college career as a cornerback (WR Chaz Anderson) and a backup slot receiver because of the injury to Shane Williams-Rhodes. “Those guys are going to have to mature,” offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz said.
When the Spartans have the ball
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A change at corner? Boise State benched junior starting CB Jonathan Moxey in the first half last week against Air Force after he gave up a long pass play. True freshman Tyler Horton had the next chance, but junior Raymond Ford turned the game around with an interception and exciting return. Coaches haven’t committed to a starter for this week. “We just compete every week,” Ford said. “It’s not about, ‘I think I’m better than this dude.’ It’s about competing and doing the best we can do.”
Familiar face: San Jose State offensive coordinator Al Borges is a former Boise State assistant coach. Boise State coach Bryan Harsin sat in on one of Borges’ position meetings during a recruiting visit when Harsin was the Capital High quarterback. “During that time, watching Boise State, they did some really good things on offense,” Harsin said. “(Borges) still has that creativity.”
National finalist: San Jose State punter Michael Carrizosa is one of three finalists for the Ray Guy Award (nation’s top punter). Carrizosa leads the nation with a 47.9-yard average. More than half of his punts have traveled 50-plus yards, and 16-of-40 have been downed inside the 20-yard line. If he has a flaw, it’s that six punts have resulted in touchbacks.
Field-goal flaw: The Spartans are 8-for-15 on field-goal attempts this season. They haven’t made more than two in a row all season.
A bright side: The Broncos’ defensive decline in recent weeks has allowed senior kickoff returner Terrell Johnson to get some extra reps. He averages 23.8 yards per return and has come close to breaking one a few times.
Boise State at San Jose State
- When: 1:30 p.m. Friday
- Where: Spartan Stadium (30,456, FieldTurf), San Jose, Calif.
- TV: CBS Sports Network (John Sadak, Sed Bonner, Melanie Collins)
- Radio: KBOI (670 AM), KTIK (93.1 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender
- Records: Boise State is 7-4 overall, 4-3 Mountain West; San Jose State is 5-6, 4-3
- Series: Boise State leads 11-0 (Broncos won 48-0 in 2010 in San Jose)
- Coaches: Boise State, Bryan Harsin (19-6, second year; 26-11, third year overall); San Jose State, Ron Caragher (14-21, third year; 58-43, ninth year overall)
- Vegas line: Boise State by 7
- Kickoff weather: Low 50s and sunny, with 5 mph winds and no precipitation