WHEN THE BRONCOS HAVE THE BALL
▪ Protect, protect: Teams had success last season blitzing quarterback Brett Rypien, who worked this offseason on getting the ball out more quickly.
Running backs coach Lee Marks said his group is blocking better than ever. Giving Rypien more time and cutting down on sacks should reduce turnovers, which was the Broncos’ Achilles heel in last season’s losses.
“They’re up in your face, they’re aggressive,” Boise State co-offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Scott Huff said of Louisiana.
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▪ Spread the wealth: Boise State is working on new receiving options beyond seniors Thomas Sperbeck and Chaz Anderson. Junior Cedrick Wilson is slated to start and could be a tough matchup at 6-foot-3. Louisiana allowed 237 passing yards per game last season and yielded 28 touchdowns while intercepting just five passes.
“I can’t wait to get out there,” Wilson said. “I think we have a lot of guys who can contribute.”
11Number of turnovers Louisiana’s defense forced in 2015 (five interceptions, six fumble recoveries). Only two FBS teams had fewer.
WHEN THE RAGIN’ CAJUNS HAVE THE BALL
▪ Keep moving: Louisiana will aim to keep Boise State off balance, attacking with senior RB Elijah McGuire up the middle and in the pass game, but also with QB Anthony Jennings. An LSU transfer, if he gets out of the pocket, he could cause problems with his speed and frame (6-2, 231).
“He’s good ... I watched some of his LSU film, he’s a dual-threat player, so we have to be ready for that,” Boise State senior linebacker Tanner Vallejo said.
▪ Look long: Whether it is by using the play-action pass, a trick play or a scramble to create time for the receivers, the Ragin’ Cajuns want to take advantage of Jennings’ arm. The team has some unproven receivers, but it also could be an advantage as Boise State doesn’t quite know what to expect. The Broncos allowed 20 plays of 40 yards or more last season.
“There’s a lot of unknowns,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said.
▪ Block party: Louisiana blocked three punts last season, tied for second most in the nation. Boise State was one of 21 teams to have more than one punt blocked, yielding two.
“These guys will come after you,” Harsin said.
▪ Two fortunes: Boise State senior kicker Tyler Rausa hit a school-record 25 field goals last season on 30 attempts (83.3 percent) with only two misses inside 50 yards.
Louisiana sophomore kicker Stevie Artigue was 8-of-15, with seven misses from 30 yards or more.