WHEN THE BRONCOS HAVE THE BALL
▪ Make ’em pay: Two games in, and Oregon State’s decision to hire former Utah State DC Kevin Clune has been a success. The Beavers have seven sacks and have created six turnovers. It’s an aggressive system, of which the Broncos will hope to take advantage, be it via screens, double moves, you name it.
“They’ve brought some good pressures, and they get in your face, they’re going to play man to man and press, challenge you at the line of scrimmage,” Boise State receivers coach Junior Adams said.
▪ Cash it in: Opponents have reached the Beavers’ red zone four times, and they’ve finished every one with a touchdown run. Likewise, Boise State has been excellent inside the 20, scoring all seven times it has been in the red zone, with five touchdowns and a pair of field goals. Especially on the road, if the Broncos can punch in those opportunities for touchdowns, they likely will leave with the win.
“I want the pressure,” junior running back Jeremy McNichols said during the bye week.
WHEN THE BEAVERS HAVE THE BALL
▪ Mix it up: Boise State’s intent week in and week out is to make opposing offenses one-dimensional. A way to prevent that is to find any way possible to move the ball. Thus far, the Beavers have mixed in some Wildcat with quarterback-turned-receiver Seth Collins, receiver Victor Bolden has a 92-yard TD run on an end-around, and have completed 10 passes to 234-pound running back Ryan Nall.
“They’re powerful, got an experienced offensive line ... big, powerful running back,” senior defensive end Sam McCaskill said. “They have a lot of weapons, between receivers, their Wildcat quarterback.”
▪ Embolden Bolden: Senior receiver Victor Bolden is a game-changer for the Beavers. He leads the team in receiving and rushing yards, plus has the team’s longest catch and longest run. Expect OSU to try to isolate him to get the ball in his hands via the air and on the ground with sweeps.
“It could be a big play out of nowhere, so with guys like that you’ve just got to find a way to get him the ball … and we will, and he knows it,” quarterback Darell Garretson said.
▪ No muffin’, man: The Beavers have seven punt returns for a grand total of minus-9 yards, with a long of 4. Bolden’s 92-yard run against Idaho State was set up by his own doing, as he muffed a punt, but running back Kyle White jumped on the loose ball.
“Our punt return game isn’t scary, it’s petrifying. We have to be better there fielding the punt or we will lose a game there,” Oregon State coach Gary Andersen said.
▪ Fantastic feet: Both teams have reliable kickers, as Boise State’s Tyler Rausa is 2-for-3 on field goals after making 25 last season, and Oregon State’s Garrett Owens is 3-for-4, his only miss coming from 48 yards. Boise State punter Sean Wale is averaging 41.9 yards per punt, and Oregon State’s Nick Porebski is just ahead at 42.3 yards per punt, with only one having been returned.
“They’ve got an excellent punter, a great field goal kicker,” Boise State tight ends/special teams coordinator Kent Riddle said. “... We’ve got our work cut out for us.”