Boise State Football

No. 13 Boise State at Wyoming game breakdown

Boise State sophomore wide receiver Sean Modster entered this month with three career catches. He has five in October.
Boise State sophomore wide receiver Sean Modster entered this month with three career catches. He has five in October. doswald@idahostatesman.com

WHEN THE BRONCOS HAVE THE BALL

Spread the love: The Broncos’ 28-27 win over BYU last Thursday provided a glimpse of how the offense could evolve over the rest of the season.

Seldom-used receiver Sean Modster had four catches for 82 yards and tight end Jake Knight had a 46-yard reception on his second catch of the year. If there are soft areas in the Wyoming defense, it could mean opportunities for those “other” receivers or tight ends.

“All of our guys are ready for those opportunities. ... With as much personnel that we use, we’ll try to mix the ball up and target different guys so teams can’t clue into one guy,” co-offensive coordinator Zak Hill said.

Take a shot: Wyoming has made no secret that it plans to stack the box in an attempt to stop Boise State running back Jeremy McNichols. The Cowboys have done well in that aspect, ranking 39th nationally (139.4 yards per game allowed). But if they can get the defense to bite on a fake and go up top, the long pass could be there all night.

“They make everything look the same with their play actions,” Wyoming linebacker Lucas Wacha said.

11Wyoming has allowed 11 touchdowns of 25 yards or more this season. The Broncos have scored on 13 such plays.

WHEN THE COWBOYS HAVE THE BALL

Get some push: Boise State has been tough against most rushing attacks, though ones with a style similar to Wyoming — BYU and Colorado State — ran for 184 and 135 yards. If Wyoming has any shot at winning, it will have to create some movement on the line to pave the way for the nation’s No. 2 rusher, Brian Hill (144.3 ypg).

“The last couple of times we’ve played Boise, we had a tough time establishing the line of scrimmage,” Wyoming coach Craig Bohl said. “This is the best defensive front that we’ve played against.”

Keep it to yourself: Wyoming has 11 turnovers, just as Boise State’s offense does. And like the Broncos, they’ve tended to come in bunches. Nine of the Cowboys’ 11 turnovers came in their two losses. If they can avoid coughing up the ball, this could be a close game. That’s what most teams have done to keep within striking distance of Boise State.

SPECIAL TEAMS

Stay awake: The Cowboys haven’t tried a fake punt or sprung a surprise onside kick like Oregon State did against Boise State, but given the Broncos’ special teams struggles, it’s a possibility. Wyoming is 6-of-12 on field goals, so it may not have a ton of confidence in its kicking game, either.

“Haven’t seen too much as far as different looks in special teams, or any trickery in that way, but I fully expect it,” Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said. “There’s probably something on special teams we have to be prepared for.”

Turn it around: Boise State has muffed three punts, all by sophomore Akilian Butler, who likely will be replaced by sure-handed junior receiver Cedrick Wilson. Simply starting with fielding the ball cleanly, the Broncos could find some return lanes, which Wilson did in his lone returnable kick for 17 yards.

“It’s too up and down. ... We also let quite a few opportunities slip through our hands, literally, at times on special teams,” Harsin said. “That needs to end.”

Dave Southorn: 208-377-6420, @IDS_BroncoBeat

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