Every year, the team mottos change, though the goals remain the same. Often, they come out of what the Boise State football team feels is necessary to get there.
This season, “All In” and “No Days Off” have been mantras for the Broncos, stemming from a subpar 9-4 season last year that included two home losses.
Names have not been mentioned, but there was a feeling that all players weren’t on the same page.
With a 10-2 mark and an opportunity to knock off a third Power Five conference team in the Cactus Bowl on Tuesday (8:15 p.m., ESPN), the Broncos have been a more united team.
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“I think last year we had a lot of selfish activity, maybe,” senior linebacker Ben Weaver said. “From the coaches addressing that this summer, us with our team mottos ... being about a team rather than an individual, I think we all kind of gathered around it, and it’s paid off for us.”
Part of embracing that mentality includes experienced players setting an example. Sophomore quarterback Brett Rypien has attempted 10 fewer passes per game, though he has been more efficient. Junior tight end Jake Roh has been willing to take on a more blocking role as his receptions dipped from 33 to four. Senior offensive tackle Will Adams, who transferred from Auburn but did not earn a starting job, has been highly regarded for fitting in as a positive influence around the team.
“For us as a team, we’re a selfless team,” Roh said. “We’re not worrying about who is getting the ball and who is not. We are about winning games.”
Though the Broncos did not achieve the goal of winning the Mountain West, the other goal written on the wall of their team room is to win a bowl game. That’s pushing the team to continue that mentality against Baylor.
“We took it from the example of last year. You can’t just expect to win because you’re Boise State anymore,” senior defensive end Sam McCaskill said.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, BIG GUY
Last week, senior guard Travis Averill reflected on his favorite gift from previous Christmases, and it was a tale that proved he’d be destined to play offensive line. It happened when he was 10 or 11, he said.
“One year I got a moped, riding up and down the street and my neighbors got all mad at me,” Averill said. “I got a little hesitant driving that a lot. Then it broke, because I was a chunkier guy.”
The Broncos practiced soon after arriving Friday and had their second Arizona practice early Saturday afternoon at Chaparral High in Scottsdale.
Roh is a former Chaparral standout, and was greeted by a sign outside the field that read, “Welcome Home Jake Roh, From Your Chap Fan Club.”
ROPER DEPARTS FOR MONTANA STATE
Freshman walk-on running back Jake Roper, who turned down offers from Football Championship Subdivision schools out of Rocky Mountain High, has left Boise State and will transfer to Montana State.
With the Bobcats, he would be eligible to play immediately as a redshirt freshman next year. Montana State is coached by former Boise State assistant Jeff Choate.
Cactus Bowl: Boise State vs. Baylor
▪ Time: 8:15 p.m. Tuesday
▪ Where: Chase Field, (40,400, grass, home of baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks), Phoenix
▪ TV: ESPN (Rece Davis, Joey Galloway, David Pollack, Molly McGrath)
▪ Radio: KTIK 93.1 FM, KBOI 670 AM (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender)
▪ Tickets: $40-$115, available at BroncoSports.com/tickets, by phone at 208-426-4737 or the Boise State ticket office
▪ Vegas line: Boise State by 7 (over/under is 67)
▪ Coaches: Boise State, Bryan Harsin (31-8, third year; 38-13, fourth year overall); Baylor, Jim Grobe (6-6, first year; 116-121-1, 20th year overall)
▪ 2016 records: Boise State 10-2, Baylor 6-6
▪ Key stats: Boise State’s two losses this season were by a combined nine points; Baylor has lost six straight games by a combined 262-157 points.
▪ Bowl records: Boise State 11-5 (won six of past seven), Baylor 11-11 (lost four of past seven)
▪ Series: First meeting
▪ Weather: Chase Field has a retractable roof, which is expected to be open for pre-game activities and closed for the game. Tuesday’s forecast calls for sun, highs in the mid-60s and lows in the mid-40s.