Boise State Football

Why the Broncos say this Boise State team is special. And how they’ll fare on Saturday.

Bryan Harsin on Brett Rypien, wide receivers, Turnover Throne, Troy game

Highlights from Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin's weekly press conference include discussion of the Broncos' wide receivers and the Turnover Throne.
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Highlights from Boise State football coach Bryan Harsin's weekly press conference include discussion of the Broncos' wide receivers and the Turnover Throne.

Fans and media members aren’t the only folks eager to see what happens in a season opener.

The teams themselves learn something, too.

And what the Boise State football players witnessed Saturday at Troy spoke as much to the chemistry of the 2018 Broncos as the talent. The combination of those two qualities gives the Broncos a chance to make this another season to remember.

“It’s a brotherhood,” sophomore wide receiver CT Thomas said. “It’s better when you’re playing with your brothers than playing with just teammates because you’re going to do anything you can for your brother. ... It’s just all love and all fun. It’s not just what you do on the field. It’s also what you do off the field.”

The Broncos make their home debut Saturday against UConn (8:15 p.m., ESPNU).

Junior offensive lineman John Molchon called this team “hungry.”

“No matter what,” he said, “we’re just going to play hard.”

That was evident in the opener, when the Broncos beat Troy 56-20. It was a sloppy performance at times, as you’d expect in a season opener, but the Broncos consistently made the critical play — from diving catches to forced fumbles to fourth-down stops. And coach Bryan Harsin took note of the energy on the sideline.

“We have a lot of energy on this team,” senior wide receiver Sean Modster said. “... Just looking out there and seeing our team work was a good sight to see.”

My pick (1-0 overall, 1-0 ATS): The No. 20 Broncos are 31-point favorites (over/under 64) against the Huskies, who absorbed a 56-17 beatdown from No. 19 UCF last week. The Huskies don’t have the firepower or the experience to win on the Blue — they list five true freshmen as defensive starters, including three on the line — but quarterback David Pindell is a dual threat coming off a 157-yard rushing performance. The Huskies should have scored more last week and they’ll find the end zone multiple times against the Broncos. But expect Boise State tailback Alexander Mattison to have his first 100-yard outing of the season and quarterback Brett Rypien to light up that young defense. For the bettors, keep in mind the Broncos are 3-13 against the spread in their past 16 home games. Boise State 52, UConn 24

UConn perspective, from Alex Putterman of the Hartford Courant (opposing view is 1-0, 0-1): In last week’s loss to UCF, UConn displayed capable offense that accounted for 486 yards and would have put up more than 17 points if not for a few ill-timed turnovers. However, the Huskies also displayed a porous defense, composed of a startling number of freshmen, that was lucky to allow “only” 56. I expect UConn to cover the 31-point spread against Boise State but not by too much. Boise State 48, UConn 24

Betting expert Lee Sterling of Paramount Sports, who appears Thursdays on KTIK (1-0, 1-0): “To take UConn, it’d have to be 40, to even consider it. ... I like Boise big.” Boise State 52, UConn 14

College football spotlight

National game of the week — No. 3 Georgia (-10) at No. 24 South Carolina, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, CBS: After nearly winning the national title last year, the Bulldogs are getting lost amid the Alabama QB story. Georgia 34, South Carolina 17

Mountain West game of the week — Fresno State at Minnesota (-2), 5:30 p.m. Saturday, FS1: The Bulldogs can give the Mountain West a much-needed win against a Power Five school. Fresno State 27, Minnesota 24

Pac-12 game of the week — No. 17 USC at No. 10 Stanford (-5), 6:30 p.m. Saturday, FOX: The Bryce Love hype train stalled against San Diego State. He needs a big game here. Stanford 24, USC 22