Boise State Football

Instant Analysis: Boise State sets up its biggest football game in nearly five years

Boise State running back Alexander Mattison dives into the end zone for a Bronco touchdown in the second quarter
against UConn on Saturday.
Boise State running back Alexander Mattison dives into the end zone for a Bronco touchdown in the second quarter against UConn on Saturday. kjones@idahostatesman.com

The preliminaries are out of the way.

The main event is a week away.

The Boise State football team demolished UConn 62-7 on Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium for its 11th win in 12 games. Oklahoma State improved to 2-0 with an easy win against South Alabama.

And now we get the game everyone hoped for when this season began: Boise State vs. Oklahoma State next Saturday in Stillwater, Okla., with both teams undefeated and ranked in the Top 25 (Boise State was No. 20 AP/19 coaches last week; Oklahoma State was NR/23). The 1:30 p.m. MT kickoff will air on ESPN.

Boise State hasn’t played in a game with two ranked teams since the 2014 Fiesta Bowl victory against Arizona. The Broncos haven’t played in a regular-season game with two ranked teams since the 2012 season opener against Michigan State.

It’s a chance for the Broncos to convince the nation that the program is back in contention for a Top 10 season. They were in position to do that in 2016, but couldn’t finish the job. Otherwise, they haven’t reached those heights since 2011.

And through two blowout wins, against Troy (56-20) and UConn (62-7), the Broncos have looked the part. They have a bevy of offensive playmakers, even without injured wide receiver Octavius Evans; a senior quarterback playing the best football of his career; a deep defense that makes opponents earn their points; and a talented set of newcomers who are making an immediate impact.

On Saturday, the Broncos broke the school record for offensive yards in a game early in the fourth quarter. They rolled up 514 yards in the first half and scored 60 points at home for the first time in fifth-year coach Bryan Harsin’s tenure. The final yardage total was a staggering 818.

Yes, it came against a lousy UConn team. But a week earlier, the Huskies lost 56-17 to UCF — a team Boise State could compete against for a New Year’s Six bowl berth. The Huskies generated 486 yards of offense in that game. They finished with 193 against Boise State.

Even UConn coach Randy Edsall left giving the Broncos the edge over the Golden Knights, who went undefeated last year.

“They’re both very fine football teams,” Edsall said. “And again as I studied the tape and watched the tape and now being here tonight and playing them live, I think that Boise State is a little bit better and a little bit ahead of Central Florida right now. Defensively, I think Boise State is outstanding. They’re both good football teams, but there are more issues playing against Boise State than Central Florida, and we got hammered by both of them.”

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