WHEN THE BRONCOS HAVE THE BALL
Turnover trend: The Broncos have committed 11 turnovers in their two losses. They have committed three in their five wins. There’s a reason the stat is tracked on a board in the locker room.
Weird stretch for Sperbeck: Boise State junior wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck, the Mountain West leader with 682 receiving yards, had five catches for 178 yards and two touchdowns in the first half against Colorado State. He didn’t have a catch in the second half of that game or the first half against Utah State. Then he went for six catches and 156 yards in the second half.
First-half troubles: Wyoming has allowed 136 points in the first half this season compared to 88 in the second half. The Cowboys play a fairly straightforward scheme with an emphasis on physicality. The defensive depth chart features 12 freshmen out of 22 guys. “They’re tough, blue collar — they’re resembling their coach,” Boise State wide receivers coach Junior Adams said.
WHEN THE COWBOYS HAVE THE BALL
Misleading record or stats? The Cowboys are 1-6 but they have the Mountain West leaders in pass efficiency (quarterback Cameron Coffman) and rushing (tailback Brian Hill) and the second-leading receiver (wide receiver Tanner Gentry, who is out with an injury). The problem: The Cowboys rank dead last in the nation in red-zone offense with 14 touchdowns and one field goal in 27 trips. “Those guys make plays,” Boise State senior safety Darian Thompson said. “Their record doesn’t mean anything. I don’t look at their record. I look at what they put on film.”
Bounce back for Broncos: Boise State’s defensive players want to be known as dominant. That might not be possible after last week’s debacle at Utah State. The defense was put in bad situations by the turnovers but did nothing to turn the momentum. “A definite frustration from last week,” junior linebacker Ben Weaver said. “We want to get better this week and show the dominant defense that we are and that we had been in prior weeks.”
Lopsided kicker battle: Boise State junior kicker Tyler Rausa is 13-for-13 on field goal attempts of 51 yards or less this season. Wyoming’s Tristan Bailey is 1-for-7, including three misses from inside 40 yards. He was 0-for-2 last week.
Return game favors Cowboys: Wyoming holds a significant edge on kickoff return with D.J. May averaging 32.6 yards per return. The team average is 24.3. Boise State, which has only had nine returns all season, averages 19.0 yards. Both teams have shown some potential in the punt-return game. Boise State senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes returned to that role last week with a 38-yarder. He and cornerback Donte Deayon have traded the job during their careers based on who is healthiest.
Kickoffs fade: The rules changes designed to limit kickoff returns are taking a particular toll this season. Boise State games have featured just 28 returns on 77 kicks (36.4 percent). It was 54.5 percent last season.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398; Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat
Wyoming at Boise State
When: 8:15 p.m. Saturday
Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf), Boise
TV: ESPN2 (Mark Neely, Tom Ramsey)
Radio: KBOI (670 AM), KTIK (93.1 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender
Records: Boise State is 5-2, 2-1 Mountain West; Wyoming is 1-6, 1-2.
Series: Boise State leads 9-0 (Broncos won 63-14 in 2014 in Laramie).
Vegas line: Boise State by 35