When the Broncos have the ball ...
Progress for Finley? Boise State sophomore quarterback Ryan Finley improved from his first to second start, coaches said, but the three interceptions were concerning. In start three, he needs to show better decision-making and find a way to get the Broncos offense in rhythm. He was terrific in the third quarter at BYU but hasn’t played like that at any other time. “I feel like right now he’s feeling his way through,” senior wide receiver Shane Williams-Rhodes said. “I feel like last year Grant (Hedrick) had to do the same thing. He’s got to get comfortable. ... I feel like we should see a lot better play this week.”
Solid D in Pocatello: Idaho State’s once-leaky defense has become more effective the past season-plus. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 41.7 percent of their passes this season. Portland State’s quarterback was 7-for-16 for 106 yards last week.
When the Bengals have the ball ...
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Another Mangum: Idaho State senior wide receiver Madison Mangum is the older brother of BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum. Madison is coming off a 1,234-yard season and has scored on three of his eight catches this year. He earned national attention for his one-handed TD grab in the season opener, a play that ranked No. 2 on “SportsCenter” — behind only Tanner’s Hail Mary vs. Nebraska.
Edgy D: The Broncos’ defense likely will play with an edge this week after allowing four touchdowns and an array of long balls last week at BYU. The group expected to dominate this year. But two games into the season, the Broncos already have lost a game in which the offense put 24 points on the board. “We’re energized, ready to go and come back and prove that we are a good team and that what happened last week won’t happen again,” junior linebacker Tanner Vallejo said.
That was better: The Broncos nearly lost the opener because of their punt unit. They nearly won their second game because of the same group. Punter Sean Wale, who had one punt blocked and another returned for a touchdown against Washington, placed four of his eight punts inside the 20-yard line last week.
Busy guy: Zak Johnson has handled all of the kicking duties for Idaho State this season. He has placed five of 10 punts inside the 20-yard line and made 9 of 10 PATs. He hasn’t tried a field goal yet. The redshirt sophomore from Nampa Christian High also played defensive back in high school. He lettered in basketball and golf, too.
The latest Hammer: Boise State junior linebacker Darren Lee is the latest special-teams ace who wins the Hammer with some regularity. He could get it again for a big hit last week. The junior already has carried the Hammer a team-high four times in his career.