When the Broncos have the ball
▪ Time for some wrinkles? UNLV was on a bye last week, so the Rebels’ coaches have had two weeks to study the Broncos. Boise State may need to use some fresh offensive looks to counter that. “I expect them to come out ready to play and know our tendencies and have a great plan for those,” offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz said.
▪ Test for Rypien: UNLV ranks 22nd in the nation and third in the Mountain West in pass-efficiency defense. Opposing quarterbacks have completed just 54.6 percent of their passes with eight touchdowns and 10 interceptions. The group will face Boise State true freshman QB Brett Rypien, who leads the Mountain West in pass efficiency.
Every ball is contested. If you’re not accurate with the football, then there’s going to be issues.
Boise State offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz on the passing game against UNLV’s defense
When the Rebels have the ball
▪ QB returns: UNLV quarterback Blake Decker has missed the past two and a half games, during which the Rebels nearly squandered a lead against Nevada and lost heartbreakers to San Jose State and Fresno State. The former missionary who was briefly at BYU has been interception-prone during his career. “He’s got a lot of experience, so we’ve got to keep him healthy,” coach Tony Sanchez said. “Hopefully, that will get our offense kicked into gear for an entire game. We’ve had good spurts. We’ve had good quarters. But I don’t know if we’ve truly put together a good four quarters of football offensively, so that’s something we need to work on.”
▪ Quiet secondary: The Broncos’ defensive backs recorded 11 interceptions in the first six games this season. They don’t have any in the past two games. Safety Darian Thompson remains tied for the Mountain West career record with 18 interceptions.
▪ Rausa’s roll: Boise State junior kicker Tyler Rausa has made 15 field goals, one off the national lead. Of the eight players who have made at least 14 field goals this season, he’s tied for the best conversion percentage at 88.2. His two misses have come from 54 and 55 yards.
▪ A new face: Boise State senior wide receiver Terrell Johnson has become the primary kickoff returner. He produced a 33-yard return last week and averages a team-best 25.2 yards on four tries.
▪ Return opportunity: UNLV has struggled with kick coverage this season. The Rebels allow 13.2 yards per punt return and 24 yards per kickoff return.
Boise State at UNLV
When: 1:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Sam Boyd Stadium (35,500, Sprinturf), Las Vegas
TV: ESPNU (Clay Matvick, John Congemi)
Radio: KBOI (670 AM), KTIK (93.1 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender
Records: Boise State is 6-2, 3-1 Mountain West; UNLV is 2-5, 1-2
Series: Boise State leads 5-3 (Broncos won 32-7 in 2012 in Boise)
Vegas line: Boise State by 20