Bronco Beat

Marshall loss puts Boise State football team in prime position for major bowl berth

The Boise State football team’s path to a New Year’s Six bowl game became much clearer Friday afternoon.

Marshall — the Broncos’ main competition for a major bowl berth — lost 67-66 in overtime to Western Kentucky on Friday in Huntington, WVa. It was Marshall’s first loss of the season, dropping the Thundering Herd to 11-1.

This week, Boise State (9-2) was No. 23 and Marshall was No. 24 in the College Football Playoff Top 25. The highest-ranked champion from the five non-power conferences gets a guaranteed New Year’s Six berth — in the Fiesta, Cotton or Peach bowl.

If Boise State beats Utah State on Saturday night and wins the Mountain West championship game next week, it’s difficult to imagine any of the other conferences’ champion jumping in front of the Broncos.

Boise State’s most likely destination would be the Fiesta Bowl, which is Dec. 31 in Glendale, Ariz. The Broncos won the Fiesta at the end of the 2006 and 2009 seasons.

The opponent likely would be a top-10 team.

Under the new system, a Mountain West participant would receive $2 million for expenses and $2.16 million in potential profit from a New Year’s Six appearance. The ticket requirement has been reduced to 12,500. The value of any unsold tickets would come out of the participating team’s share.

Boise State has distributed 32,100 tickets for Saturday’s game against Utah State (8:21 p.m., ESPN2).

It’s Senior Day — and fans should note a schedule change that will require them to show up early if they want to salute the seniors. The introductions will be done with 23 minutes left on the pre-game clock, or about the time the teams leave the field after warm-ups. That’s 7:58 p.m. this week (could get pushed back 5 minutes). The reason: Coach Bryan Harsin wants to bring the seniors back into the locker room and go through the final game preparations as a team like a normal game.

The fund to help Boise State senior safety Jeremy Ioane with his future medical expenses has topped $8,900.

You can read the story about Ioane’s fight with kidney disease here and view the donation website here.

Utah State at Boise State

When: 8:21 p.m. Saturday

Where: Albertsons Stadium (36,387, FieldTurf)

TV: ESPN2 (Mike Couzens, David Diaz-Infante, Shelley Smith). Channel 209 on DirecTV, 144 on Dish, 25 and 492 (HD) on Cable One.

Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender

Records: Boise State is 9-2 overall, 6-1 Mountain West; Utah State is 9-3, 6-1

Series: Boise State leads 14-4 (Boise State won 34-23 last year in Logan)

Boise State game notes

Depth chart

Team stats

LINKS

Beat notes: NFL evaluation process could complicate Ajayi’s decision

Coaches haven’t talked to Ajayi about his future

Jeremy Ioane’s battle with kidney disease

Live chat replay

Key matchup: Jay Ajayi vs. Zach Vigil

Boise State in position for major bowl berth

Vigil brothers lead Utah State D

Utah State scouting report

Recruiting commitment tracker

Boise State makes CFP Top 25

How ticketing process would work for MW title game

Mountain West Football Report

Backups disappoint vs. Wyoming; Correa surges

Matt Miller describes injury, updates his rehab

Chanceller James injured, won’t play this week

Deayon wins MW weekly award

Donte Deayon gets MW honor

Boise State cracks Top 25

Email me at ccripe@idahostatesman.com.

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