5 Keys to the Game: Boise State vs Air Force

5 Keys Logo BSU vs Air Force1.) Tackle in Open Space: When you play Air Force you can expect a grinding out game that is option heavy. When it comes to the Falcons, they have one major objective on offense. That is to get their play-makers in open space. For Boise State to be successful Friday night, they will have to tackle better, much better actually. Air Force is going to get guys into the open field, the question will be can Boise State stop them when they get there? For BSU to win this game they will have to win one-on-one match ups in open space. Ioane and Thompson will have to make some big plays in this game.

2.) Make Stops on 1st & 2nd down: Air Force has thrown the ball 29 times in 2 games this season. They have only completed 13 of those 29 passes, and only have 1 touchdown through the air. This is what Air Force is and will likely always be, a team who is very limited in the passing game. If Boise State can make stops on 1st & 2nd down, Air Force will be forced to throw the ball. Something they are not comfortable doing. Putting the Falcons in 3rd and long consistently throughout this game would give Boise State a huge advantage.

3.)Play From Ahead: Just like stopping the Falcons on 1st & 2nd down, getting ahead in the ballgame has the same results. Air Force is not a come-from-behind type of team. If Boise State can build a quick and early lead on the Falcons. Air Force will be forced to try to move the ball through tactics that do not fit their scheme. If Boise State jumps to a substantial lead it will take a lot of pressure off the Bronco’s defense, and put a lot of pressure on the Falcon’s inexperienced QB’s.

4.) Stay Balanced on Offense: Air Force has played Utah State and Colgate this season. And in both games they showed their defense has some work to do. For Boise State to win this game they should stay balanced on offense. Much like last week, opportunities will present them self if Boise State stays committed both to the pass and the run. Against Air Force Chuckie Keeton went off for 5 passing TD’s and 77 yards on the ground. Boise State might not have Chuckie Keeton, but they do have a lot of weapons to distribute the ball to. Get the ball in the hands of the play-makers and good things will happen. Shane Williams-Rhodes, Burks, and Ajayi will have chances to make big plays. If they do, this game could come very easily for the Broncos.

5.) Blue on Blue: Seems silly right? Something like uniforms matching the field making a difference? This is the first time we get wear our blue uniforms for the Mountain West, so why not celebrate? Boise State should come out with a lot of energy and the fans should as well. Blue out in the crowd, and a blue out on the field and ESPN on a Friday night, what more could fans, players, and coaches ask for? This is a chance for Boise State to show that what happened to start the season, has nothing to do with now. A win over Air Force gets Boise State right back in the national picture.

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5 Keys to the Game Boise State vs Nevada

1.) Disarm the Pistol: I am sure most of you have heard about Nevada’s Pistol Offense. This option based, run oriented offense, as we all know, can cause plenty of problems for the Broncos. What is even more concerning now is that our big wall in the middle is no longer with the team due to injury (Michael Atkinson). With that, it is going to be up to the likes of Ricky Tjong-A-Tjoe, Darren Koontz, Tyler Horn, and Greg Grimes to own the middle of line, forcing the pistol to move to the outside where Boise State has some favorable match ups with the speed of┬áDemarcus Lawrence and Sam Ukwuachu. Sounds like quite the task right? Well that is not all. Even if this can all be accomplished, tackling will still the be the key in this game, and at times this season it has looked shaky. Teams have shown the ability to run the ball on Boise State. Most notable to this match-up might be New Mexico, and Colorado State games. Both ran option style run schemes against Boise State, and in those two games Boise State gave up a total of 487 rushing yards, often because of missed tackles in the open field, or on the outside. For Boise State to win this game they are going to have to fill their gaps in the middle, and tackle well on the outside – something that cause most teams issues – and when it comes to Nevada vs Boise State, is often a match-up problem.

2.) Contain Fajardo: Quarterback Cody Fajardo of Nevada is a problem for teams who have to face him. He passes with efficiency, and runs as well as any quarterback in the country. That being said Boise State’s success is going to be determined by how well they can stop him. Fajardo has scored 27 touchdowns this season -17 in the air and 10 on the ground. He averages 6 yards a carry, and has only thrown 7 interceptions. Boise State needs to find a way to limit Fajardo on the ground and in the air. But more importantly they need to make him press. Get at him early and force him into stressful situations. Much like Kaepernick before, him Fajardo does his best when his confidence gets going. If Boise State can rattle him early with pressure and some turnovers it will go a long way toward beating Nevada.

3.) Don’t let the emotions get the best of you: This is a rivalry game. The fans hate us, we hate them. We will never forget the missed field goal that ended our Rose Bowl dreams. However, that doesn’t mean this team needs to live in the past as well. Nevada’s future has already been decided, they have their bowl game picked and all they are playing for now is another chance to knock off Boise State and stop them from winning a conference title. This means Nevada has room for error, that frankly Boise State does not. The players will need to stay focused on the task at hand in this game. They can’t afford to get baited into the antics that some Nevada players and fans will surely try to get them to engage in. Emotions can be a good thing if used correctly. It will be up to this young team to make sure they can keep their emotions in check to win this game.

4.) Be the more physical team: You have a rivalry, you have a title on the line for one team, you have a national audience on ABC, and you have a football game. And in the end much of this game will likely come down to which team can be physical the longest. Nevada is going to run the ball downhill all game. Boise State will have to match the intensity in the trenches for a chance to win this game. Stopping the run will be key for Boise State, but it will be key for Nevada as well. Both teams this year depend on the run to set up everything else around them. This means the team that controls the line of scrimmage is going to have a major advantage in this game, and will likely win it.

5.) No interceptions: Joe has played much better as of late. He hasn’t thrown an interception in 2 games, and his completion percentage is up. However, the questions still remain about whether he can deliver a big game against top-notch competition. Can he play like he did versus Colorado State against Nevada? That is the question, and that question might be more important than any other. Nevada has lost 4 times this year, and in all 4 of those loses one stat stuck out to me more than the others. In each loss the opposing QB didn’t throw an interception. And even Air Force threw for 2 touchdowns. In fact in the 4 loses Nevada has this year, quarterbacks have thrown 10 touchdowns to no interceptions. This puts the emphasis on Joe Southwick – he has to protect the ball. Nevada struggles on defense, giving up 33 points a game. If Joe can protect the ball and score some points while doing it, Boise State should win this game.


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5 Keys to the Game Boise State vs Hawaii

1.) Cure the Hangover: We all know what happened last week. As much as fans think it hurts them, it hurts the players and coaches even more. Losing is never easy, and with a young, beaten, and battered team it could be very costly. Hawaii is a bad football team, and really on paper should pose no threat to Boise State. However, coming off of a devastating loss at home means Boise State has two choices come Saturday. Choice one: wallow in self-pity, play like the season is over and possibly get upset by Hawaii. Choice two: be Broncos, play with pride and tenacity and go out and blow Hawaii out like you are expected to. I expect nothing less than choice two.

2.) Get Back to What Works: A loss can often get a team to go looking for answers. Teams often try to change things up, and find new ways to win. The pedigree for this Boise State team though is simple: run the ball, pass in high percentage situations, and play great defense. Joe Southwick is a bus driver type of quarterback, not a win you the game type of player – at least not yet. That means Boise State needs to continue to run the ball to set up the pass, while relying on their defense to put them in easy field positions to score points. Hawaii’s defense is nothing short of awful so far this year, giving up 42.6 points a game. Boise State will have opportunities to score points in this game, hopefully they seize those opportunities.

3.) Overcome the Island: You have a three-hour time difference. The humidity is high, and the travel is rough. Traveling to Hawaii – unless you are going on vacation – is not the easiest thing to deal with. With a young team, many of whom are making their first trip to the island, it can be even more difficult. It will be very important for Boise State players to stay hydrated and focused on the game. The football team Hawaii has might not be very good this year, but the home-field advantage they have is very real. In fact, it maybe the biggest strength they have this year.

4.) Start Fast: Putting this game away early would be nice. Simply starting off quickly though will do. We saw last week how starting fast can help a team. In this case, it would be preferable if that team was Boise State. This defense has been masterful at causing turnovers this year. In this game, an early interception or fumble recovery could go a long ways in helping Boise State win. Just as affective would a break-away run, or deep ball. However it happens, an early big play might help Boise State wake up out of whatever hangover they may have from the San Diego State loss.

5.) Southwick has to get better: Joe has been consistent, he has been – as I mentioned above – a “bus driver” this year. He has not however been dynamic. Ten touchdowns in nine games is not the kind of consistency that you hope for out of your quarterback this far into the season . Don’t get me wrong, Joe has done some good things. He has been an accurate passer completing 65% of his passes, and he has only thrown seven interceptions this season. That being said, we just haven’t seen the “it” factor yet. He hasn’t had that game or drive that makes you say that is our guy. Joe doesn’t have to be, nor will he ever be Kellen Moore. Joe does need to get the ball in the end zone more often. And he does need to complete more passes down the field when they are open. Joe just needs to get a little bit better, and show everyone why he is the starting quarterback at Boise State. If Southwick can turn that corner, Boise State will make huge gains as they head toward the end of this season. Gains that will lead to more wins, and a huge boost towards the next year. And more importantly, a win against Hawaii.

Score: Boise State 42 Hawaii 13

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