Attack The Opponent (Bowl Edition!): Northern Illinois Huskies

The matchup with NIU has been years in the making. They’re another blue collar team from a small city, built on a reputation for giant killing. The Huskies are not “The Next Boise State,” they have forged their own identity. But it’s still the MAC.

The Huskies have had the same sort of trajectory over the last few years, a big win in a big bowl game, and the same kinda disappointing season where expectations were derailed but there have been flashes of brilliance. Their best game was a loss, coming within a score of Ohio State early in the season.

They lost to a tough Bowling Green in the MAC championship, lead by a fourth string walk-on QB and a fairly strong running attack. The Huskies defense is fairly stout, but hasn’t been really tested in a while outside of that last game.

As long as Boise State isn’t the team that distraction built, this game is a slight edge on paper to the Broncos. Their offense is just more explosive, and defense slightly more stout. However, there’s been some, uh, off the field distractions in the form of some legal issues, and a couple of important people to this team (no matter how little they would’ve played) aren’t with the team in San Diego.


Good work, gentlemen. Betty White disapproves.

However, maybe these guys have learned how to focus down, have healed up, and are going to come out and put on a show. NIU has one of their scholarship QB’s back, and both teams are more than capable of scoring points both on the ground and through the air. They’ve got a rather impressive run game, so expect them to pop off for at least a few long runs. The real battle here is going to be on the lines though. Boise’s defensive line should cause havoc on a young QB, but theirs should technically do the same to Ryp. So who knows.


We should prepare for the eventuality that this is the result and we have a 10-7 battle of the turnovers or something.

Either way, this game is going to be close enough to make both fan bases very uncomfortable, and might finally settle that question of who is the next Boise State (hint: It’s the team wearing Blue and Orange) to those on the other side of the country. NIU is a respectable program and will be a good matchup as both teams that didn’t quite live up to the lofty expectations that some of us had on them at the start of the season.

All of this is okay. Because 2016 is quickly approaching and while there are all of the questions right now and none of the answers going into next season, this game will give some young guys valuable experience, up to and including everybody on the coaching staff. The more they learn, the more dangerous they are.

Happy holidays, and Go Broncos!



Bronco Feedbag: Utah State Aggies


It’s a special day, you guys. It’s the day before the Aggies get reminded who their daddy is. In the wild west spirit of northern Utah/southern Idaho, I figured we’d go with some of my favorite “cowboy cooking” type dish – chili.

Recipe of the Week: All The Meats Chili

Here’s what you’ll need (serves 6-8):

  • 8 tbsp chili powder
  • 5 tbsp salt
  • 3 tbsp garlic powder
  • 3 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp cumin
  • 3 tbsp oregano
  • 4 tbsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 12 oz beers
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 lb hamburger
  • 1 lb spiced sausage
  • .5 lb bacon
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can butter beans

First, brown the sausage and burger in the pan over medium-high heat. Put the bacon on separately and cook until just starting to get crispy. Drain the meat, chop up bacon into roughly 1 in squares. Combine everything back in the dutch oven. The spices ratios are just my favs, but up the levels or take them down depending on what you like. When it comes to the beer, I love using ambers or oktoberfests, but anything works. I’ve used everything from Hamm’s that had been rolling around in a cooler for a month in the garage to espresso stouts and everything works for the most part except IPA’s. But I also have a distaste for super hoppy beer so… YMMV. Occasionally I’ll throw in some chopped up basque chorizo as the sausage, and it adds a very nice depth. Another shortcut is that the spices are basically the Carroll Shelby Chili packet you can buy at Albertson’s + smoked paprika and cocoa powder.

Bring it to a boil and then cover on medium heat and simmer for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover with about 20 min to go, and then you can add cornstarch to thicken if it isn’t the desired consistency. Serve with whatever – cheese, sour cream, chopped onion (green, white, doesn’t matter), crackers, etc.

One more thing: adding a tablespoon of apple cider or balsamic vinegar to a bowl of chili gives it a kind of indescribably spicy sweetness with a bite. It sounds weird, but check it out sometime.

Beer of the Week: Wasatch Ghostrider White IPA


I have been assured by people who have actually tried this beer that is a very mild IPA and that I should try it immediately. Good enough! This beer is a 6%, brewed with coriander, and also has a really cool label that is exccellently Broncotastic. From Wasatch’s website:

Legend has it Ghostrider roams Utah’s Wasatch Range seeking revenge: “someone” stole his White IPA recipe. Smooth and crisp, it’s made from pale barley and citrusy hops. It’s too good to hide!

Liquor/Shot of the Week: High West Campfire Whiskey

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This one I have had experience with. 2 bottles worth, to be exact. According to their freaking awesome, data packed website, this is possibly the worlds first mix of scotch, bourbon, and rye whiskey, and it’s made in Utah. If we’re having all the meats chili, might as well go big, right?

Sensory Notes:

Nose: Floral, fruity, bright and spicy. Caramel and butterscotch. Light smoke and smoldering wood from a campfire the morning after. Jasmine, chai tea, sandalwood, leather, tobacco, pine resin and toasted bread.

Taste: vanilla, honey, toffee with some nice fruit, blueberries and black cherries. Chai spices – nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest. Salty caramels. Tobacco. Gentle smoke!

Finish – Long, sweet, spicy, and smoky!

Love the enthusiasm on the tasting notes!  These guys are serious, and it’s a serious bottle with a serious price point (around $60). But it’s definitely one of the very best sippin whiskeys I’ve ever come across.

Happy tailgating, and Go Broncos!


Stream of Consciousness – Thoughts Before the Fiesta

Photo courtesy Boise State

Photo courtesy Boise State

  • This idea that Boise State isn’t as good as Bronco teams in the past is frustrating. Even if you agree with the statement, Arizona is not as good as Oklahoma (Big-12 champion), or TCU (Undefeated 12-0 MWC champion), was in the past either. This idea that there is a major talent gap between these teams is lazy narrative and should stop.
  • I really can’t wait to see what our coaching staff has in store for this game. In the first Fiesta, we saw a barrage of tricks. In the 2nd Fiesta Bowl, we saw a whole new look defense for TCU. I just get a feeling our staff is going to have something fun planned for us all.
  • Saying goodbye to the “J-Train” is not going to be easy, but I can’t think of a better way to do it. The Fiesta Bowl is special to us fans for good reason. I really hope we see a fitting departure for Jay Ajayi.
  • I can’t help but wonder who is going to be the star of the game? Is Kamalei going to go off? Is Hedrick going to cap off an incredible comeback season? Or will Jay Ajayi just run his way into the NFL? Somebody is going to have a major impact in this game and I can’t wait to see who it is.
  • How will the fans show up? I was lucky enough to attend the last Fiesta Bowl and I was blown away by our fan turnout. We owned the stadium, and it was so much fun to be apart of. I hope this Fiesta Bowl is no different.
  • If we win, who will propose? Sounds crazy, but that is our tradition as well. First it was Ian Johnson, then it was Michal Ames, one to a cheerleader, the other to a dancer. If we win, somebody needs to be prepared to step up :-)!
    boise-stateMichael Ames, Tess Tracy


  • I wonder if anybody wants to put an over/under on the amount of times the announcers use the words “trick-plays” when talking about Boise State? I guess I will go with 6.5 times?
  • I always look at Shane Williams-Rhodes like a stick of dynamite. He is always my X-factor for every game and I can’t help but think he makes a big play in this game. I am actually shocked we haven’t seen him in motion more getting the hand-off for the sweep to the outside.
  • Donte Deayon, will he be break gravity again in this game?
  • I believe Chaz Anderson in this game will solidify himself as a legit target for future seasons for the Broncos.
  • I also believe there will be a moment in this game where we look at McNichols after a play and say, “That guy is our future, no doubt about it”.
  • Lastly, I have an anxious feeling about this game, Arizona does pose some problems for Boise State. I really hate facing another 3-5-5 defense and I hope Grant has figured it out by now. But mobile QB’s in a spread system with a defense that has given us trouble, makes me cringe. If we win, I expect, just like the past two Fiesta Bowls for this game to keep fans on the edge of their seats. We are getting close Bronco Nation, buckle up, the ride is about to get fun!

The Ultimate Boise State Fan Holiday Gift Guide – 2014

It’s almost bowl season, which means that the holidays are coming fast as well. We all know from that last sentence what I feel is truly important this time of year, but some people get messed up priorities and start buying their friends and family silly things like soap/lotion/body wash baskets, ceramic figurines, or scented candles. We can do better, Bronco Nation!

(Disclaimer: We at Blue Turf Nation are receiving no kickbacks or merch for this. However, we probably wouldn’t argue… just saying. Call me if you have that hookup, Nike!)

So, here’s The Ultimate Boise State Fan Holiday Gift Guide for 2014, broken out by fan type.

The Little Ones First – For The Kiddos

White #2 Matt Miller Jersey – $40

Kids love dressing like their heroes, so why not give the gift of Matt Miller’s jersey? Can knock out football, superhero, and cowboy all in one fell swoop!

Boise State Broncos Fox Sports Robot 2.0 – $29.99

Yay, action figures. Also, it’s the Fox Robot so breaking it is kind of the least big deal ever. Win-win!

Boise State Football (literally!) Onesie and Hat – $26

This is adorable. Someone please buy this and send me pictures of your uterus-flippingly cute kid in this getup.

Boise State Toy Train – $17.90

C’mon. It’s a wooden toy train, painted in blue and orange and the Bronco logo. A kid’s very own J-Train, baby! Choo-Choo!

Kinda weird cartoon Buster framed poster – $42.99

This looks like a typical Amazon knockoff poster, but who knows. The logo is a little off, the words blue turf are just shoved on there without context, and Buster looks strange as a cartoon but it is a unique looking piece.

College Dreamin’ – Young Adult

Boise State Shockwave – $24.99 (sale)

Oh, hey. A speaker to work with a phone or mp3 player in the only appropriate color scheme. Neat. I bet T-Swift sounds even better through this. That is what the kids are listening to these days, right?

Boise State Player Knit Hat – $28.00

There isn’t much that’s better than wearing the same stuff as the players. This beanie has been keeping the Broncos warm on the sidelines since the weather got cold and looking good doing it.

Boise State Stealth Backpack – $44.95

Sure, a backpack is boring. But add a Bronco logo and all of a sudden it becomes…well, still a backpack but one that will likely get used a ton.

Boise State Broncos Reflex Portable Travel Couch – $106.57

Just hear me out. I know this one seems like a reach, but I would’ve loved this thing as a teenager. Friend sleeping over? Hey, Bronco couch! Dorm room needs some extra seats? Hey, lookie here! Even has cupholders. There are so many options for today’s young adventure seeker with this thing! Sledding, floating the river, camping, tailgating, partying, trying to ride it down a flight of stairs…no, wait. Forget I brought any of that up. Of course, dear reader, your wonderful, responsible young adult would never be involved in such unsafe shenanigans. Hey, look! Bronco couch!

Broncoistas – For The Ladies

Boise State Rah-Rah Necklace – $16.16

There is lots of Bronco jewelry out there, usually covered in plastic and bling. This piece is not the usual “Bronco head with two blue and two orange fake jewels glued on” and therefore is awesome.

Knit Hoodie Infinity Scarf – $29.95

It’s a scarf! A gorgeous blue one! With a hood, and a prominent Bronco logo on the side! This is the perfect statement piece for those 8 pm kickoffs. May the recipient of this gift’s ears and neck never be cold again.

BSU Full Zip Tunic Hoodie – $69.95

Don’t let the URL frighten you. Victoria’s Secret PINK campaign is a fully licensed partner of Boise State and isn’t the type of stuff that requires a half-nekkid girl in angel wings to model. This tunic zip hoodie does not use the usual BSU logos, and looks like the best thing ever with a pair of leggings and boots this winter.

“All About That State” T-Shirt – $26.95

A legit funny play on the Meghan Trainor song “All About That Bass,” this shirt is almost sure to amuse almost anybody with some pop culture chops. 

Boise State Western Boots – $327.99

If these are in your budget, they’re worth every penny. It would be nice if they would update the logo, but it’s not a deal breaker. If you know a Bronco inclined lady who can rock the hell outta a pair of cowgirl boots and you want to really treat her to an unforgettable gift…these are the way to go.

Dude Gear – For The Guys

Broncos Fiesta Bowl Hat (Charcoal) – $29.99

This hat is the answer to a question we didn’t even know we needed to ask. If its possible for a cap to be sexy, this one has pulled it off admirably. 

Glow In The Dark Boise State T-Shirt – $19.99


The Nike Pro Combat Hyperwarm Fitted Shield Max – $85

There are guys who go to the stadium shirtless when it’s 9 degrees, and then those who need to bundle up a bit more. This Pro-Combat undershirt is the perfect layer to wear to add warmth but not bulk, and we all know how much better it makes life to not be walking around looking like Maggie Simpson in her starfish snowsuit at a tailgate party.

Boise State Broncos Pewter Ring – $74.95

It’s not quite as pretty as championship rings, but is still pretty dang sweet. 

Baki Clothing BSU Bamboo T-Shirt – $25

Throwback yet fresh, with the BSU logo and the raring horse from the mid-80’s? Yes, please.

Tailgating Fiends

The Coolest Cooler – $349

Yes, it’s a $350 cooler. It also has more options than the car I’m driving right now. It’s got fat tires to help wheel it with more stability through whatever terrain you happen to be around. It’s got tie downs and oodles of storage. An integrated cutting board. It’s got LED’s in the lid to help you see in the dark so you don’t end up with your brother-in-law’s cheap beer. It’s got USB ports to charge your phone. It’s got bluetooth speakers to play your tunes. Heck, it’s even got a blender! This thing is no joke and should be on every tailgaters wish list.

BSU Grill Set – $49.95

Pretty standard bbq tool set, but with a logo on it, and a bottle opener. YAYYYYY!

Sunscreen Flask – 2 for $10.95

Uhhh, yeah. Tailgating. That’s all this could ever be used for.

Steam Cleaning Grill Brush – $15.95

A clean grill is a happy grill. Other possible uses: messing with opposing fans by shooting steam at them, staying warm on cold nights, facial treatments to open up those pores.

“Redneck” Mason Jar Condiment Dispenser – $12.95

Redneck? Possibly. We’re Idahoan and that comes with the territory. However, these look super useful, especially once the gloves come out in the cold. Imagine a world where nobody fumbled with massive ketchup bottles and surprise mustard juice ever again!

Bowl Gear, The One Thing Everybody Wants, and Other Cool Stuff

2014 Mountain West Conference Champions T-Shirt – $22.99

Commemorate the first outright MWC championship with a t-shirt! Or wait until next fall and get it on clearance. I’m not here to rush anybody in to anything.

Orange “Broncos Love Fiestas” Hoodie – $44.99

This is going to be the piece of gear to have from Fiesta 3.0. 

Nike Women’s Fiesta Bound T-shirt – $26.00

Go Big Blue, indeed. Nike is doing good work for us this season.

BSU Tooled Leather Horse Skull – $350

Got a slightly morbid Bronco fan in your life? Here’s the perfect gift! It’s a hand painted horse skull, with a gorgeous leather piece affixed to the front bearing a tooled Boise State logo. Is this guy sanctioned by the university? Probably not! Is he awesome for putting this art out in the universe? Yes he is!

…and now to the big one that everybody wants:

Nike Anthracite Platinum All-Time Performance Hoodie (AKA Harsin’s Black Hoodie) – $75

On the entire internet, there are apparently only women’s size medium and large at this time. Protip: if you want this hoodie for someone special who are not those sizes and might also carry a y chromosome, you’re going to have to stalk The Bronco Shop, The Blue and Orange Store, and Dick’s Sporting Goods like it’s your job. They go extremely quickly. 

Treat the Broncos in your lives (or yourselves!) to something special this holiday season. Socks are great and all, and everybody loves homemade baked goods, but sometimes, the greatest gift is the one of gear. Or a horse skull. Whatever floats that particular boat.


Attack The Opponent: New Mexico Lobos

New Mexico isn’t very good at football. They haven’t won even a portion of a conference championship in 17 years, since they won the WAC Pacific League title in 1997. Know what else was going on then?

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 8.33.10 AM

Houston Nutt was Boise’s coach. What the hell, 1997?

The Lobos have never defeated Boise State. The closest they have come was in 2012 when they scared the hell out of most of the city of Boise by coming within 4 points of a strong Bronco team. Not to say that they don’t have a long football history. The Lobos have been playing since 1892! Sure, they have 61 more wins all time than the Broncos, but they also have had 41 more seasons to try.

Ancient history though, all of it. The only thing that really matters is this week. Boise State has taken control of their MWC destiny, and will likely end up meeting Nevada for the championship game on The Blue if they can keep winning and not get tripped up in the homestretch. TBH, New Mexico likely isn’t going to be that team. Currently they are 3-5, with wins over Texas El Paso, Texas San Antonio, and UNLV. They played close with Air Force, but ended up losing by 4. (Air Force is an enigma. They beat Boise, win the Commander in Chief’s trophy, lose to Wyoming and Utah State. Just…what?)

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Coach Bob and his bitchin’ glasses don’t really understand what happened with AFA this season either.

The Lobos are an option team, and one that is capable of putting up bunches of yardage…on the ground. New Mexico is not a threat through the air. In their best performance of the year, they only put up 130 passing yards. This team is not balanced, and apparently isn’t even trying to be, judging from that five whole yards they somehow managed to gain against UNLV through the air last Saturday. However, on the ground is a different story. No, the Lobos aren’t consistent, but they have run for as much as 430 yards in a single outing. Granted, that wasn’t against a team with any sort of defense. Check out the trend graph below.

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Basically, all that is telling us is that the Lobos aren’t consistent on offense and aren’t that good, either. They’re the same Lobos they’ve always been on the football field, unpredictable and underachieving.

One positive for the Lobos is that their defense is getting better each week. Sure, they still have a terrible defense that allows 400+ yards per game, 450+ if the opponent has any sort of offensive prowess, but they are improving ever so slightly. That trend should be blown out this weekend with the Broncos coming to town, but as we learned in the Great Scare of 2012, anything is possible.

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Pretty sure this is where we’re at: New Mexico is not a good football team. They may not get bowl eligible, but it would make their season to derail Boise like AFA did. So, the Broncos must be prepared and ready to go. That includes continuing to play good defense on the ground, get picks if they are available (against a team that is okay with throwing hardly any passes, though, there may not be a ton of opportunities), and tackling well. Boise’s Offense is going to have 700 yards if they play like they did against BYU. The Broncos will be able to get just about all the plays they want through the air (as long as Turnover Grant stays home), and once the field opens up there will be Broncos popping off big runs like whoa. The key is in the prep work though. No team left on this schedule can be overlooked, including New Mexico. It’s time for Boise State to have a good November, and stomping on the Lobos is a decent start. Go Broncos!