BOISE - After a 19-point home loss to Virginia two weeks ago, the Boise State football team will look to right the ship as they travel to Provo for a Friday night matchup against a BYU team that is hoping to overcome struggles of its own.
The two teams are a combined 3-6 on the season, a major disappointment for two programs that have been among the nation's winningest over the last decade.
GAME TRACKER: Live scoreboard, play-by-play, and stats
The Broncos (2-2, 1-0 MWC) are coming off a bye week, one in which coach Bryan Harsin said the team has made some changes, although he didn't reveal specifically what those changes were.
“That’s internal, and I’m not talking about it now,” said Harsin. "We changed a few things in practice, changed a few things in personnel, really tweaks, not a lot of massive overhauls in a lot of things right now."
BYU is also likely due for some "tweaks" after a 1-4 start to the season. After a season-opening win against FCS opponent Portland State, the Cougars have dropped four straight, including last week's 40-24 loss to Utah State in Logan.
As both teams look to turn their respective season around on Friday night in Provo, something's gotta give.
Boise State vs. Virginia
- Boise State at BYU
- Friday, Oct. 6
- LaVell Edwards Stadium, Provo, Utah
- Kickoff: 8:15 p.m. MT
The game will be televised on ESPN, which can be found on the following channels:
- Cable One: Channel 133 / 1133 (HD);
- DirecTV: Channel 206;
- Dish Network: Channel 140
- Cox - Channel 32
ON THE RADIO
Fans can listen to the game on the Bronco Radio Network, which can be found online or on the following stations in the Boise area:
- KBOI 670 AM
- KTIK 93.1 FM
For a list of Bronco Radio Network stations outside the Boise area, click here.
BRONCO ROUNDUP GAME DAY
KTVB's Bronco Roundup Game Day show will be live from LaVell Edwards Stadium from 7 - 8 p.m. on KTVB, KTVB.COM, and in the Bronco Roundup app. Join Jay Tust and Will Hall for a live look at all of the major storylines leading up to kickoff.
Despite being less than six hours drive away, the Broncos and Cougars have played just seven times, with five of the games coming since the programs began a 12-game series in 2012. Boise State leads the all-time series 5-2, but the teams have traded wins in recent years with the home team winning each of the five recent contests. Last season, the Broncos eked out a 28-27 win at Albertsons Stadium.
Boise State's all-time record against BYU:
- Oct. 30, 2003 - W, 50-12;
- Sept. 24, 2004 - W, 28-27;
- Sept. 20, 2012 - w, 7-6;
- Oct. 25, 2013 - L, 37-20;
- Oct. 24, 2014 - W, 55-30;
- Sept. 12, 2015 - L, 35-20;
- Oct. 20, 2016 - W, 28-27
ABOUT LAST WEEK
Boise State got a much-needed bye week to regroup after suffering its worst home loss since 2001. After the Broncos scored on an 80-yard drive to open the game, Virginia took control by ripping off 21 straight points en route to a 42-23 win over the favored Broncos.
Brett Rypien, who returned to action after suffering a concussion against Washington State, threw for 353 yards and one interception. But the Broncos' woes in the ground game continued against the Cavaliers, as the visitors held the home team to just 30 yards rushing. Meanwhile, the Cavaliers' offense rolled up 167 yards on the ground.
The Broncos are eager to put the bitter Virginia loss behind them. Coach Bryan Harsin said in his Monday press conference that some tweaks have been made, and that the team is eager to get back on the field.
His advice to the team?
"Take it, watch it, open your heart, drop your ego, learn from it. How do we get better, how do we improve it?" Harsin said.
Harsin counted 9 drops in the UVA game. There were 25 incompletions. That means 36% of BSU's incompletions could've been receptions.— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) October 2, 2017
"There's a lot of adversity right now, we know it, the city knows it. That's fine, that's sports," added offensive coordinator Zak Hill. "It's how you respond to that adversity that creates a really, really good football team."
The Broncos will look to take advantage of a turnover-prone BYU offense that lost the ball seven times last week against Utah State. This season, the Cougars are dead last in the nation with 10 interceptions - including four last week - and is ranked 124th in total turnovers with 13.
The seven turnovers on Friday played a big role in the 40-24 loss to the Aggies. At one point early in the second quarter, the Cougars held a 21-7 lead. The next 13 possessions produced four interceptions, three lost fumbles, two punts, three turnovers on downs and a field goal.
“We had way too many errors for us to overcome and have a chance to win this game," BYU head coach Kalani Sitake said. "We’re going to evaluate everything again. The only choice we have is to go back to square one and try to find a way to win games and try to get this win against Boise State next week.”
Another bit of adversity for the Cougars has been their quarterback situation. Starter Tanner Mangum - an Eagle, Idaho native - suffered an ankle injury against Utah on Sept. 9. In stepped backup Beau Hoge - son of NFL and Idaho State great Merril Hoge - for the next two games. However, Hoge was knocked out with an apparent concussion during the Utah State game, opening the door for Koy Detmer Jr., who threw three interceptions in his first real game action.
Sitake said on Monday that both Mangum and Hoge are on the mend, but it was still too early to know who would be under center when the Cougars take the field on Friday.
"There's still a chance that Tanner and Beau could play this week," Sitake said. "And so that's still out there... it's a matter of how much practice time we can get in this week."
Behind the aforementioned three, BYU has two returned missionaries - Joe Critchlow and Kody Wilstead - who are both classified as true freshmen.
In Tuesday's Scott Slant column, KTVB sports analyst Tom Scott provides some context for Mangum's possible return:
"Mangum has had this game circled on his calendar. Two years ago in Provo, he famously threw a Hail Mary for the second straight week to beat Boise State in a game that ended up 35-24 after a final-minute pick-six. Mangum was 17-for-28 that night for 309 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. He had to watch from the sidelines last year as Taysom Hill played wire-to-wire in BYU’s 28-27 loss on the blue turf. It would seem to have been a wasted year for Mangum, who had (and still has) a redshirt year available. But his parents told me last December that it was Tanner’s choice not to redshirt last year—he didn’t want to be a 26-year-old quarterback in 2019 (he turned 24 on September 8)."
It's worth noting that Boise State's opponents so far this season have done well since facing the Broncos. Undefeated Washington State, which Boise took to triple overtime in Pullman, just beat USC, and is now knocking on the door of a top 10 ranking. Troy (4-1) went into Death Valley and beat a ranked LSU team. And New Mexico (3-2) stomped Air Force 56-38 in Albuquerque on Saturday. The Broncos are 2-1 against those three teams. Virginia had a bye last week, so we'll have to wait and see if the Cavaliers will continue to impress this season.