BOISE - After a wild game that didn't end until after midnight on Sunday, the Boise State football team has a quick turnaround this week as they welcome the BYU Cougars to Albertsons Stadium on Thursday night.
The nationally-televised tilt will feature two teams with a short but bitter history, as each looks to add to their respective winning streak.
The 14th-ranked Broncos improved to 6-0 overall and 3-0 in the Mountain West by holding off a late surge by Colorado State on Saturday night. The home team saw their 28-3 lead dwindle as the Rams recovered two onside kicks and scored three unanswered touchdowns in the final minutes of the game. Despite the adversity, the Broncos managed to hold on for a 28-23 victory.
BYU is also coming off an extremely close win. The Cougars (4-3) are riding a three-game winning streak, having knocked off SEC foe Mississippi State in double-overtime Friday night. Pocatello native Taysom Hill threw for three touchdowns and rushed for another in the 28-21 win. The Cougars have momentum, as well as the nation's second-leading rusher in Jamaal Williams.
Boise State and BYU have formed a budding rivalry, thanks to some close contests over the years. With both teams surging this season, and with a short practice week (four days for BSU, five for BYU), the Thursday night matchup could be a must-watch affair.
- BYU at Boise State
- Thursday, Oct. 20
- 8:15 p.m. MT
- Albertsons Stadium, Boise
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
ON THE RADIO
In the Boise area, you can listen to the game on the Bronco Radio Network, which can be found on the following stations:
- 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 Albertsons Stadium before the game from 7 to 8 p.m. on KTVB, KTVB.COM, and in the Bronco Roundup app. Join Jay Tust and Will Hall on the Blue for a preview of the Broncos' matchup with BYU.
KTVB is celebrating 10 years as the official station for Bronco Nation by giving away tickets to every home game this season!
To win tickets for this week's game, be a part of Bronco Game Day live at the new BSU Alumni and Friends Center. Enjoy a family-friendly tailgate party and get the chance to win tickets to the BSU-BYU game. The fun gets started at 7 p.m.
A winner was already drawn through the Bronco Roundup app for this week's game, but you can still enter to win tickets to the San Jose State game on Nov. 4. Simply download the Bronco Roundup app and tap "Win Tickets." Be sure to enter before 5 p.m. on Nov. 2. If you already have the Bronco Roundup app, make sure you enter through the app to be eligible.
Thursday's game will mark the seventh meeting between the Broncos and the Cougars, with Boise State holding a 4-2 edge in the series. Both of the Broncos' losses came on the road, in 2013 (37-20) and 2015 (35-24). Boise State is a perfect 3-0 against the Cougars on the Blue, with wins in 2004 (28-27), 2012 (7-6) and 2014 (55-30).
The teams have split the last four meetings, with the home team winning each of those contests.
Quick video from practice today pic.twitter.com/rpkt5nbhYy— Will Hall (@WillHallKTVB) October 18, 2016
Thanks to some close scores, close proximity of Boise and Provo, and a 12-year series - this is game five - players and coaches on both teams weighed in on the budding rivalry.
"I have tons for respect for Boise," said BYU coach Kalani Sitake at his weekly press conference. "They have great, passionate fans and a great program. We talked about playing the best and I definitely think they’re up there. It’s an honor for us to have that tradition of playing. We’d love to play them every year because they’re a great team."
The rivalry is "one of the top five in my book," said BYU tight end Tanner Balderree. "It’s been a back and forth battle; they beat us one year, and we beat them the next. It’s a big game for us, and it’s a big game for them."
Sophomore wide receiver Moroni Laulu-Pututau noted that playing at Albertsons Stadium is a challenge because of the environment.
"Mitchell Juergens told me it is the loudest place he has ever played," Laulu-Pututau said. "I asked him if it was louder than Nebraska and he said yes. He said he doesn't know how, but they have got some great fans up there and that far down on the field, you can’t hear anything. But we are preparing for that."
For Boise State, the respect is mutual. And make no mistake, it's a rivalry game that they love to play.
"I think it's good to play them at home," said senior linebacker Darren Lee. "We are going to have a great crowd... we are going to need them. They are a great team."
"I think for this region, (the rivalry) is unbelievable," said defensive coordinator Andy Avalos, who pointed out that the Broncos no longer plays its old oldest rivals - the University of Idaho - and BYU helps fill the void of a non-conference rival.
ABOUT LAST WEEK
Running back Jeremy McNichols had a school-record 40 carries and rushed for a personal-best 217 yards and two touchdowns as the Broncos held off a rallying Colorado State team for a 28-23 win on Saturday night.
After the Broncos took a 28-3 lead early in the fourth quarter, Colorado State recovered two onside kicks in the final six minutes while scoring three straight touchdowns, cutting the deficit to five with just over three minutes left.
The Broncos recovered Colorado State's third onside kick attempt and ran the clock down to 15 seconds before giving the Rams the ball at their own 27. Colorado State advanced the ball to the 40 on a play with multiple laterals, but a review ruled that a forward lateral was made, resulting in a 10-second runoff that ended the game.
Broncos fans everywhere breathed a collective sigh of relief.
The night before, BYU found itself in tight contest against Mississippi State. Quarterback Taysom Hill threw for three touchdowns, including the game-winner in double-overtime, and ran for another as the Cougars beat the Bulldogs 28-21.
Not to be overshadowed by Hill's impressive performance, running back Jamaal Williams on Friday became BYU's career rushing leader with 3,468 yards. The second-leading rusher in the nation, Williams had 76 yards against the Bulldogs.
Scott Slant: Let's start with Jamaal Williams
Despite Williams not playing in the BSU-BYU game last year, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin says his team know's just how dangerous the senior running back can be.
"(He is) one of the better back we will have seen, if not the best, this entire year," Harsin said. "He's gonna punish you when he hits you, and then if he gets out in the open field, he can shake you and make you miss and go."
Because it has no conference affiliation, BYU has stepped up its scheduling over the past few years. Already this season they have played six teams from Power 5 conferences, and have wins against teams from the Pac-12 (Arizona), SEC (Mississippi State), and Big Ten (Michigan State).
TAYSOM VS. TANNER
Both of BYU's signal callers hail from the state of Idaho - Tanner Mangum is from Eagle, and Taysom Hill is from Pocatello - and according to Harsin, it doesn't matter which quarterback they face, because both are versatile threats.
"They're both very good. I think those are two excellent quarterbacks in college football and they're both capable of playing, they're both capable of winning," Harsin said, noting that Boise State tried to recruit both players before they committed to BYU.
The Broncos faced Mangum in last season's loss in Provo. This year, it will be Hill, who has thrown for 1,420 yards with nine touchdowns and seven interceptions on the season. The Highland High grad is also the team's second-leading rusher with 324 yards on the ground.
"(Hill) is capable of running, he's physical, he's thrown the ball effectively, and he's a threat every which way you look at him, he's a threat," Harsin said.
Boise State continued its climb up the polls this week, moving up one spot from No. 15 to No. 14 in both the AP Top 25 and the Amway Coaches Poll.
The Broncos are the second-highest ranked Group of Five team, behind No. 11 Houston (6-1, 1-1 American Athletic). They are also one of just 11 undefeated teams in the country.
For the fourth straight week, a Boise State player has been honored as the Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week. Jeremy McNichols took home his third player of the week honor of the season after his hard-earned 217-yard, two touchdown performance against Colorado State.
There have been 28 200-YD rushing games in the FBS this year. McNichols has 2 of'em. He's 1 of 2 RB's w/ multiple 200-yard games this year. pic.twitter.com/DyIbWoTMGo— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) October 17, 2016
McNichols also claimed the award after the Oregon State game on Sept. 24 and the Utah State game on Oct. 1. Quarterback Brett Rypien took home the honor last week after throwing for 391 yards and five touchdowns against New Mexico on Oct. 7.
Boise State is the second team in conference history to capture four-straight offensive player of the week honors. Utah took it home four weeks in a row in 2004.
An added wrinkle in what is already expected to be a good matchup, comes thanks to scheduling. The Broncos and Cougars will get a national college football audience all to themselves as they face off on ESPN Thursday night.
While the exposure is great for both teams, it also makes for a much-abbreviated week of preparation. BYU played last played on Friday night, giving them the advantage of one extra day of prep. But both teams found themselves in close contests and were never able to rest their starters late in the game.
Harsin says quick turnarounds are always a challenge, not only because of a loss of preparation time, but also because players have less time to recover from minor injuries and fatigue. It also means there is no down-time for the team.
"We're gonna have to still be somewhat practicing clear up to the game," he said. "And that's the challenge."
Thursday's game is the second of five non-Saturday games for the Broncos this season, and the first Thursday game since the season-opener against Ole Miss two years ago. The last time Boise State played a home game on a Thursday night was also against BYU - a 7-6 Broncos win in 2012.
It's only Oct. 18 and #BoiseState doesn't have a home game on a Saturday the rest of the season. Heck, 4 of final 6 are non-Saturday games.— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) October 18, 2016
Boise State wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck is just 34 yards shy of breaking the team's career receiving yards record of 3,063, set by Titus Young in 2010. So far this season he has 38 receptions for 701 yards and six touchdowns. Sperbeck has also passed for two touchdowns this year, including one last week against Colorado State.
"That guy is a lion," Harsin said. "I can't say enough about Thomas. We want guys like that on this team... and I've seen a lot of the younger players watch his lead."
If Sperbeck is Brett Rypien's favorite target, Cedrick Wilson has emerged as a close second. But he was noticeably missing from the offense last week. Harsin elaborated on Monday why the JUCO transfer, who has 23 receptions for 432 yards this season, was absent from the fold.
"Ced had a little bit of a high-ankle sprain," Harsin said. "He could've played in the game, so we had Ced kind of on-the-ready. Ced didn't do anything wrong. He's been fantastic."
Harsin added that Wilson should be ready to play against BYU this week.
Little slow-mo of Ced going through a drill pic.twitter.com/wg7Kf1kub4— Will Hall (@WillHallKTVB) October 17, 2016
Like last week with the Orange Out, Boise State is making is easy for fans who are wondering what colors to wear to the game.
This week's color scheme is a Blue Out, with fans in all sections asked to wear blue to the game.
For more information, see the 2016 color scheme schedule.
The players will also be wearing all-blue for the game.
Thursday's matchup between Broncos and Cougars will also mark the 9th annual Hunger Bowl at Albertsons Stadium. Boise State has teamed up with the Idaho Foodbank, the Salvation Army and the Boise Rescue Mission to fight hunger in our community, especially during the busy fall and winter seasons.
Fans are encouraged to donate to the campaign throughout the month of October by texting "TOUCHDOWN" to 41444. You can also donate online here.
Here's a chance for you to high-five your favorite players and coaches as they walk to the football center for pre-game preparations. The "Bronco Walk" will start when the team leaves the Student Union Building about two and half hours before kickoff (about 5:45 p.m.). The team will walk from the Student Union Building, down University Drive, past the Varsity Center, straight into the east stadium parking lot and ending at the Bleymaier Football Center.
10 TO 10 ZONE
The 10 to 10 Zone remains in place for home games this season. It specifies areas off-campus where people age 21 or older may consume alcoholic beverages from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Boise State University home football game days only. Alcoholic beverages are allowed in clear plastic cups within the zone. Glass containers, beer cans, and type of liquor bottle and cups with alcoholic labeling are not allowed.
The "Zone" begins at Broadway Ave and Myrtle St., extends south down Broadway to Beacon, turns west along Beacon, north up Oakland Avenue, west on Potter Drive, north again up South Joyce Street, and then west along University Drive all the way to Capitol Boulevard. The boundary extends north along Capitol and turns east onto Cesar Chavez Lane, crosses Friendship Bridge north, and leads into Julia Davis Park. In the park, the "10 to 10 Zone" boundary is the area east of Zoo Boise to Broadway Street. and any area south of Julia Davis Pond.
ENTRY TO THE GAME
Bronco fans should arrive early. Those whose seats are not in the Stueckle Sky Center may enter the stadium through any gate. Fans are encouraged — but not required — to leave their bags at home or in the car. For faster entry into the stadium, bring a clear bag or no bag to the game.
Prior to entry, fans will pass through metal detectors, and any bags carried in will be subject to search. Remember to leave prohibited items behind, including all weapons, alcohol, glass and coolers. Find a full list here.
TRAFFIC, PARKING & FREE SHUTTLES
Expect increased traffic before and after the game. University Drive, from Capitol Boulevard to Broadway Avenue, will be congested from 4-8:30 p.m. Euclid and Grant Avenues, between Belmont Street and University Drive will be closed for security operations beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 9 and will remain closed until the end of the game.
In addition, University Drive between Denver Avenue and Grant Avenue will be reserved for authorized vendor access and will be closed beginning at 11:59 p.m. on Sept. 9. It will remain closed until the end of the game.
LOTS AND GARAGES ON CAMPUS
The Albertsons Stadium parking lot will open eight hours prior to game time. Boise State’s bike corral will be available starting at 5:15 p.m. near Christ Chapel on the corner of Broadway Avenue and Cesar Chavez Lane.
Parking will open for the public and Bronco Athletic Association permit holders beginning at noon. Spaces will be available for a $10 fee in the following lots and garages:
- Plaza East and West lots
- Brady Street Garage and Lincoln Avenue Garage
The Downtown Boise Association coordinates free shuttle buses from five convenient downtown locations to Bronco Stadium. These shuttles run every 15 minutes starting two hours prior to game time, and immediately after the game for one hour.
- 8th between Idaho and Bannock
- 8th and Main
- 11th and Main
- 6th and Grove
- 8th and Broad
More information on the Bronco Shuttle can be found here.
The URS Parking Garage at 720 Park Blvd. opens at 6:15 p.m. The cost is $5 and includes free shuttle service to and from the game beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Event parking for all Boise State home football games this season will be available at the Civic Plaza complex just east of the Ada County Courthouse for $5 per vehicle. All proceeds will go towards providing essential programs and educational services for victims of child abuse, elder abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault at the FACES of Hope Victim Center.
Copyright 2016 KTVB