BOISE - After dominating a hapless BYU team on the road last week, the Boise State football team faces a much more difficult test as its travels to Southern California to take on No. 19 San Diego State.
The much-needed win in Provo was cathartic for the team and fans alike, especially after a demoralizing home loss to Virginia two weeks earlier. Against the Cougars, the Broncos finally got their ground game going, and quarterback Brett Rypien threw his first touchdown of the season.
In comparison to Boise State teams of years past, the numbers are somewhat lackluster. But the fact that the team managed to move the ball, convert third downs, while holding the home team to just seven points was a good sign.
But beating San Diego State on their home turf will be a different animal, entirely. The undefeated Aztecs (6-0, 2-0 MW) are one of two Group of Five teams currently ranked in the Top 25, along with South Florida. The win streak includes victories over two Pac-12 teams: Arizona State and Stanford. The Aztecs also boast a Heisman contender in running back Rashaad Penny. The nation's second-leading rusher is just seven yards shy of a 1,000 yard season.
"He has more rushing yards than 82 Division I teams." - Harsin on Rashaad Penny— Jay Tust (@KTVBSportsGuy) October 9, 2017
At his Monday press conference, Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said there is more to the Aztecs than just strong ground game.
"This is a well-rounded team. This is not just Rashaad Penny and the offense, this is a very balanced team," Harsin said. "I thought when we played a couple years ago, they were that way as well, and we just came out and played physical and we beat them. And that's the key to the game. San Diego State is a good football team, and I think when we go there and do what we are capable of doing, we are a good football team.
"Make no doubt about it, our guys are excited," Harsin added.
- Boise State at San Diego State
- Saturday, Oct. 14
- SDCCU Stadium, San Diego, California
- Kickoff: 8:30 p.m. MT
The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network, which can be found on the following channels:
- Cable One: Channel 139 / 1139 (HD)
- DirecTV: Channel 221
- Dish Network: Channel 158
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 SDCCU 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.
The Broncos and Aztecs have faced each other just four times - with each team winning two contests - in a series that only goes back as far as 2011. Boise State won the most recent game three years ago at Albertsons Stadium by a score of 38-29. Each team has won one game on the other's home turf.
Boise State's all-time record against San Diego State:
- Nov. 19, 2011 - W, 52-35 (played in San Diego)
- Nov. 3, 2012 - L, 19-21 (played in Boise)
- Nov. 23, 2013 - L, 31-34 (played in San Diego)
- Nov. 15, 2014 - W, 38-29 (played in Boise)
ABOUT LAST WEEK
After struggling mightily with moving the ball on the ground this season, the Broncos finally found some success last week against BYU. Sophomore Alexander Mattison had career highs with 118 rushing yards on 29 carries (4.1 yards per carry), and scored two touchdowns. Coaches say Mattison's effort was nothing new to them.
"He's a really good back when goes and runs physical and runs hard and runs violent and plays downhill and guys in front of him are doing the same thing," Harsin said. "So every single day in practice is exactly what you guys saw in the game."
"It definitely showed on film," added offensive coordinator Zak Hill. "There were a lot of those BYU bodies on the ground. It was fun watching film the next day."
KTVB sports analyst Tom Scott points out in Monday's Scott Slant column that the Broncos' O-line, which had allowed 13 sacks prior to facing BYU, made a huge leap forward:
"A 300-yard offense worked Friday night because the Boise State offensive line played its best game of the season. The unit did not allow a sack and cleared space up the middle against a stout BYU defensive front. The Broncos did it with their O-line leader, center Mason Hampton, out with an injury. But he was capable replaced by fellow Idahoan Garrett Larsen. The night was defined by two drives. One was a 74-yarder in a two-minute drill at the end of the first half capped by Rypien’s 24-yard touchdown pass to Sean Modster. The other was the 82-yard march bridging the third and fourth quarters that saw the Broncos convert four third downs."
San Diego State, meanwhile, collected a dominant road win of their own, and became bowl-eligible in the process. The Aztecs thumped UNLV 41-10 in Las Vegas on Saturday, and did so, like Boise State, on the shoulders of a strong ground game.
Running back Rashaad Penney rushed for 170 yards and two touchdowns in his sixth straight 100-yard game. Juwan Washington added 95 yards and a touchdown for the Aztecs, who have won 27 of their last 30 games.
Through the air, quarterback Christian Chapman threw for 172 yards and had a 14-yard touchdown run. The blowout win is the first comfortable margin of victory for SDSU in more nearly a month. The team's three previous wins - against Stanford, Air Force and Northern Illinois - were all by one-score margins.
With Saturday's win against the Rebels, the Aztecs moved up three spots to No. 18 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and stayed static at No. 19. in the AP Top 25. At this point, their primary competition for a spot in a New Years Six bowl is South Florida, which is ranked No. 15 in the AP poll and No. 15 in the coaches poll.
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