BOISE, Idaho — It will be a battle of unbeatens when the Boise State football team opens Mountain West Conference play Friday night against Air Force.
Boise State (3-0) is coming off a 45-10 smackdown of Portland State, while Air Force (2-0) is riding high after a 30-23 overtime win against Pac-12 foe Colorado, the Falcons' first victory against the Buffaloes in 51 years.
The Broncos and Falcons have played some competitive games in recent years, including a three-game stretch of Air Force wins between 2014-16.
"They always get our attention," Boise State coach Bryan Harsin said at his weekly press conference. "We spend time in the spring on them, we spend time in the summer on them and we knew this was going to be a short week... which is not ideal.
"If you're going to have a short week, don't have a short week against Air Force," he added.
The challenge for the Broncos is defending against the vaunted triple option - a dynamic ground attack, forcing opposing teams to focus on several players who can run the ball, including the quarterback, a running back and a fullback. It's difficult to defend and often levels the playing field for teams that may have smaller offensive linemen. All three FBS service academies - Air Force, Navy and Army - run a version of the triple option.
Because the scheme is run-heavy, it's no surprise the Falcons are one of the best rushing teams in the nation, currently ranking 2nd in rushing offense, and averaging 356 rushing yards per game.
This year, they're even more dangerous because of quarterback Donald Hammond III's throwing abilities.
"They do a really good job." Harsin said. "It's not just the triple option, they actually are very creative with their formations, they're creative in how they attack. And then their quarterback, I think he's playing really well, he can throw the ball well.
"They hit some explosive plays on us last year," Harsin added. "Offense is about execution and they execute very well and at a high level and they do it consistently. Their players are disciplined, they're tough."
At Colorado on Saturday, Air Force rushed for 289 yards and threw for 155. Hammond had two passing scores and one rushing score, a performance that earned him Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week. His teammate, safety Jeremy Fejedelem earned Defensive Player of the Week honors after he recorded a career-high 14 tackles, including two tackles for loss and one sack, against the Buffaloes.
And while the Falcons are riding a wave of momentum after the win in Boulder, they know they're facing a tough task ahead in Boise.
"We get a chance to face one heck of an opponent this week," Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said on Tuesday. "[Boise State is] probably the most complete Mountain West Conference team in the last seven years. Just how stout they are defensively... they're physical, they're fast, they're experienced.
"Then offensively, they have tremendous balance and have been very dynamic in the return game, when it comes to special teams too," he said.
Air Force at Boise State
- Friday, Sept. 20
- Albertsons Stadium, Boise
- Kickoff: 7:00 p.m. MT
- Weather: Partly cloudy, high of 66
The game will be televised on ESPN2, which can be found on the following channels:
- Sparklight (formerly Cable One): Channel 134 / 1134 (HD)
- DirecTV: Channel 209
- Dish Network: Channel 143
- Cox: Channel 33 / 1033 (HD)
ON THE RADIO
Fans can listen to the game on the Bronco Radio Network (Bob Behler, Pete Cavender), which can be found online or on the following stations in the Boise area:
- KBOI 670 AM in Boise
- KTIK 93.1 FM in Boise
- KDZY 98.3 FM in McCall
- KSNQ 98.3 FM in Twin Falls
Here is a list of Bronco Radio Network stations outside the Boise area.
The game will stream live on the WatchESPN app, available in Apple and Android app stores. The service is only available to subscribers of participating cable and satellite television providers (including Cable One, Dish Network, and DirecTV).
BRONCO ROUNDUP GAMEDAY
KTVB's Bronco Roundup Gameday show will be live from Albertsons Stadium before the game from 6 to 7 p.m. on KTVB, KTVB.COM, and in the Bronco Roundup app.
Join Jay Tust and Will Hall along with special guests live on the Blue for a look at all of the major storylines surrounding this Mountain Division matchup. Also, make sure to check out KTVB's YouTube Channel for highlights from the Bronco Roundup Gameday show during the game.
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POST-GAME PRESS CONFERENCE
KTVB will live stream the post-game press conference on KTVB.COM and on the Bronco Roundup app.
Interviews with coach Bryan Harsin and players will be posted online soon after the press conference ends, so you can watch the press conference whenever and wherever you want.
Stay tuned to KTVB.COM after the game for a game recap, highlights, and slideshow from the game.
BLACK-OUT COLOR SCHEME
All Broncos fans attending the game are encouraged to black out Albertsons Stadium on Friday night, which will also be the debut of Boise State's brand new all-back uniforms. It's been three years since the team has played in black unis - a 45-31 win against San Jose State - and the players are excited about it.
"When I first saw them, I was like 'nah, this is fake,'" STUD Curtis Weaver said during fall camp. "Of course, wearing all-black, we're going to treat it like a funeral."
Here's a closer look at this season's color schemes.
Boise State moved up two spots - to No. 20 - in both the AP Top 25 and Amway Coaches Poll following their win last week over Portland State.
Boise State is still playing catchup with the highest-ranked Group of 5 team - the Central Florida Golden Knights. UCF moved up two spots to No. 15 in the AP Top 25 but stayed at No. 16 in the Coaches Poll, after their 45-27 victory over Stanford.
The highest-ranked Group of 5 conference champion gets an automatic bid to one of the New Years Six bowls at the end of the season. This year the bid is for the Cotton Bowl.
The Broncos hold a slight 4-3 advantage in the all-time series between the two squads. Air Force's wins came during a three-game winning streak between 2014 and 2016, with the cadets winning twice on their home field and once at Albertsons Stadium (37-30, in 2015).
The Broncos have won the two most recent contests, blowing out the visiting Falcons 44-19 on the Blue in 2017 and notching a 48-38 win on the road last season.
Boise State's all-time record against Air Force:
- Oct. 27, 2018 - W - 48-38 (Air Force Academy)
- Nov. 18, 2017 - W - 44-19 (Boise)
- Nov. 25, 2016 - L, 27-20 (Air Force Academy)
- Nov. 20, 2015, L, 37-30 (Boise)
- Sept. 27, 2014, L, 28-14 (Air Force Academy)
- Sept. 13, 2013, W, 42-20 (Boise)
- Oct. 22, 2011, W, 37-26 (Boise)
WEAVER CLOSES IN ON SACK RECORD
Boise State junior STUD Curtis Weaver had a career game against Portland State, logging four sacks - a feat last accomplished by Chris Wing back in 1996.
With 26.5 career sacks, Weaver is the active career leader in the FBS.
His national-best 6 sacks so far this season bumped him up to third on the Boise State all-time sacks list, behind Erik Helgeson (54.5) and Wing (32). With just two more sacks, Weaver will tie the Mountain West Conference career record, currently held by BYU’s Jan Jorgensen (2006-09) and TCU’s Jerry Hughes (2006-09).
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.
BRONCO BASH AT THE ALUMNI AND FRIENDS CENTER
The Bronco Bash at the Alumni and Friends Center is open to Broncos fans three hours prior to every home football game and closes 30 minutes prior to kickoff. The event features a family-friendly atmosphere with live music and activities for all ages.
Returning this year is the Bronco Bash Cash Dash, a series of one-minute challenges, that guests can play to compete for time in the Mountain America Credit Union cash machine, Boise State merchandise and other prizes. Find out more about the Bronco Bash here.
DECHEVRIEUX FIELD OPEN FOR TAILGATING
Boise State's partnership with Blockparty, a fan-focused hospitality and entertainment company, continues this season with pre-game festivities at the Ford Tailgate Zone at DeChevrieux Field.
The Tailgate Zone will include a Kids Zone, complete with a climbing wall and other entertainment geared toward the younger fans. It will also include huge televisions featuring top games, food trucks, and a "tailgate village" all on the Broncos' grass practice field adjacent to Albertsons Stadium.
The tailgate party is free for fans, but if you want an upgraded experience with your own tent, TV and other amenities. VIP packages are available for purchase and cost between $400 and $2000.
DeChevrieux Field opens for tailgating three hours before kickoff on home football game days.
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 a half hours before kickoff. The team will walk from the Student Union Building, through the Ford Tailgate Zone at DeChevrieux Field, 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 home football game days only.
Alcoholic beverages are allowed in opaque 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 Avenue and Myrtle Street, 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 Avenue, and south of the Julia Davis pond.
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TRAFFIC, PARKING & FREE SHUTTLES
Expect increased traffic on all roads surrounding Boise State before and after the game. University Drive, from Capitol Boulevard to Broadway Avenue, will be congested throughout the morning and afternoon. Because of limited public parking on-campus, fans are encouraged to park off-campus and walk/bike or use a shuttle to get to the game.
Lots & Garages on Campus:
The Albertsons Stadium parking lot will open eight hours prior to game time on Saturdays and four hours prior to every game during weekdays.
Boise State’s bike corral will be available near Christ Chapel on the corner of Broadway Avenue and Cesar Chavez Lane.
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
Handicap accessible spaces will be available for a $10 fee in the West and East Stadium lots, the Engineering and Technology reserved lot and on the ground floor of the Lincoln Avenue Garage.
Vehicles parked in accessible spaces must display an ADA license plate or placard and the placard/license plate registrant must be an occupant in the vehicle in order to purchase game day accessible parking.
Parking in Boise Parks:
Parking is allowed in designated parking spots within Julia Davis Park, Ann Morrison Park, Riverside Park, and Kristin Armstrong Municipal Park. Parking for Boise State home games is free on a first-come, first-served basis.
Towing will be delayed at those parks until 3 a.m. the following morning regardless of kickoff time.
Overnight parking is prohibited.
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.
- 6th & Grove (Bardenay)
- 8th & Main
- 8th between Idaho & Bannock (Red Feather/Bittercreek)
- 8th & Broad (Solid Grill & Bar)
- River Street between 12th & Ash (Payette Brewing)